August 2005 Archives

If you know me at all, you know how much I enjoy the geographically-correlated statistical data. There’s nothing like a comparison between where I live and the rest of the country to put a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and a drop in my property values.

That’s why I’m glad I ran across the ITCH ALERT site — sponsored by Cortaid®, for all your itching needs — which tells me Oklahoma City is the itchiest American city for August. I hear it was a close competition — Dallas made a last-minute bid for first by blocking all shipments of dandruff shampoo from entering the city. In the end, though, we prevailed, thanks in no small part to our abundance of stagnant water/ecologically-protected mosquito habitats.

I’m sure this distinction makes us popular with the Cortaid® people, but it probably just makes all other Oklahoma tourists want to get out of town and take a bath.

Also, I noticed that as I read the site, I kept getting little itches all over. Don’t know if it was psychological or geographical, but it was kind of disturbing.

As promised, I’m sharing the feedback I received from the PRP judges. My responses will be interspersed with their comments.

Not a whole lot of events…

Well, shoot the messenger, why don’t ya. I don’t schedule the events, I only report them. Not much I can do about that complaint.

…no privacy protection for hosts

And that is simply not true. For each event we publish the host’s name and phone number so that if someone wants to attend an event they can contact the host for directions. Addresses and directions to private residences are only available to members and email list subscribers (a small enough group that I know who they are). Events are open to the public, so we have to give people some way to find out where to go. I might put it to the officers to see if someone wants to be the one point-of-contact for all events so we don’t have to publish any host information.

Lots of good things here. There was some outdated stuff on the homepage about CultureQuest and a couple other events that had occurred before the date I did the judging.

Well, that’s entirely possible. We (and by we I mean Angela) post news pretty often, but there could have been some old stuff on the front page when this person visited. Not very old, though.

Has privacy policy…

An improvement we made based on last year’s feedback.

…all links work…

Again, thanks to Angela.

…entertainment by links only…

This is where our site is really lacking. Angela posts news, and occasionally I do too, but we don’t have time to do any feature writing. And, we rarely get submissions from other members. One of my goals for the next year is to really push for more contributions from our members. I want to encourage people to send us stories, pictures, puzzles — maybe even music and videos.

…recruitment is only how to join (no encouragement or incentive).

We tried a thing where everyone who signs up gets a shiny new quarter. Unfortunately, Mensans are too good at math.

Seriously, though, this is something else the site could use. Writing lies marketing copy isn’t really my thing. There are some marketing/advertising types in the group, though, so maybe I can get one of them to take a crack at it.

Nice Member Links page - I stayed there far too long, Nice layout, nicely done, nice amount of info. Only thing I can suggest is to add links back to the home page.

This may be something I break down and do. Yes, there is already a link back to the home page on every page — the “Central Oklahoma Mensa” graphic in the upper left hand corner is a link home, just like it should be. But, despite that being pretty standard, not everybody knows about it.

One of the 2 or 3 best designs, in my opinion. I would put a link to your Member Links/Archives on the home page, though, because those are also exceptional, but easily missed if one isn’t looking for them or going methodically through the site.

Both of these links are on the home page — “Member Links” is in the navigation and Archives is at the bottom of the page. Clearly, they are not prominent enough, since I heard similar complaints about the navigation last year. I could move the Archives link to the top of the page, but there is not really anything I can do with the rest of the navigation that wouldn’t involve redesigning the whole site, and that’s not something I’m willing to do. If I can come up with a small tweak, I’ll do that, but no redesigns for a while.

Thanks to the judges for providing comments — your input is very helpful. If anybody has other ideas for the OKMensa site, please comment here.

Almost a month ago, National Mensa announced their Publication Recognition Program awards for 2005. For the fourth year in a row, Central Oklahoma Mensa was a winner. We won Best Calendar and Best Small Group Web Site.

I haven’t received feedback from the judges yet, but when I do I’ll discuss it here.