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Thoughts on Hike Database Functionality and Design
Date: June 21, 2008
To: Web Redesign Committee
From: Ed Goodell
Copy: Dan Chazin
Re: Hike Database Functionality and Design
I spoke with Dan earlier this week about the Hike Database. He was very pleased to see Doug Cleek's design treatment and thought it a major improvement over the current default display on the website. Below I will describe some of Dan's comments and then offer my own thoughts on the search function.
- Dan has already begun going through all the hikes and giving them each a name. Right now, each is simply given the park name, resulting in multiple hikes having the same name.
- Dan is also willing to note any update dates, bus/train transportation options, and any non-Loop (i.e. circuit) hikes (he estimates that 90% are Loop Hikes) and any other features that we want to include. (See below.)
- To get the
above information into our database, I suggest the following process:
- Each of the Hikes should be printed out in Hike Name (i.e. Park Name) order and put into a 3 ring binder.
- Dan will go through the hikes and mark them up.
- A Web Redesign volunteer will revise our hike database using the mark-up comments.
- (We need to identify a volunteer to help with this. Fortunately, it can be done from home.)
** As you know Dan is involved in many projects and coordination of his efforts will need to be actively managed by us ... (Do you want to take this on Georgette?)
- Dan had
the following thoughts about the Features Items:
- Waterfall-OK but probably should add Pond/Lake as another featured item
- Cliffs-Dan didn't see how to apply this objectively
- Birding-Not something that Dan can comment on (aren't they everywhere). Perhaps a birding volunteer could help us, or we could poll users about its popularity before putting a lot of effort in.
- Wildflowers-Could work if someone knowledgeable would annotate them (ditto the Birding comment)
- Panoramic View-Change to "Viewpoint"
- Handicap accessible-doesn't apply much now but could in the future
- Feature Items to add:
ii. Camping allowed
iii. Mountain biking (only if the entire hike is open to biking)
iv. Cross-country skiing (portions of the hike OK)
v. Fees (Parking, Parking Seasonally, Per Person, Per Person Seasonally)
Thoughts on the search function
- Could the Feature Items above be handled like the Difficulty is currently? (i.e. Being able to choose as many or little of the features and having the search functions, "All of," "None of," and "One of." Actually "Any of" is probably more correct than "One of.")
that we don't want to create an overly complicated search scheme, I wonder
if the same search approach as on "Difficulty" and suggested above for
"Features" could be applied to a selection of other fields, which have
multiple values, as below:
- Publication Date (Previous 30 days, Previous Year, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000)
- Route Type: (Loop, There & Back, Shuttle)
- Distance: (>X, <Y) or (<3 miles, 3-6 miles, 6-10 miles, >10 miles)
- Time: (search similar to distance)
- Region: (List of Regions)
- Park: (List of Parks)
- State: (NY, NJ, PA, CT, MA)
Searches that could be created from existing data
- State/Region/Park: (Eliminate above 2 categories by creating a heretical list of parks by region with ability to choose individual regions and/or parks.)
- County/State: (Combine County and State as in the Region/Park example.
- Public Transportation: (Bus, Train) (Currently the database has memo fields for Auto, Train, and Bus that can hold the directions for using either type of transportation. Probably need to link this with a yes/no attribute if we are to search by it.)
- Killer features
we should consider implementing
- Latitude and Longitude for trail head to allow trip planning and route mapping of transportation.
- Search based on max distance from existing zip code
- Ability for readers to rank and comment on hikes
- Searches by average Hike Rankings
- Ability to create lists of favorite hikes
- Ability to submit new hikes
- Ability to submit photos for existing and new hikes
- Ability to submit and map GPS tracks for existing and new hikes
Recommendation for Search Functions (at Launch)
I think we should implement 4 Search Functions, which can be individually set up as preferred and then implemented with a single button-FIND HIKES or SEARCH HIKE DATABASE. I think there is enough room over the Table to set up 4 search columns, each one with a search settings and drop down list that are individually selectable.
- Search by Difficulty (Need definitions; see Distance below.)
- Search by State/Region(Park?)
- Search by Distance (Time could be more useful but is so subjective as to be almost meaningless unless a common protocol is strictly enforced, which is impossible with public submissions. I think we should establish and publish a formula that relates the Difficulty measures to miles/hour for an average adult. With that formula, it would be easy to calculate any variable-Time, Distance or Difficulty-with two of the three attributes.)
- Search by Features (See added/changed features above.)
Recommendation for Hike Table
I would minimize the number of columns and put them in the following order. The rows would appear based on the following sort order: State/Park/Submission Date (descending order).
- Title (Click through to description)
- State (replace by distance to zip code ASAP)
- Submitter (Click through to table of all hikes by this submitter)
- Submission Date
- *Submitter may not be of interest to many. Submission Date probably even less.
Recommendation for Hike Description View
- Header: Hike Title, Park Name, Region
- Table of
- Short description
- Features (can these be concatenated?)
- Directions (click through to bottom of page or Google coordinates)
- Park (click through to TC web page for Park page)
- Region (click through to Region page)
- Submitter (click through to table of submitters hikes) and Submission Date
- Photo and Map tabs are wonderful and should advertise for submissions. Could a slide show or gallery be clicked through to?
- Would like to have Comments and Ranking functions.