Author Topic: Improvements to the website?  (Read 15621 times)

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2011, 09:50:25 PM »
Sorry, there may be a misunderstanding here. Glenys (Webadmn) is a member of the Guild and a volunteer; when she can she acts as the interface between our Webmistress (Blackwidows Web Design) and the Council but in view of her horrendous difficulties in the recent past I have done that as secretary but only on a 'care and maintenance' basis. My final statement meant that I believe it highly unlikely that the Council will take on board the various comments to the extent of actually doing anything though the finance is available to pay for a professional revamp if there is sufficient support to do so bearing in mind that our survey earlier this year showed that overall 16% of Guild members do not have internet access and of those who do few look at the website (there were also a few very strong feelings expressed about the march of technology). Unfortunately we have an ageing membership which tends toward the technophobic and although we must move forward if to encourage younger members we must also take the current membership with us. This is a difficult circle to square.

Barry

KnotMe

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2011, 06:24:01 AM »
Sorry, there may be a misunderstanding here. Glenys (Webadmn) is a member of the Guild and a volunteer; when she can she acts as the interface between our Webmistress (Blackwidows Web Design) and the Council
All, that makes sense.  Thanks for the clarification.

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My final statement meant that I believe it highly unlikely that the Council will take on board the various comments to the extent of actually doing anything though the finance is available to pay for a professional revamp if there is sufficient support to do so...
I see.  I'm sure the rules are probably in the guild handbook, but I'm disorganized at the best of times and after a recent flood most of my knot related books are in boxes in storage.  So, I going to go on logic and how I remember these things usually functioning.  I hope I'll be gently corrected if I'm wrong.

Official guild business takes place once a year at the AGM where there is usually (???) quorum, right?  In the mean time guild business is conducted by the council as they see fit.  While there are regular branch meetings, the guild itself has no official meetings except for the AGM (and the half-yearly?)...  or does the council meet regularly in the interim?

I would like to enter (table?) a motion for:
1) the creation of a "new media" committee (NMC)*
2) this committee may contain any willing current council members that have internet access and can commit to checking in at least once a week
3) volunteers for this committee should be solicited either through this forum or through a email mailing list generated from the membership database (spreadsheet?) as well as a note in Knotting Matters
4) the NMC, once formed, would set goals and tasks based on guidance from the council and the guild itself, but I respectfully suggest that these goals include expansion of the guild through effective use of new media and outreach to "youth" through the means of new media.**

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media
** I'm defining "youth" here as anyone below the current guild membership's average age.

The council, I hope and believe wants the guild to expand and thrive.  They also, I imagine, recognize the need for newer and younger blood.  What they may not know or understand is that for people under a certain age things don't really exist unless they are online, and an effective online presence is crucial to recruiting younger.  The last time I used a phone book was to look up the phone number for my internet service provider to complain that my internet was down.  Today I used my smartphone and a search engine to find that phone number.

Equally old crafts such as knitting are thriving thanks to effective online communities like Ravelry and new ideas such as amigurumi which draws in the young.  There is no reason why knotting needs to moulder away.

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2011, 10:43:45 AM »


Official guild business takes place once a year at the AGM where there is usually (???) quorum, right?  In the mean time guild business is conducted by the council as they see fit.  While there are regular branch meetings, the guild itself has no official meetings except for the AGM (and the half-yearly?)...  or does the council meet regularly in the interim?

I would like to enter (table?) a motion for:
1) the creation of a "new media" committee (NMC)*
2) this committee may contain any willing current council members that have internet access and can commit to checking in at least once a week
3) volunteers for this committee should be solicited either through this forum or through a email mailing list generated from the membership database (spreadsheet?) as well as a note in Knotting Matters
4) the NMC, once formed, would set goals and tasks based on guidance from the council and the guild itself, but I respectfully suggest that these goals include expansion of the guild through effective use of new media and outreach to "youth" through the means of new media.**

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_media
** I'm defining "youth" here as anyone below the current guild membership's average age.

The council, I hope and believe wants the guild to expand and thrive.  They also, I imagine, recognize the need for newer and younger blood.  What they may not know or understand is that for people under a certain age things don't really exist unless they are online, and an effective online presence is crucial to recruiting younger.  The last time I used a phone book was to look up the phone number for my internet service provider to complain that my internet was down.  Today I used my smartphone and a search engine to find that phone number.


I am going a bit off topic here but an understanding of how the Guild is managed is at least useful in effecting change. The AGM is the only official gathering of the membership; there is no quorum (less than 10% of members actually attend) because of the widespread membership - though this year we had 2 from the USA, 1 from Canada and several from Europe (outside the UK) as well as 1 from Japan (who attends each year). The rules require that all members are given 6 weeks notice of the AGM and 21 days of any motions to amend the rules (other motions can be proposed from the floor). The half yearly meeting could be made a special general meeting if 10 members request it and due notice is given. To effect a change to the rules there must be a majority of two thirds of those present and voting. Other motions require a simple majority.

The Council of Trustees meets about 4 times a year aside from the AGM etc and these are formal meetings which are minuted - 5 form a quorum.  Trustees from the USA join the meeting via Skype conference call. The Council can set up a sub-committee to include non-Council members but it must be chaired by a Council member.

A quick point re email. The Guild holds email addresses for less than half of members. At a guess at least 20% and probably more of these are wrong so email is something which has been considered several times but is not effective in contacting the membership generally. The survey was some help but only around 40% responded.

Turning to your proposed motion I suggest that rather than wait until the AGM to make a proposal, write to the Secretary (Margaret Boggs) at secretary@igkt.net and ask for this suggestion to be considered by the Council (the next meeting is on 6th August I believe). Personally I would write a short paper and email it as an attachment but that is up to you - it is easier to consider a submission rather than an email itself.

One last point. Committees are rarely good at decision making preferring to talk interminably rather than act (all committes - I've sat on too many! - not just the Guild). In addition anyone who makes a concrete proposal is likely to be the one charged with doing it ergo people are reluctant. Again a personal suggestion offer an option for the Council to select and pay a professional web designer to revamp the site - there is a lot of money in the kitty with no proposals to spend it that I'm aware of and this benefits the Guild as a whole not just the UK (with the best will in the world it is difficult to spend money across all countries where we have members).

Best of luck!

Barry

PS I am happy to discuss in more detail if it helps but I think an email or PM more appropriate.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2011, 10:49:44 AM by Sweeney »

Phil_The_Rope

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #18 on: July 26, 2011, 03:50:13 PM »
To put you in the picture of what's planned ...

I was recently appointed "Publicity Secretary/Officer" by Council, and the web site will fall, to some extent, in my remit. I have already been tasked with looking at the web site to see how it might be improved. I have some knowledge of web site design and construction, so hopefully I'm at least part qualified.

Yes, the web site certainly requires overhall, and many points raised in this topic are valid. I would just ask that any criticism be constructive where possible (to be fair, much of it has been), and preferably with proposed improvements, and not just "It's crap".

Please note, as already mentioned, we DO have a professional web mistress, Mel. Her job is to put on the site what we ask for, so we need to decide what we want, although of course we can ask for her advice. Naturally, we can't please everyone, but we need to remove clutter and make it more user friendly and navigable. I agree that any web site needs to say what people want to hear, NOT want what we want to tell them (that's making things rather too black and white, but you get my drift).

Like so many web sites, this one has evolved, but it is time for a "clean up".

Naturally, everyone must take into account that Council's time, my time, the Membership Secretary's time and anyone else co-opted's time, is voluntary.

Not only do I try to run a business, but I have recently spent many hours on other IGKT matters, so finding time to look at the web site has not been easy. Council members will have similar problems finding time. It is unlikely that I will be able to devote much time to this task until late August/early September.

If I discover that checking the web site out is too onerous in terms of time and/or effort, then either someone else will need to do it, or we will need to pay a professional to do it. Having said that, any professional would need time to establish exactly what we do before designing anything, just as (s)he would when considering a web site for a business, so an IGKT member ought to be the best option.

I would appreciate input from the forum, but a word of caution (I base this on unpleasant experiences) - if responses become personal or insulting I will stop responding. Sorry if that sounds grumpy, but it has happened before.

Thanks All!

Phil The Rope

KnotMe

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2011, 06:08:34 AM »
The Council of Trustees meets about 4 times a year aside from the AGM etc and these are formal meetings which are minuted - 5 form a quorum.  Trustees from the USA join the meeting via Skype conference call. The Council can set up a sub-committee to include non-Council members but it must be chaired by a Council member.
Okey doke.  And it sounds like the logical Council member would be Phil.

Quote
A quick point re email. The Guild holds email addresses for less than half of members. At a guess at least 20% and probably more of these are wrong so email is something which has been considered several times but is not effective in contacting the membership generally. The survey was some help but only around 40% responded.
Understood.  That said, the type of people one wants involved in making decisions about new media would be people who are most definitely using email already.  While I'm not saying that someone who hears what we're up to via  Knotting Matters and gets their grandkids to help them get online might not have anything useful to say...

Quote
Turning to your proposed motion I suggest that rather than wait until the AGM to make a proposal, write to the Secretary (Margaret Boggs) at secretary@igkt.net and ask for this suggestion to be considered by the Council (the next meeting is on 6th August I believe). Personally I would write a short paper and email it as an attachment but that is up to you - it is easier to consider a submission rather than an email itself.
OK, about 10 days, that's do-able.  If anyone else wants to chime in, PM or post to this thread.

By the way, the idea that a document attached to an email being somehow qualitatively different than an email is part of the technology divide we're talking about here.

Quote
One last point. Committees are rarely good at decision making preferring to talk interminably rather than act (all committes - I've sat on too many! - not just the Guild). In addition anyone who makes a concrete proposal is likely to be the one charged with doing it ergo people are reluctant.
Oh, yes.  I'm kind of expecting that, but be the change you want to see, right?   With respect to committees, I believe that laying down clear parameters and trying to build backup systems into the initial structure will help.

Quote
Again a personal suggestion offer an option for the Council to select and pay a professional web designer to revamp the site - there is a lot of money in the kitty with no proposals to spend it that I'm aware of and this benefits the Guild as a whole not just the UK (with the best will in the world it is difficult to spend money across all countries where we have members).
Paid minions, bonus!!  8)

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2011, 09:12:59 AM »
Just a couple of points of clarification - Phil is not a council member, anything for discussion must be sent via the secretary (copied to Phil by all means of course). Email attachments (ie properly laid out documents) carry more weight when presented to a committee to discuss around the table - if this an online discussion then email is the obvious choice but an email tends by its nature to be unstructured and abbreviated. There is no guarantee that all council members will have read an email by the time of the meeting and so will be looking at a paper copy on the day. Other than that all power to your elbow and if you need any help or someone to cast an eye over your suggestion don't hesitate to ask.

Barry

magboggs

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2011, 11:02:43 AM »
I would just like to add my bit to this debate.
Constructive criticism is always welcome but there has been some very rude and unnecessary comments made which are not at all helpful. I am secretary of the Guild purely due to a total lack of volunteers by the time of the AGM although an appeal went out to all members prior to the meeting.  In accordance with the Charities Committees requirements there has to be a secretary and a treasurer, both of these positions were filled at the AGM because no one else would do it. So when we pour vitriol on the Council please do let us remember that they are all volunteers and do their best with the knowledge they have.

Perhaps it is time for someone to come forward and volunteer to help Phil with his task of improving the website, it would appear from the comments that there are people out there with the ability.

Remember it is always easy to criticize but harder to be a part of the solution.
Margaret  ;)

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #22 on: July 27, 2011, 12:47:53 PM »
Well said Margaret.  We are an organisation concerned with all aspects of knots and knotting. The internet and specifically this forum can help us to communicate with each other but I for one (and I am far from being a technophobe) have learnt more in 5 minutes from a master knotter than hours watching videos etc. so lets keep this in proportion. An improvement to the website will help us to bring knotting to a wider and perhaps younger audience but it is still predominantly a physical activity. And as Margaret's predecessor for 2 years I can appreciate the amount of work council members put in voluntarily hence my earlier suggestion that we may have to pay for what we want - but even if we do pay a developer there is a huge amount of work in specifying what we want done and I for one am prepared to offer any assistance I can to Phil.

Barry

fordneagles

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #23 on: July 28, 2011, 06:51:03 PM »
I think the site has MASSIVE potential, it just needs someone to do something more with it.

Congratulations fordneagles, you're hired!

alpineer

The gauntlet has been thrown, and I raise you  :P

www.knottying.webs.com

Took me about an hour or so to whip this up. Keep in mind that I have put almost no content on it, I just wanted to demonstrate some possibilities.

Another thing I have noticed - those that complain the loudest have volunteered nothing but criticism.   Haven't seen any offers to actually WORK on the perceived problems.

There ya go, see link above and Korgan's post

Hmm..wherever will be find a coder with no social life?   :P

I'm not convinced you need a coder in this day and age... I know a bit of HTML but didn't use it to make this. The internets assume that nobody knows anything and so will do a lot of the legwork for you. I don't feel masses of code are necessary to make the site do what you want it to (well, they are necessary, but you don't really have to do the coding yourself anymore  :)).

16% of guild members don't have internet access?  So what?  Then 84% do.
Technophobes are idiots. By all means keep your slow, technophobic members.  But don't for god's sake cater to them, by excluding the progressive and strong members and potential members.

Yup. 'Like'  :P

Basically what I put on the site is a couple of things from igkt.net, like the little pic, a couple of the events in the calendar, things like that. All the good bits shouldn't be hidden away behind other stuff that may be important to the Guild but probably isn't of much relevance to a new visitor.

*NOTE* I'm not intending to use this site for anything, I'll probably delete it at some point, I was just trying to make an example. Everything on it is not real, so don't sign up or send donations or anything.

FYI: I'm a 'she', (so not a guy), and I'm 22 (so not old) :P Just clarifying :)

EDIT: @Korgan, you beat me by about 2 minutes, ha ha ha, nice work btw.

Phil_The_Rope

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #24 on: July 28, 2011, 08:59:47 PM »
Thanks Korgan - looks good.

Simplifying the site is probably the first task, i.e. get rid of stuff we don't need (or rather, that visitors don't want to see). Stuff that remains will need to be correct too (I know, for example, that there are one or two pieces of contact information which aren't correct).

Keep the ideas coming, and I should be able to get cracking in 3-4 weeks.

Please note, however, that we are not looking at rewriting the site, merely getting the design ideas right so Mel can sort it out for us.

Ta!

Phil

Sweeney

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #25 on: July 28, 2011, 09:35:59 PM »

Simplifying the site is probably the first task, i.e. get rid of stuff we don't need (or rather, that visitors don't want to see). Stuff that remains will need to be correct too (I know, for example, that there are one or two pieces of contact information which aren't correct).


Dead right - there is a lot of stuff that needs to be accessible but not up front. Our status as a charity registered under UK law has potentially a lot more impact than simply being a not for profit organisation but I don't see a problem in keeping the boring bits in the background.

Barry

knot4u

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #26 on: August 05, 2011, 12:26:02 AM »
Simple change...

PLEASE add or change a forum to say "Applications of Knots" or "Practical Applications of Knots".  People often are NOT using the "Practical Knots" forum to discuss practical applications.  I believe many people post there merely because it's an active forum and they want the attention.  For example, there is currently a thread discussing the Bowline that is PURE theory, and it has managed to rack up 132 replies at this point.
http://igkt.net/sm/index.php?topic=3233.0

If you don't add the requested forum, then please be more proactive on moving these theory type threads to "Chit Chat" or "Knot Theory and Computing".  :'(

KnotMe

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2011, 09:05:32 AM »
How much of a procrastinator am I?  I figure that the UK is +6hrs from here, and the meeting is probably evening altho on second thought, it might be afternoon.   In any case, I've still got some time... 8)

Composing as I go, I'll post here, then cut, paste and print to PDF for emailing to Magboggs.

I would like to propose the creation of a "new media" sub-committee (NMSC).  "New media", for the purposes of this proposal should include but are not limited to: web sites, email, social media, software, and databases.
Sub-committee Chair
- a council member is required to chair any sub-committees (re: Sweeney/Barry)
- Phil the Rope was recently appointed "Publicity Secretary/Officer" with the a guild website redesign under his purview but he is not a council member
- council members, based on the list on the IGKT website front page, who are regularly seen on the forum include Sweeney/Barry (well, I couldn't match him to list, but I have faith) and Lindsey Philpott
- obviously, the council member chairing this sub-committee should be comfortable with the forum and email and willing to commit to checking in with the group minimally once a week
- if no current council member fits this description, I propose the creation/election of a new council position/member.

Sub-committee members
- volunteers for this committee should be solicited either through the Guild forum or through a email mailing list generated from the membership database (spreadsheet?) as well as a note in Knotting Matters
- while a recent survey showed that not all members have or use their email, the nature of this sub-committee implies that its members should be drawn from those who have a listed and functioning email address.  A note in Knotting Matters should take care of the typos.

Sub-committee mandate
- the NMSC, once formed, would set goals and tasks based on guidance from the council and the Guild itself, but primarily these goals should include expansion of the guild through effective use of new media and outreach to "youth" through the means of new media.  Here, "youth" is defined as anyone below the current Guild membership's average age.

NMSC initial tasks
- Guild website redesign
- effective website design is achieved by subject matter experts working in concert with technical personnel
- a good design service will require extensive access to the client in order to synthesize a proper plan that should include search engine optimization and good user interface design
- clear technical goals are needed.
- Social media plan
- members who use social media should be enlisted to create a social media plan
- does the Guild need a Facebook page?
- should the Guild have a Twitter account?
- when corporate/organizational Google+ accounts become available, should the Guild have one?
- etc.
- Online publishing plan - internal
- what current Guild assets can or should be published online and how?
- enabling Guild members to generate material for online publication (eg. pictures, reviews, instructions, references/links, etc) in a organized, searchable and browse-able fashion
- enabling Guild branches to generate material for online publication (eg. calendars, newsletters, event reports, etc)
- Online publishing plan - external
- policies should be generated with respect to important sites for the purposes of search engine optimization and establishing authority
- Wikipedia - create a role-user for Wikipedia and begin correcting and adding content?
- Open Directory Project - assign members to take on editor roles in the various Reference:Knots categories?
- establish a relationship with Instructables, Make: Projects, eHow, wikiHow, or ?
- have members monitor/create content with Reddit, Digg, Stumbleupon, Del.icio.us, Squidoo, Del.icio.us, etc. ?
- Reference liaisons
- poll the Guild to find members who are willing and able to answer questions from the public, media, or special interest groups on a variety of topics and list them in an easy to find directory on the Guild website
- this is a complementary service to the forum as certain questioners might not want to publicly post their queries

squarerigger

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2011, 02:23:34 AM »
Well, the Council meeting was at 6 am PDT (2pm UK time) just five hours after Carol's posting.  Her posting was not the first, nor will it be the last, on the subject of reaching out to younger readers and practitioners of knot-tying and making improvements to the web-site, but the IGKT Council does want to move forward to attract and educate young persons (those who are less than the average age of respondents to the Guild's recent membership survey) and to make one aspect at least of their world-wide presence more reachable and teachable.  The Council (subject to ratification) decided to set out a sub-committee with the basic ideas espoused by Carol and subject to a suitable organization and membership structure.  I will be chairing said sub-committee, with a view to reporting back to the full Council at our next scheduled meeting.  Our task before that meeting takes place in October will be to formally agree on goals, membership, reporting, scope, timeline and budget so that we can develop some functional guidelines for operation and direction.  Sounds all very technical or business-like in a way - it is meant to ensure that we do not simply go off bruiting the IGKT name about without proper advice and counsel.

The members of the Forum (not all of whom are members of the Guild) are welcome to express their views on the topic of the activities of a steering committee to broach New Media operations, but I would ask that, when you do, you consider that it has taken the Guild nearly thirty years to get here and that we will move ahead at a pace that is appropriate to the subject and the need for speedy action.  If you have something that you wish me to know please address it to me here or send me a Private Message - I will try always to respond in a timely manner but I ask that you bear in mind that I am not here 24/7/365 nor do I always consider that your questions, important though they are, have priority over my private and business life.  Laissez les bon temps roulez [let the good times roll]!

SR
aka Lindsey Philpott
Editor, Knotting Matters

KnotMe

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Re: Improvements to the website?
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2011, 06:49:22 AM »
I went looking for the previously posted redesign sketches that 2 of you had posted, but they are both gone. 

Oh well, that's not my usual process anyways.  I like to start with the Who, Why, and What before I get into the How (or When 8).

Who: there are 2 broad groups that the site needs to serve (1) the general public, and (2) members (plus knotters that should be members 8).  There is, of course, overlap but the segregation helps to clarify purpose and focus.

What does the general public want from the web site when they come visit?  Why are they here?  Off the top of my head without any research backing it up (in no particular order):

- got here from a search engine, who are you?
- I've heard of you, who are you really and what can you do for me?
- Is my knot new?
- I have a knot related question and I'd like to ask an expert.
- I have a knot related question and I'd like to ask other knotters.
- I have something knotty to show
- I'd like a knot demonstration for my group
- I'd like a knot exhibit for my event
- I'd like someone to tie some knots for me, or recreate something knotty for me
- what's so great about knots?  show me/teach me
- I know some knot stuff, help me learn more

What do members want from the site?  Why are they visiting?
- membership info
  - benefits and cost/renewal info 
  - guild council current officers and office descriptions in case anyone wants to think about volunteering
  - use of the guild logo
  - guild shop: shirts, hats, pins, etc.
  - guild shop: books written by members, kits and products created by members
  - guild shop: recommended vendors who pay for the advertising and give members discounts!  8)
  - branch info
- how can i help?
  - how to write for Knotting Matters
  - volunteer opportunities
  - reference material for demonstration/show/exhibit volunteers
    - recommended kit
    - teaching materials
    - supply sources
    - exhibit materials sources
- upcoming events and meetings (calendar)
- past event and meeting reports
- show your stuff (gallery)
- show your stuff (marketplace, see above)
- show your stuff (member links)
- job board (opportunities and requests)
- knot talk (forum)
- knot show and tell (forum/meetings/gallery)
- reference material (site links, book reviews, product reviews, how-to instructions)

Take elements and prioritize and categorize for site design and navigation.  What other elements should we be considering?