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Houston, Texas

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is a Paddle America Club

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HomeNL-2015-07 Web Site Changes

Web Site Changes
June 2015
by John Rich
The HCC Board has undertaken a project to update the Houston Canoe Club web site.  There are web pages that don't look right, pages that aren't as appealing as they could be, web links that are dead, and information that is out of date.  With the June Board meeting, the board of directors began to review the web site, debate it, propose changes, and vote upon what to do about it.  Here is a summary of the changes that have been made so far.
Home page 

The first change was to remove the 50th Anniversary logo.  It is wonderful, but that anniversary was last year and is now over.  The anniversary logo is redundant with the regular club logo at the top of the page, and it takes up a lot of space.  So we've removed it.  The 50th anniversary l
ogo is still featured on the "Club History" web page, and is available in the image database anytime we need it.
Second, notice on the "before" image, below, that the ACA logo also takes up a lot of space.  This page consists of two columns: a narrow column on the left has the index, and below that the ACA logo.  The wide column on the right contains our home page content.  Because the ACA logo was wider than the index bar, it left a band of empty white space to the right of the index column that was unusable, as indicated by the red X's.  As an ACA group member, we are contractually obligated to display their logo and web link.  But checking their logo usage guidebook, there is nothing that says what size it has to be.  So we downsized the ACA logo so that its width matches that of the Index.  This eliminates that empty white space, and allows our home page content to expand into that area.  And since the vertical index bar is a constant on every page, this width expansion is of benefit to every other page also, beyond just the home page.
Third, Terri Morgan rewrote the introduction to describe the club and its members in a warm and inviting way.
And fourth, since the slideshow is now no longer squished in to the left by the 50th anniversary logo, we made it larger to display the photos better and make the page more visually impressive.  These photos will be changed periodically to keep them different over time, and can consist of any photo album loaded on the club web site.  If you have a favorite, let us now and we'll feature it.
Before     After
The HCC Facebook page has also been updated with the new introductory message, which you can see here.  So the Club Express web site and the Facebook web site are once again in synch with each other.  The old version of the introductory message had long ago scrolled out of view, pushed downward by newer messages, leaving visitors with no greeting or description of the club.  This new message is "pinned", which means it will stay at the top for visitors to see, and will not get pushed out of view.  
"Vendors and Outfitters" page

Frank Ohrt reviewed this page and found that may of the entries were out of date.  Some commercial entries were out of business, some web page addresses were no longer valid, some vendors no longer rented boats, and so forth.  Furthermore, it could be confusing because some vendors were also outfitters, but only appeared in one or the other category.  So Frank undertook the effort to validate all the entries and get them up to date.  A button link has been added at the bottom of the updated page, which takes you to the old list and format, if there is still something useful for you there. 

   Before    After
"Conservation" page
The conservation page is a list of web links to conservation organizations, and it contained several entries which had nothing to do with conservation.  One entry was a duplicate with an entry already on the Resources page, so it was eliminated from the conservation page.  The other non-conservation entry was relocated to the Resources page.  And it seems like there are more conservation organizations than this in the Houston area, so if you know of something else that should be added here, let me know and I'll add it.  Note that we're trying to concentrate on local and state organizations that are related to water resources, not national organizations or those unrelated to paddling.
Index    Before     After
• "River Rats" page
Under the "Resources" link there was a line item called "River Rats".  That term doesn't have any meaning to most people, so we've changed the name to "Miscellaneous Links", as that's what the page contains.  Like the other categories above, it has been cleaned up with the removal of dead links.  A button link to the prior "River Rats" page is provided if that is still of any use to you.
Index    Before    After
• "Instructors" page
Like the other pages, there were many entries here that were out of date.  Frank Ohrt did the leg work to find out who was current, and what local instructors exist.  And then Terri Morgan updated the web page with Frank's updated data.  
Index     After
That's it for now!  More changes are in the works, so you can expect to see the web site updated further in coming months.  We also have a new webmaster pending, and when she gets onboard, she will be able to update the site with more technical changes.  I hope to introduce this new volunteer to you next month.  Stay tuned, let us know what you think, and if you have any suggestions let your board members know!

The author, John Rich