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Old 02-17-2009, 06:11 PM
Michal M.'s Avatar
Michal M. Michal M. is offline
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Default How this website works ...

Ok, I'm going to try to jog down everything I know about this website that would help you understand how it works and help you navigate in it with ease.

I made a few pictures with arrows and descriptions for those of use who welcome visual aids, I know I do. They're inserted later in the text where it is relevant and look like this: (see illustration). Except you can actually click on them and see the actual picture ;-)

The most helpful information (in my opinion) is colorfuly pointed out.

So, here it goes ...

This whole websites consist of 2 major integrated parts: the forums and what I call "the front page". The front page is what you see when you initially come to ohioflyers.org. It has its top banner, navigation bar below it, left column with additional navigational aids, all of which stay the same and grant you access to all the "substance" of our site (see illustration). And the rest are what I call "modules" - little or bigger "boxes" that have valuable information and their content changes often. The beauty of it is, that the content stays current, changes automatically and nobody has to have any coding/html/php/blahblah knowledge to keep them up to date. These modules pull their current information from the forums, so they update as often as we contribute with our posts. For example, the module "Random Pictures" pulls 2 random pictures from everyone's albums, the module "Plans to Fly" shows the last 5 threads from forums section "Plans to Fly", the module "Club News" pulls the most recent post from forum section "Club News", the last 6 sections in the forums under "OhioFlyers" supply all the information for the general information pages (like weather, links, bylaws etc ...) mentioned later in this article under Left Column (see illustration). Again, no programmer has to come in and update our website with current information, it's done automatically just by us posting or editing in the forums.

TIP: These modules are collapsible. If you don't want to see the module, use the little up/down arrows at the end of the module's name to show/hide the module.


NAVIGATION BAR







Let's talk about the navigation bar. It has your basic access to the most frequented tasks you might need. It will take you:
  • Home (the front page)
  • Forums
  • Gallery (the collection of everyone's Albums & Pictures)
  • Members (list of all registered users on our site)
  • Calendar
  • Your profile (to change/update ANY and ALL aspects of your account)
  • NEW POSTS - this, in my humble opinion, is the single greatest tool this website has to offer. With ONE (1) click you can pull up a list of all the threads that have been updated since your last visit. Because you are logged in under your unique username and the website keeps track of what you're doing, it is very simple for it to tell you what you haven't read yet.
  • Search (it searches the Forums)
  • Quick Links (another collection of the most frequently used tools, see illustration)
  • Log Out (unless you're on a public computer, I suggest you don't log out and just stay logged in all the time)
LEFT COLUMN

The left column is another navigational tool, mainly tailored for those visiting our website for the first time and looking for a specific information.
In the first part of it is the list of links providing general information about OFHPA (the Club): its members, weather, ways to learn to fly, our safety standards, flying locations etc. In the second part visitor can see the Forum structure and easier browse into a category that may be more relevant to what they're looking for or wanting to share. (see illustration)


FORUMS

As mentioned earlier, forums is the 99% of our website. It is the spine & skeleton of this whole body, if you will. At this moment it is for our purposes split into several categories, to name a few we have our General Discussion section, Flight Reports, Club News etc, you get the idea. These categories can be modified later on as we see fit and our needs change. And again, it doesn't take a programmer to do it. It's a matter of less than 5 clicks, just ask Craig or Mark.

For those who don't know, and there may be some, Forums consist of Categories, categories are filled with Threads, and each Thread consists of Posts. Just for the terminology sake.

Having the forums split into sections/categories helps to keep the information well sorted and easy to find. In comparison with the yahoo!groups system, here we have each topic kept neatly together. In yahoo groups you would have 3 posts on the topics of flying next weekend, then 4 posts about the fund raiser for TTT ramp, then 2 flight reports from last weekend, another 2 posts about next weekend, then 1 about the ramp again, now try to go back and look something up from even 3 weeks ago. Nightmare. And those of us who wouldn't even go the yahoogroups and just rely on the email updates, you better have had a huge mailbox and/or an elephant's memory.







To point out just some of the advantages of forums and its tools (see illustration):
  • you can go back and edit your post to correct/update. In yahoo groups, once your sent something and then realized you made a mistake, you had to make another post to correct your previous post. You can even delete your own post, if you see the need
  • you can make a thread "Sticky" - if it is important and you want it to stick so it doesn't get burried as time goes, making it Sticky keeps it at the top of the page
  • if someone posts about a glider they have for sale in General discussions, i guarantee you in 1 weeks the post will be on 2nd page and noone will hear about it again. Just a couple of clicks and a moderator can move the post into Classifieds, where it belongs. And if you're coming to our website looking for a glider? Click on Classifieds and you're there!!
  • "Forum Tools" and "Search this Forum" are located in right upper corner and offer an easy way to find what you need
Once inside a specific Thread, similar tools are available to you (see illustration). Again, located in the right upper corner, you can:
  • subscribe to a specific thread to get an email notification about new replies
  • email the thread to your friend
  • search just within the specific thread
  • change the way the thread is displayed
By default the thread is displayed in a "linear mode". Meaning posts are displayed in a chronological order as our users make them. Other option is a "Threaded mode", which only displays the list of Headers of all the posts in a thread, and then you can click on the Header and see the actual post. "Hybrid Mode" is a combination of both, see for yourself. Those can be quite puzzling, if you ask me, I think most of us will use the "Linear mode".

TIP: You can change the order of posts from older to the newest of from the newest to the oldest. I strongly recommend having them sorted from the newest to the oldest. Why? When you open the thread, you can immediately see the latest posts, right at the top. Sometimes a thread can become several pages long, and if your latest posts are at the end, well, you have to get through several pages to get to what you haven't read yet.

To change the way each thread is sorted, go to your Profile - Edit Options - and in Thread Display Options change the Thread Display Mode to "Linear -newest first".


CONTROL PANEL - also called "MY PROFILE"

You can tweak the way our website looks here. From signature, avatar, albums to which time zone you're in so the time display relevant to you.







See this illustration and read about the most frequent/useful tools:
  • Edit Your Detail - your truly personal info
  • Edit Your Profile Picture - shows up in the list of members
  • Pictures & Albums - I strongly recommend sharing your photos with us. Simple and intuitive way to organize your images. Create multiple Albums, categorize them any way you want (by location, date, or what_have_you) and upload your pictures into them. Don't forget to fill out the captions, so we know which one the little white dots in sky is Craig or one of Larry's ;-)
  • Edit Options - may be quiet boring reading, but a lot of useful tweaks can be done here, definitely worth spending the 5 minutes on it, for example:
    • do you want to be contacted by email by others?
    • do you want to be automatically subscribed to any thread YOU start?
    • do you want to be notified by email when you recieve a private message?
    • do you want to see other peoples signatures and avatars, is it too much graphics for your slow connection to load?
    • how many posts do you want to see per page?
    • do you want to see only posts made in the last x days?
    • how do you want your compose window look when you're typing up a post? (I recommend "Enhanced Interface - Full WYSIWYG Editor")
  • access your Private Messages, your Outbox, track your messages etc.
  • access your Subscriptions: are you getting email notification about a thread you're no longer interested in? Unsubscribe here.
  • manage all file you've ever attached to any posts in the past
CALENDAR

This calendar could be a great tool for everyone to keep track of what is coming up, especially when it's further away in the future. Just like the calendar on your refridgerator, or your personal planner you carry around with you. I'm saying "could be" because nobody is using it just yet. Don't be afraid to click on it and pin anything down. From your vacation to California, our planned participation at a local air show, just about anything. (see illustration)

As you've probably read earlier in this article, all events charted in the calendar and upcoming in the next 365 days are automatically printed on the front page in a module "Upcoming Events".

You can even set up a reminder, up to 3 days prior to the event, so you are less likely to forget about that Richmond Dale hill taming ;-) To do so, navigate into the calendar and/or click on the event, to the right of the even description you'll see "Request Reminder For This Event". Then just select when you want to be notified and you're done!!


That's all I can think of at the moment to be of any help. Please, if you have any tip/advice/suggestion/question, don't hesitate to blurt it out! We're here to help each other out, right?

Last edited by Michal M.; 02-17-2009 at 07:02 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-03-2009, 02:54 PM
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CHassan CHassan is offline
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Links in post are simple to create. You can simply copy and past the link like this....
http://www.ohioflyers.org/

Or you can make the words clickable, like this.....
Ohio Flyers

Both links will take you to the same place. With short links doing it either way is ok, but for longer links such as a link to driving directions from Columbus to Wesmar.....
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=39.900466,-83.038788&daddr=Circleville+London+Northern+Rd%2FL ondon+Rd&geocode=%3BFUjRXQIdPJ0L-w&hl=en&mra=mi&mrsp=0,1&sz=10&sll=39.728313,-83.066254&sspn=0.499567,0.884399&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=10

You want to shorten it up, here is how you do it.

First write something pertaining to the link, for this one I'll use "Direction to Wesmar"

Now highlight the text you want to use, and it can be any text in your post. In the post toolbar click on the button that looks like the planet earth and a chain link. This opens another window. paste or type the link you want to use in that window, and viola!

Direction to Wesmar
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Last edited by CHassan; 03-04-2009 at 05:11 AM.
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