Using this Website

Using this Website
Updated May 26, 2018, with changed membership of the Website Committee.

There are three goals for the website

  • Inform members of club events;
  • Improve club operations; and
  • Attract new members to our club.

The site is managed by the Website Committee

The site is managed by a Website Committee. Brent Merchant, 1st Vice President of the club, chairs the Committee. Other Committee members are Garry Anderson, Eric Ballinger, Steve Dix, Erik Ewen, Andrew Harley, Ron Harmer, Derek Langdon, Mark Lee, Chris Slade.

If you have any suggestions or recommendations to improve the website, please contact a member of the Committee.

The Home Page is the starting point

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When you first log on to our website, you are presented with the Home page, which provides an introduction to first-time visitors, current information for members and links to detailed information on other pages of the website.

The top of the page identifies the website; below that is a green Navigation Bar with the names of the drop-down menus in white; next is a panoramic “slider” picture that changes every few seconds.

Below the slider, you will see a welcome/news banner that usually displays a reminder of an upcoming event. The banner is followed by three main columns:

  • About Us, which is intended for visitors to our site;
  • Latest News, which displays a blog of the latest news bulletins and a second blog, Bowling Abroad, about the international adventures of club members;
  • Upcoming Events, which lists the most important current events on our club calendar.

Beneath the News items, you will see a link that takes you to the entire sequence of news items. Similarly, below the Upcoming Events list, you will see a link that takes you to the calendar for the current month.

In the Footer at the very bottom of the page, there are more useful links.

You can always return to the Home page at any time by clicking on Home in the Navigation Bar or by clicking on our club’s logo in the upper left of every page.

The sections below describe various features of our website. Click or tap on one of the nine titles below to expose the details; click/tap on it again to hide the details.

Eleven Menus give access to every item on the website

The Navigation Bar, towards the top of every webpage, lists seven menus—VISITORS, NEWS, etc.

There are four more menus in the footer, which is the green-coloured area that you can view by scrolling to the very bottom of your screen.

Collectively these 11 menus enable you to navigate to every page of the website as shown on the Site Map and also displayed in alphabetical order, by menu heading, in the left-hand sidebar of this page.

The main menus are:

  1. Visitors: Contains a number of items of interest to new members and those who are casually visiting this website.
  2. Calendar: Contains the full calendar of every event taking place in the club over the next few months and some of the events at the other ten Bowls South Island clubs. Menu entries present several filtered versions of the calendar, such as a calendar that displays only tournaments at our club.
  3. News: Contains the recent newsflashes and photo galleries, the club history and the club archive, which consists mainly of documents on our old website, prior to 2014.
  4. Lawn Bowling: Tells you all you need to know about the outdoor game and the many opportunities to play at our club.
  5. Novices Program / Short Mat: The summer Novices Program menu describes our special introductory program for all new club members who have not bowled before. In the winter we swap this menu for Short Mat, which describes the indoor game that we play in the winter season. In the summer, the Short Mat menu appears under Winter Activities.
  6. Winter Activities: Describes the various special interest groups such as bridge, darts, canasta, table tennis, mahjong, cribbage, etc. that operate during the winter season.
  7. The Club: Describes how our club works and is administered.

If you “hover” over any menu name in the Navigation Bar, a drop-down list is displayed. Click on the name in the Navigation Bar to reveal a page of summary information. Click on each item in the drop-down menu for more detail.

If you scroll down to the bottom of any page, you will come to the Footer. This contains up to four more menus of links to a number of items of interest, both within the site and on other websites.  See next section.

The Footer is full of useful references

If you scroll down to the bottom of any page, you will come to the Footer.  These columns change from time to time in support of current topics. As of June 26, 2015, the columns are:

  1. Website Guide covers how to find your way around the website. One entry is Using this Website (the page you are now reading.)
  2. Quick Links points to important items that may not be readily apparent from the six menus on the Navigation Bar.
  3. Current Forms, the third column, typically stores references to the data collection forms that are currently most useful.
  4. Bowling Sites, the right-hand column, contains links to other websites of interest to bowlers.

We vary items in the Footer depending on the wishes of members.

Sidebars serve as permanent reminders

On nearly every page except the home page, you will find the same right-hand “sidebar.”

We use this sidebar to carry reminder information on every page, such as the announcement of an upcoming social event or a tournament. So those reminders are always at hand when you view the inner pages of the website.

The most important/urgent reminder is at the top of the sidebar and has a white background; the other announcements have a yellow background. Usually not more than three announcements appear at any one time since viewers will not see them, if they are too far down the screen.

Further down the sidebar you will see the latest news and calendar items. These are just duplicates of the information you see on the home page.

It is possible to have a second sidebar, but we have only used that format in one page, which is the page you are reading now.

It is also possible to have no sidebars, if a full-screen format better suits the material being presented. Some of the Visitors pages have no sidebars. The Calendar page also has no sidebars.

Navigation around the website is easy

It is easy to find your way around the website using Menus, Links, Paging and the Search Pane.

  • The seven main menus are accessed from the navigation bar, which is near the top of every page. There are a further four footer menus at the very bottom of every page.
  • You can use paging to go backwards and forwards to previously accessed webpages. Paging arrows are located in your browser, at the very top of your screen, which is not part of the website.
  • By clicking on the many blue underlined “hyperlinks” throughout the site, you can skip immediately to more details about the subject in question, either on this website or on other websites. By default, all links open in the same window on your screen, which means that paging backwards will take you back to the screen you just left.
  • To open a link in a new window or tab:
    – For keyboard machines use Ctrl+Click or Cmd+Click (rather than just Click on the link)
    – For touch screens, keep touching the link until the display options appear, then select Open in New Tab.
    If you have opened a new window to view a link, you return to the previous page by clicking on the tab that shows it. (The back arrow will not work.)
  • The search pane is located in the top right hand corner of every page where you will see the words “Search this website.” If you cannot find what you are looking for on the site, you can type a key word or key words in the search pane. Every webpage on this site where these word(s) occur will then be displayed. If you are searching for an exact phrase, enclose it in quotation marks.
The Calendar can selectively display events

When you open the full all-events Calendar, which has its own menu on the navigation bar and is also referenced in the Footer, you will see all club events in the current month displayed, colour-coded by type.

At the very top of each page, there is a so-called “spoiler” (like the one you are reading now.) Click/tap on that and instructions about how to make best use of the calendar will be revealed. A second spoiler explains how to use the RSVP event booking systems, which was introduced in September 2017.

If you click on Calendar at the top left, you will be able to filter the calendar so that it only displays events in a specific category, such as Social Events. Similarly you can filter by Organization or Venue. Some of this filtering is done for you if you display other items on the Calendar menu, such as Daily Draws Calendar and BSI Tournaments Calendar.

You can page backwards and forwards to other months by clicking on the arrows at the centre top. Clicking on the double arrows will page by year.

In the top right hand corner, you can change the display from the default of current month, to current week, or to current day. The centre arrows for paging back and forth will alter accordingly.

The rightmost box, Event, will display details of any event you select on the calendar.

Responsive Design adapts to all types of devices
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The website is designed to be “responsive” which means that it will adapt its screen presentation to all types of devices such as Windows personal computers, tablets and smart phones.

If you are viewing this website with a tablet or smart phone, you can immediately see the adaptation by changing the orientation of your device from landscape (horizontal) to portrait (vertical). tablet

The pages of the website are divided into three columns. You can see these three columns on the Home page. As the screen gets narrower, the website wraps the Navigation Bar into two or more lines and stacks the columns one on top of the other. laptop

If you find the print a bit small for you and you have a Windows personal computer, you can type Ctrl+ (repeatedly) to make the typeface larger. Full responsiveness will be maintained. With a tablet  computer, you can pinch or expand the content of the screen with two fingers. If you alter the size of the image in this way, a double tap on the screen will then change the three columns to two (the sidebar will disappear) and the text will appear larger.

Website Technology chosen for easy maintenance

Our club’s website was built using WordPress, the world’s most popular software for building websites. We chose WordPress since it is possible to change the website as needed without knowing any computer programming language. This means that our club’s volunteers can keep the site up-to-date.

WordPress has a huge selection of free, or very inexpensive, software that supports new features that we may want to add to our website in the future. Two prominent examples of this inexpensive software that are used in our website are: Calendarize it!, the software behind our calendar; and Gravity Forms, which is used for the many forms that are used throughout the site to gather data from members.

Dropbox is used to store website documents

The club website is linked to a special dropbox where information objects such as documents, photographs and videos are stored. This separates the data from the website and makes both more manageable.

Club members who are responsible for documents, such as tournament posters, can post the updated version to the dropbox without risk of disturbing the software that runs the website itself.

As a website user, when you click on the blue underlined links in the website, you often see that the website takes you to the dropbox to access the latest version of any document.

Tips:

  1. If you are presented with the dropbox option Open in App, do not click on it. You should rather click on the Download box at the top of the screen or, better still, wait for a few seconds and the document will appear without further intervention. The Open in App option frequently occurs if you are using an Apple iPad tablet to access the dropbox.
  2. If you want to print a document from the website, it is more reliable to Download it to your own computer and then print it, rather than try to print directly from the dropbox display.
Forms software collects and displays data

We use three forms software packages;

  • Gravity Forms is used to create online forms for collecting data from individuals such as membership applications/renewals, tournament registration, survey responses, etc.
  • Gravity View is used to display different views of the data we collect. For example, Gravity View can display the club telephone book from the master file of all membership data, or a player list from the online tournament registration file.
  • RSVP was introduced in September 2017 to enable members to manage their own reservations/cancellations for certain events. It will be used initially for reservations in short mat bowling games. Potentially RSVP can be used for individual online reservations in any club event, such as club tournaments, dinners, etc. With the installation of a tablet computer in Anderson House in September, even those without a computer at home can take advantage of online reservations.