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Very disappointed

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  • Member since
    November 2005
Very disappointed
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, December 13, 2002 10:49 AM
I just started looking at the new site, so these are first impressions.

First, the good points. FSM's site was definitely due for an upgrade, and the overall appearance is an improvement. I like the forum layout in particular.

Now the bad, which unfortunately is much more inportant to me in this case. Having to register to access a site is annoying under any conditions. It is sometimes a necessary evil, but should certainly not be used unless absolutely necessary. The only reason I don't use places like Amazon for online shopping is because of the ridiculous account setup; instead I do my online shopping at places that don't require accounts.

As mentioned above, there are occasionally reasons for having login accounts. The most obvious is when a site charges for access to certain online resources--sor instance, if FSM wanted to charge a fee for access to some articles, then it would be reasonable to have password access to those areas only. As far as I can tell, it serves no purpose at all on the FSM site, and by itself is enough to make me consider never using the site again.

There are also some significant navigation problems. The most frequent area I visited on the old FSM site was the Events page--since I live in a rural area too far away for any cities to join a club, this was my only source of information about upcoming shows. Every show I have attended in the last 4 years I found out about through the FSM site. While your site makes it very clear that you have to register to post an event, I can't find any link that allows you to actually read a list of events, after 20 minutes of searching. If it's there, it seems to be well hidden.

I don't know if I'll be back or not, but I hope you can use this input to improve the site.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, December 17, 2002 11:39 AM
I'm glad to hear you like the redesigned layout of the site and the new forum feature. More importantly, thanks for your input on the areas where you'd like us to do better. We've really only just started; there are a lot more enhancements to come. Constructive criticism like yours helps us decide where to direct our efforts next.

I have good news about the Events calendar: it is not up and running yet but will be going on line soon. The old calendar was merely a static HTML file that one of us put together once a month when we compiled the calendar for the print magazine. The new one will allow registered users to enter the data themselves (i.e., your event goes up right away, instead of waiting, in some cases, almost a whole month). Now, as for registration....

The decision to require registration was heavily debated during our development meetings. We were very concerned about the potential annoyance to users, but we decided it was outweighed by the benefits of making the site more interactive for them. We wanted to add features like the forums and the "self-service" events calendar but also had to make sure we could maintain control over the content on our site and who posts it.

Requiring users to give us a valid e-mail address is pretty much a necessity nowadays for keeping trolls and various automated spammers out of the forums. And, yes, we also want to capture demographic information--everybody who works on FineScale does it because they enjoy it, but it's also a business. If we want to continue making the magazine, we have to sell magazines!

As a matter of corporate policy, Kalmbach is very careful not to abuse the e-mail info we receive. In fact, when you register for the site, there is a check box for opting out of receiving ANY e-mail solicitation from us.

The other purpose of registration is, as you commented, to allow for access to subscriber-only content or articles from back issues sold online "by the drink," so to speak. We're not ready to do that yet, but the new site's structure gives us the option in the future. BTW, we don't intend to start charging for stuff on the site that's currently free.

This registration type of registration system has already been implemented on several other Kalmbach magazine websites, and users have found the inconvenience minimal. I hope you'll give it a try and pay us a return visit.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, December 19, 2002 10:46 PM
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, February 17, 2003 4:07 PM
I find it an excellent site, very informative. As for navigation problems I would not know as I am a computer idiot, but I will say I have no problem navigating.

Sgt Al

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