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How To (Use Your Website!)

Tips for Using this New Site

by Dianne S P Cermak

Reading this series is not at all essential for using the new site fully, but we provide it as a way of encouraging all of you to use and improve your new ringing website.

How to interact with all this site:

Different access and functions are associated with each particular widget depending on its intended use. Most elements of the site are fully readable to anyone who comes to the site, while a few - like "The Clapper" and the future "Member Discussion" page and "Member Contact" directory - are restricted to members of the Guild only. Most elements allow postings by any member (who can then freely update that posting). All pages can have links to other places on our site or to any other site including YouTube, Flickr, and the like, and most allow images to be uploaded.

Uploading New Content is can be easily done by anyone comfortable with email-level "computer stuff." Just go to the "Resources & Links" widget, scroll down to the Member Services section and click on the "Upload new content" link. On the Upload New Content page that then appears, read the options for types of information you can upload and click on the link that best suits your needs. (The site may request you to "Sign In" to the site at this point, if you have not done so previously, through a very brief pop-up form.) That will take you to page that is basically an interactive form where you can provide your material. There are instructions under each field or box about what to do in that space. Notice that you can

After you have entered everything, click on the "Preview" button at the lower right of the page; review what you see on the Preview page that comes up. If it looks good, click the "Confirm" button. If you want to make more changes, do so, then go through the "Preview" and "Confirm" cycles again. (Note: This process may currently ask you to "Arrange Pictures" even if you haven't uploaded any. We're working on streamlining this over the coming weeks. If you don't have any pictures, just click through to the next Preview and Confirm buttons.) If you do have pictures, follow the directions to arrange them in your layout and to select one image to be used as the "thumbnail" in the Archives. Be sure that when you are completely done you click the "Confirm" button. You can then go back to the Home page or the widget for the category of information you just posted to look at it again, if you like, and can re-enter it at any time to edit.

Editing, Updating, and Commenting is very direct and easy. If you are the person who posted an Article or Event Report originally, you can always edit it by signing in to the website, going to your item, and clicking on an "Edit this item" link in a box to the right of the item title. (Only the poster and the WebTeam can see that box.) Clicking on this link will take you to a page similar to that on which you entered your information originally and where you can make the desired changes. If you wish to change out any photos, just upload the new ones directly over (in the same field) as the ones you wish to replace.

Information for any Tower/Band listing can be updated by any person listed as that tower/band "Contact" person. Just sign in to the website, go to your listing, click on the "Edit this item" link in a box you should see to the right of your band listing. Then make your desired changes in the form that appears. Be sure to click the Preview and then the Confirm buttons that will appear in the lower right of the page. The process for updating any Events is similar and can be done either by the person who posted the event or the listed "Contact Person." Any member of the Guild can comment on any Article, Event Report, or Clapper issue, and update any Announcement by scrolling to the bottom of the item and entering a comment in the Comment box. We encourage you to do this so that dialogs can develop on the NAGCR site on matters of interest to the ringing community.

Get notices of new information on the site by setting up an RSS-to-Email link on your Home Page. This will cause an email message to be sent automatically and directly to you within 24 hours of any new material appearing on the website. With this feature you will know immediately if there is a new Announcement, Event, Article, Report and (in the future) new Member Discussions or Peals and Quarters. Setting this up is very simple. Instructions about how to do it are fully described in my short article, "Get Automatic Notices of Ringing News".

Things you might want to know about key widgets:

Notices of Upcoming Events: Clicking on the name of any event in the Calendar of Events widget links directly to more detailed information about it. Clicking on "Full 2009 calendar" link in the lower right corner takes the reader to a page with a month-by-month interactive calendar at the top and a list of events, by date within category, directly below. Clicking on the names of events in the calendar pops up a small window that presents critical information and links to more details. Clicking on event names in the categorized list below takes the user to a page of event details which should usually offer direct links to the organizers/registrars of the event. Events remain on the calendar and the list permanently, while the widget on the Home Page automatically updates itself to show only the next five future events. These can be posted by any member and that member can also post Updates to the notice.

Articles: These are meant to be presentations of non-event related topics such as, for example, instructions about how to conduct, proposals for new guild policies, discussions of handling issues, and opinions about ringing subjects, as well as short items such as obituaries, poems, riddles, etc. Each article is followed by a comment box that allows readers to respond so that on-line discussions can develop around each topic. The most recent articles appear in the Articles widget on the Home Page in reverse order of the dates they were posted, but all articles remain in the archive permanently. The archive listing shows a thumbnail image (if the poster has chosen one), gives a brief "blurb" about the article, as well as the author and posting date. They can be posted by any member!

Event Reports: These are intended to be presentations about ringing events that have already taken place. The operation of the Event Reports widget and archive are the same as with Articles. They can be posted by any member!

Announcements: These are meant to alert members to brief, very time-sensitive, information, and therefore must be much shorter than articles and event reports. The widget shows all current announcements in very abbreviated form to enable more announcements to be readily visible at a glance. Announcements expire out of the widget after two weeks by default or sooner if appropriate, although they remain visible permanently in the Announcements Archive. They can be posted by any member! Any member can also post an update to an announcement - similarly to attaching comments to articles - and those updates will be indicated in the widget on the Home Page.

Tower & band information: This can be found in an array of useful formats in the widget entitled, "Find Ringing Near You." Entering a city name or zip code in the Search field and clicking on the Submit button will take you directly to a custom-created page showing a map with your location at the center and the closest towers marked. Clicking on the marker gives the identity of each tower and scrolling down the page provides the most crucial details about each with further information available by clicking on the embedded links. Alternatively, users can go directly to a full listing of all change ringing towers and bands in North America by clicking on the "browse the towers . . ." link on the Home Page "Find Ringing Near You" widget. This listing provides many links for each band where more detailed information can be found. A further new feature is that all cities with multiple bands now have an "All [city name]-area ringing . . ." link, which when clicked will bring up an integrated listing showing all the ringing in that area by day of the week, exact location, and contact person making planning for your ringing travel much easier. The Contact persons for each listing can directly edit all the information for their bands.

Posted Nov 13, 2009

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