In mid-May, just before the start of exams, I created a survey for the members of the Uni-Sport.org network. This survey was designed to show me what was missing from the website and how I could improve it. It's now early July and I've finally collated the results for everyone to see. After each graph I'll give some of my personal thoughts and feedback on everyone's suggestions, along with some deeper analysis if it is necessary to clarify anything. So, without further ado, lets get to the results!
How much did you enjoy the Club News feature?
Well, from this I'd say that the club news is a success. News doesn't have to be amazing, it just has to be there and accessible, which it is. Those people who voted it as poor were from mens eugby (2 posts all year) and mens football (0 posts all year), and those people who voted it as excellent (hockey and womens football) have posts almost every week. Simply put, use the news feature more; your members will get more out of it.
How useful were the forums?
For once, a resounding success! Whilst the level of banter may have receded due to Facebook, there's still enough to keep things going. The forums shall stay as-is, with perhaps an upgrade to phpBB v3 (the technology the forums are built on).
How useful do you find the picture gallery?
Well, I can hardly say I'm surprised. Since version 1 was me putting pictures up myself and version 2 featured possibly the worst searching system I'd ever devised, version 3 at least came up with something usable. Then, along came Facebook with an easy-as-pie Java picture uploader, support for iPhoto exporters and proper albums. Along with the UI and profiles, this is the other major area of upgrade in v4.
How useful do you find the team selection feature?
This surprised me somewhat. An even spread amongst the voting indicates a number of things:
- The way it's done amongst the non-hockey clubs differs greatly, generally because they didn't keep it up or start using it at all. This may be a problem with not all members being in the system (you can't be picked for a team unless you're on the system)
- The interface for picking teams needs an overhaul
- Some people without the system voted for poor anyway
Either way, some of you are happy, some aren't. Things will be done about it, don't worry, but nothing fundamental
How useful do you find the events calendar?
Some interesting comments came with this one. One person said that the events calendar could have training schedules on. At the moment, you have to create training as an event, but I can split the event category into two and have a "social" event and a "non-social" event. That way, you can stick anything on the calendar. So, that'll get fixed (probably) but the majority response was positive.
(Hockey Only) Did you enjoy the fantasy hockey feature?
Well, this graph more shows how many responses I got from hockey players. The person who voted 'no' was actually from the rowing club, so that vote can safely be ignored. Will fantasy hockey come back next year? Err... maybe. The problem is that I set it up in a hurry and there's no archival feature. Building that in would take 1. A long time, and 2. More effort than it's worth. I could simply reset the database for next year, though good luck to the webmaster that has to value everyone!
If you could add one thing to the website, what would it be?
- The site is a very good idea but I logged on to the site once last year. Facebook was much preferred option to organise events and let people know about anything that was going on as people used it far more often. Plus I preferred to use BUSA website to see fixtures and results as it was up to date.
- All good!!!
- Could possibly include names of people in photo when uploading, if not known could be edited by anyone later... Then could search all photos by person as well as by event. E.g. search "Husky" and "Sutra" and all photos containing both Husky and Sutra would be displayed... - No idea how difficult that would be to setup.
- Don't include facebook!
- Many, many, many thanks
- should have training schedules on
- It's a splendid advance on anything I've seen before, and a model for websites elsewhere (so I've been pointing people to it as an example of good practice).
Firstly, the graph: I refer everyone to my previous post about USE and Facebook quoting the following lines:
"With team selection being at the heart of Uni-sport, until private applications can be written, Uni-Sport will not be appearing as a facebook application."
"The USE (University Sports Engine) will never be a facebook app. Uni-Sport.org can be!"
Everyone has seen Facebook Apps by now, and personally, they're getting on my wick. No, I do not want to have superpoke, horoscopes, fortune cookies etc cluttering up an already cluttered page! I want to you see my Last.fm tracks and my Flickr photos; shove everything else out the way! As I've said before, complete integration won't work, but partial integration will. Simply put, from September, you will be required to have a Facebook ID to sign in to the site. This will control your profile, meaning you only have to have one login. Secondly, there will be a small Facebook App called Uni-Sport which will aggregate your personal RSS feed that the website will generate for you. This will tell you if there are any news posts, if you've been selected for a team or if there's any events. Members in authority will still have to add these things from the main site, but every member will now be notified on their Facebook home page. Hallelujah!
Regarding the 'other' comments, Husky, the photo tagging feature actually made its way into USE in v3.05 but I didn't exactly shout it from the rooftops. You'll actually get some notice this time and I promise it'll work better than it does right now. The person who said don't include Facebook is wrong. There's no point in trying to fight it, Facebook is the 'big kahuna' now and I'd better hop on the band wagon. The final person, thanks for the comment, I do appreciate it.
If you'd like to see the full results, one may go here: http://www.tigersurvey.com/report.php?survey=2815
So, the main points to take away from this 1200 word essay:
- I hear you, Facebook rocks, we're getting onboard
- The picture gallery sucks, do something about it
- The user interface could do with a spring clean
- The forums are great
- People need to visit the site more often. Getting people to do that will have to involve Facebook
Well, you can now see my plans for USE v4. Some of these have been in the pipeline for a while, others popped into my head whilst writing this. Still, I'll now be taking a small break from talking about USE and Facebook whilst I develop it. The next time you hear of it, I'll have a beta of the new UI up, most likely on Steel Software Betas.
Currently Listening to: Jeff Buckley Currently Eating: Left-over bolognaise Currently Watching: Daytime TV Currently Reading: My PA Consulting pensions pack. Who knew there were so many options! Days until I can upgrade my crap phone: 9