2.1 - Website Enhancement Launch

We've just launched our newest website upgrade - version 2.1. Enhancements include improvements to carpooling, the full importing of your course and activity history, improved instructor registration, and better course roster management for our leaders.
Jeff Bowman Jeff Bowman
IT Manager
December 12, 2014

We know you asked Santa for this in May, but our elves just finished working, and we’re happy to deliver this to you a few days early and drop it down your chimney before the holidays.

Introducing Mountaineers.org 2.1

We've been working on these tech enhancements for a few months, and are happy to officially launch these to you this week. Here's a list of what we released:

For Members: 
  • Created means for activity participants to share their carpooling preferences. Now it's easy for participants to contact each other without going through the Leaders - connecting you with carpool partners and saving the planet.  
  • Provided a way for activity participants to communicate with each other (e.g. arrange carpools, share post-trip photos). People can share photos and other information right through the activity roster, making new friends and developing new trips.
  • Integrated activity and course history* – Your activity and course history records (about 260,000 of them!) were imported making all of that hard work you did and achievements you made with The Mountaineers visible again. 
  • Improved viewing on the My Activities and My Courses pages saving you time scrolling through the page.
  • Added My Purchases to the My Profile area - allows you to view and print receipts for any purchase (like annual dues and courses) to save time dealing with charitable deductions and record-keeping.
  • Created a process to prevent you from putting the same course or activity in your shopping cart twice (so you can still register family members and pay in one transaction) which will prevent unwanted hassles.
For Leaders:
  • Improved instructor registration to track like your activities and courses making it easier for you to get out there and help teach things you love with less searching for opportunities to do so. You can view these on your 'My Courses' tab by selecting the option "Courses I'm leading or instructing."
  • Revised course registration process to add closing dates and times. Similar to what we have for activities, this allows you to list a course so it's seen in searches without allowing participants to register.
  • Improved bulk course roster management system, saving you time managing your rosters.
For Staff (to improve our ability and increase our efficiency to serve you):
  • Created the ability to merge contact records, which allows staff to help with your account questions more quickly.
  • Developed a process to transfer data from our live site to our test site, allowing staff and volunteers an easier, quicker way to test the next round of website enhancements.
*A few notes on course and activity history imports:
  • We imported ALL courses, clinics, seminars and trips. We were not able to import all lectures and field trips related to a course. This means you will be able to see your course information, but won't necessarily see all of the course related activities. For example: You will see that you took Basic Climbing, but will not see the crevasse-rescue field trip associated with that course.
  • We felt it was important to have as much information imported as possible, which means the data isn't always the cleanest. Prior to 2003, we did not have a good way of digitally storing this information. Which means some dates may be wrong - it defaults to 1906 - and some details may be missing (because they weren't previously required). The current state of your profile history is the best we can provide the the historical data on file.

Introducing UserVoice

Uservoice is a new help system that allows us to do two things better:

  1. Makes it easier for us to track your questions by sending you a receipt notification and keeping you up to date on our progress with your question.
  2. Hosts an online forum where you can submit enhancement suggestions and see other people’s ideas. You can also vote and comment on your favorite ideas.

Uservoice provides a transparent place to collect feedback and will help prioritize future projects. Better yet, it’s easy to use. Here’s some information on the ticketing widget and forum service:

Ticketing Widget for Issue/Help Management

Use this to send a question, report a bug, or submit a technology issue.

Sign in to your Mountaineers account and you will see a ? icon in the lower right hand corner:

UserVoice Question Mark

Click the ? icon and follow the instructions to send us an question. You can easily include a screenshot with your issue with an optional check-box.

The ? icon is visible on every page of the website (if you’re logged in) so you can submit a technology issue from the page where you are experiencing an issue. Member services will receive your issue and respond within 48 hours. You can still submit issues directly  via info@mountaineers.org.

Feedback Forums

Use these to propose your improvement ideas, share best practices with other leaders, and vote for your favorite ideas.

Visit feedback.mountaineers.org and submit your idea to one of our forums. We have two forums, one for general members and guests (anyone with a Mountaineers login) and another separate area for our leaders and administrators. The leader forum is exclusive for our leaders, separate from the General Feedback forum, and was designed for leaders and admins to discuss the more complicated enhancements the general public would find confusing. You can subscribe to any post to receive updates on it's status and read incoming comments from other members and leaders.

This is an area for you to share with fellow leaders about improvement proposals which require a policy decision/discussion between branches and isn’t necessarily just a tech fix. A few examples would be course and activity template related improvements or course roster management details. Examples for our general forum include improvements to carpooling and importing course and activity history.

Each member receives 10 votes per forum which they can use to support ideas that interest them (and post an idea, which requires 1-vote). Why only 10 votes? Our members have great ideas, and we certainly don’t want to silence your voices. However, the advantage of a 10 vote limit is that it gives everyone an equal voice. Also, it forces personal prioritization of issues. We do not have infinite resources, and therefore cannot work with infinite votes. Members will get their votes back when an idea they created or voted for is given a "Closed" status. You can also choose to redistribute your votes at any time.

Why only two forums? These forums allow us to balance the priorities which are important to members vs. the ones that are important to leaders. And better yet, you get 10-votes per forum, giving leaders more freedom to express ideas. We are open to the idea of creating more forums in the future if the need presents itself, but for now we are going with the simplified best practices recommended to us.

The ideas with the most votes will be considered by our Board Technology Committee for implementation. Accepted ideas will be worked into our technology development plan. For example, as of the publication of this blog, the most popular idea on the forum is better committee page management by leaders. We hear that this is important to you, and have established a working group to research the needs you have for your branch/committee pages so that we can develop a better process which will best serve those needs.

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