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I have recently harassed a couple of members about issues that I'm finding around the site.  In general I love the new CASA.org...especially the ability to contribute directly with blogs (some of you enduring my incessant posting might feel differently).  But there are things about this site that are hard to use or even missing.  I have recently written an email to a couple of people about what I feel is a potential security issue on the site, and since I don't want to expose that publicly I'll leave that in their hands.  Here are a few other things I have mentioned and some I haven't.

1) We need a FAQ; "How Do I?" <insert informative, possibly witty, at times poignant answer here>.  There are a lot of powerful features on the site that aren't obviously apparent unless you spend all day on here (like me).  Creating Events that show up on the site's Event Calendar for instance....I had to ask someone via email because I didn't know it was buried under "Create Content" when you are logged in.  Also what is a "Story" and how is it different from a "Blog"?  And the Acapedia's extended functions are unclear, beyond just searching for a registered group name.

2) The Acapedia needs help.  Currently I can search for a group name, or a piece of a group name.  What about searching for: Members, Format, Location, Activity, etc.?  What is the point of the way groups are displayed here?  Currently I'm a member of Mouth Beats...Mister Tim doesn't know it yet and while I'm good at spitting I currently lack the ability to make it productive.  Why does that makes sense?  Why would anyone want an Open group?  What would be a benefit of being a Member of a group?

3) I only seem to get email notification if someone replies to someone else's blog that I have also replied to...never comments on my own blogs.  Maybe that's a setting I've tweaked?

4) Allow a way to Save blogs/pages/etc. as Drafts.  I have used "Make This Post Private" as a substitute in the past only to discover that Amy likes to snoop around people's private posts (KIDDING, AMY!).  The point is, if I'm truly going to follow Mister Tim's (and Mrs. Tim's) Editing Advice when I'm writing a blog sometimes I need to save the darn thing and look at it when it's not 3am.  The people who endure my drivel will thank you (or not).

5) How do I get in touch with individual members on this site?  Where is my profile?  The old site had a feature where you could search for people by area or indicate that you were a Bass/Baritone/othernonimportantvoicing, and are single and looking.  Also "JPaisley" posted a comment on my blog...who the heck is JPaisley and why is he named after a pattern loved by hippies?  I would love to learn more about him.  Profiles and Private messaging would be nice.  If someone never posts a blog or a comment on here, how do we know they exist?  Now if this feature DOES exist and I'm just too lame to notice, I refer back to #1.

6)  LOVE THE ABILITY TO BLOG AND HAVE IT SHOW UP ON THE MAIN PAGE.  It exhilarates and terrifies me.  The first time I blogged and my post hit the main page I peed myself.  Please don't change it ever!  This feature single-handedly gave me the feeling that I belonged to this community.

7)  Love the "Recent Comments" feature too.  So great to check in with the site and see what people are talking about, even on articles that I missed.  Please don't change that either.

8)  I don't get the "integration with Facebook".  It didn't Workforme using Firefox and when I finally switched to IE Tab and signed on all it seemed to do is port my picture over.  What else you got?  Right now there's no compelling reason for me to do my group business on here and not on FB itself.  This might get into a whole field of technologies that we don't want to tackle here but I bring it up for the sake of discussion about what we want this site to do/be.

9)  9, like F before, was brilliant, but I forgot again.

10)  Finally I would love to see a perpetual list of A Cappella events that we support/encourage/sponsor/recommend.  I know about Sojam because of my affiliation as a Director and the Director's meeting being moved there, but I only catch vague references to Sojam here (which strictly as a fan I might be interested in).  Why does the general Acahead care about Sojam, or LAAF or all those things in those "flyover states"?

10a)  Probably related to the above I would love to see a Links page.  What does CASA recommend if you want more info about: Acarecordings, Acafestivals, Acaarrangements, Acaclasses, Acacheese™, outside of what our site can/wants to cover?

I'm sure I have more and I'm sure other people have ideas or they might just want to publicly denounce mine.  I believe the Board spent a little time in the last meeting discussing the website (unless the Tweeter lied) but I thought a public process might benefit us all.

Comments

Thanks for the feedback!

I'm not part of the tech crew on the Board (and they'll be the ones most qualified to reply), but I wanted to thank you for your input, Griffon.  You have some good thoughts - many we've been discussing already, some we have not.  We appreciate you taking an interest in the site, and taking the time to brainstorm for us!

A couple of comments:

1) We've got a TON of feature add ons and changes in store for the site.  Some really exciting stuff.  Of course, we're all working on our individual programs, as well, and we're always up against the issue of doing as much as possible with limited resources.  If you know of anyone who can help contribute financially to the website cause, we'd love to hear from them!

2) Facebook connect - I think you'll find that this model (along with Google's iteration and others) will become *very* pervasive on the web.  There are many reasons why it makes sense (though you don't have to use this method to log in).  I do know that it works with FF (and Safari).  An email to our tech folks might be able to help you if you're having trouble.  We sure don't want you to have to resort to using IE!!  :)

3) Flyover states, eh? Hey, Durham (the site of SoJam 2009) was just rated at the #5 place to live in the US of A by US World News and Report. So there! :) In all seriousness though, we hope to see you at one of our festivals this year.  We do have plans for a much more comprehensive listing of CASA's owned, partnered-with, and recommended festivals.  Look for that soon!

PS - are you a Member of CASA?

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback.  Keep it coming!

dave

www.davesperandio.com

 

About Me Diovoce Studios CASA Board of Directors

I am not only the President of CASA...

I am a paid member, a League Director and, if someone would answer my email, soon-to-be Ambassador as well.

Things I wish I had thought to say:

I TOTALLY AGREE about having the "recent comments" feature on the main page. I read more articles from that than from any other spot on the site!

I'd also like to see links. That would be nice.

Also, on the Acapedia--why is it filed under "learn". Why not have a tab that says "Acapedia"? It seems like that could be a major draw to the site--a place where groups can network, promote themselves, troll for available singers, etc. It could be a living, vibrant resource for fans and singers. Right now, listed under "learn", it kinda seems like something a music teacher might use to introduce students to a cappella groups. Instead of just linking to myspace, why not make it a group "myspace" where groups showcase press pics, performance vids (hosted by YouTube?), etc. Also, the "members" bar confused me at first--Wonder Voice has 24 singers?  Also, I HATE the "Invite Only" thing.  Makes the groups look uninviting. This could be a fantastic draw to the site for groups and for the fans.

I Love the blogs, though.

I agree!

I also miss the section you used to have with the audition notices and singers available, like Rebecca mentioned. I think that was a really useful feature and I was very surprised when I saw it missing from this new version of the site. Any chance of seeing that return?I know you can just Blog your audition notice, but it would be great to have "a place" where you can simply post your ad and then browse through all of the other listings.

 

It's good to see feedback like this on here though. It can only help to improve the site and help you guys make it the best it can be.

 

forum

forum is forthcoming, among many many other changes...

Amy Malkoff http://www.amymalkoff.com/harmony CASA (Contemporary A Cappella Society) Program Manager + Director of Web Content - http://www.casa.org Judge - ICCA, ICHSA, Harmony Sweepstakes, etc.

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