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Use Your Website!

Tips for Understanding this Interactive Site

by Dianne S P Cermak

This new website was designed to be actively used by all NAGCR members to communicate with the ringing community about opportunities, ideas, and developments. No more depending on officers, area reps, or webmasters to post the information you need to "their" website! This website is yours and will be only as useful (and interesting) as you make it by posting your information directly to it.

Guild members can (and should!)

This is all very easy to do directly from home computers, through web-connected computers at local libraries, or even on smart phones.

Reading this series of articles is not a prerequisite for using the site: Many of you will do better to just click on links, follow the directions you will find on the upload instructions, and try things out. For those who are less familiar with interactive sites, spending a few minutes reading this may make it plain how easy it really is.

What are all these boxes about?

We call them widgets - those frames set three across on the Home Page. Each widget is just a window onto a much larger page containing in full the items listed which can access by clicking on any of the links (the underlined words). Try it: click here to go to an article about one of our up-and-coming young conductors. You can always get back to the page from which you clicked by pressing your brower's "back button."

Make the layout suit you:

You can move the widgets around, collapse them into just a widget title bar, or make them disappear entirely from your Home Page through the functions available in the "Customize this page" widget. So, to organize your website so it best fits your needs. Put frequently used widgets at the top, remove elements you don't want to see regularly, even including the banner, or change the number of columns for a wider scan space. Don't be reluctant to use this feature: You will never loose access to all that information because the "Resources & Links" widget - a kind of table of contents to the entire site -cannot be made to disappear, and gives access to a "Reset" link in the "Customize" widget and and to pages that are not frequently enough used to warrant their own widgets.

Everything you want to know is here:

All the information that was on the previous site is on this one, but it is organized rather differently. For example, Event listings (the Calendar) are separate from Announcements, and Event Reports are separate from Articles. This should make finding what you need on the site much easier. Here is a brief exploration; more detail about key items is toward the end of this article.

Lots of additional information and functionality has already been added:

All the information on the site should be much more current because each of you will be adding your up-dates directly, so there need be no waiting for someone else to find the time to get around to dealing with your material or to return from vacation so s/he can even receive your message - now, as soon as you know about something, you make it available to everyone on the website.

The next article in this series will give you some tips on HOW to use the site.

A Word of Appreciation:

For the basic working concept of this site and all the programming necessary to build its more than 900 pages, we owe John Danaher a huge debt of gratitude. John continues to bring initiative, imagination, skill, and an independent perspective to this enormous project in which he has already invested nearly two years of intense effort at no cost to the Guild.

We are also grateful to other members of the Guild who have been early users of the site and have taken the time to send us their comments and suggestions. Most notable among these is Don Morrison who has been an enduring source of insight and useful information from an early stage of the site's development and has also helped to get word about the site out to the ringing community. Bill Buckner as Interim Webmaster was crucial in working with Brian Zook, the prior Webmaster who had looked after the earlier site for many years, to accomplish its transfer to a new host and in sheparding it while this new site was under development. Porter Brownlee, during his tenure as President of the Guild intiated our movement toward the development of a more flexible site, and Lyn Barnett has from the beginning of her term as President been a steady guiding light for our work. John, Bill, and I will continue on as the WebTeam to carry out future improvements and to help you take advantage of this resource. It does take a Guild!

Our communication with each other - the first purpose of the Guild, after all - will be much more immediate, easy to reference, comprehensive, flexible, and richer the more members post, update, and comment on their ringing-related news and information themselves. Don't let your news get stale, or yourself get out of date, waiting for the next Clapper issue: Contribute to and benefit from the website now.

Posted Nov 12, 2009

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