Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Our new website

Welcome to our new website. This isn't completely finished yet, but whilst we add the finishing touches we're inviting people to try it out and tell us what they think. Everything should work, and all the material found on the old website should be available on the new one.

We'd like you to tell us what you think. We're interested in hearing general comments as well as reports of any particular problems or errors you encounter. Did you find this site easy to use? Could you easily find the information you were looking for? Do you think it looks nice?

You can add your comments below or if you prefer simply send an email to the web officer, Nigel Deakin, at webmaster@ctc-cambridge.org.uk

Why do we need a new website?

The single most important reason for building a new website is to support mobile phones (and other small devices) properly. More and more people are using phones to access the web, and they are expecting websites to work just as well on a small screen as it does on a desktop.

Our old website did support mobile phones, but not very well. Some parts of the site (notably the monthly rides lists) didn't work at all, and whilst all our ride reports were readable on a mobile, there was no index of ride reports to allow readers to find them.

The new website has been designed to support all sizes of display right from the start, and every single feature of the website, every single page, will work equally well on a mobile as on a desktop. This is ideal for active, outdoor types like cyclists who want to spend as little time sitting at a computer as possible...

The new website has a more spacious look and feel. The text is larger and we've increased the space between the text and photos to make it seem less "busy". This seems to be the direction that websites are going these days (in part it is a side-effect of supporting any size of display), and we hope that the result looks a bit more modern and up to date. We are very conscious that our website is the most important promotional tool the club has, and first impressions matter!

We've made it easier to make comments. Although the old website did allow you to make comments on ride reports, few people actually made use of it and some members told us that it was difficult to use.

The new website allows us to invite comments on any web page where we choose to allow it (such as this one), not just ride reports. And we've switched to using Facebook as the commenting system. We know that a large number of our members already use Facebook and will be already signed-in to Facebook when visiting this site. This means that it will be really, really easy for those people to make comments. We've also provided some Tips on making comments.

We know that some people are a little suspicious of Facebook and are worried about it tracking what they do on the web. These people needn't worry: you need to opt in to seeing Facebook comments. Unless you explicitly opt in (using the Page comments control page - there's a link at the bottom of every page that allows comments) nothing will be sent to Facebook.

In case you're wondering what has happened to the old comments: we're planning to move these across later.

The new website is secure. We now support HTTPS, which is the technical web protocol that ensures that all the data sent between your browser and this website is encrypted.
Your browser will usually show this by displaying a padlock icon next to our web address.

Encryption is essential for websites which send or receive sensitive information such as credit card numbers, passwords or personal information, but is unnecessary for our site, which doesn't involve any of these. However HTTPS is increasingly becoming more and more common, and browsers will soon start giving warnings whenever you visit a website that doesn't use it.
We don't want people to be put off visiting our site because their browser describes it as "not secure". In addition, websites that don't use HTTPS are likely to be given less prominence in search rankings. So we need to change to HTTPS. It's what modern websites need to do. And we've done it!

And finally we've dropped the hyphen. Instead of ctc-cambridge.org.uk, with that annoying hyphen that is hard to type in when using an on-screen keyboard,
our new website is simply ctccambridge.org.uk

The old website still works...for now

For a limited period our new website and our old one are running in parallel. The new website is at ctccambridge.org.uk whilst our old website remains at ctc-cambridge.org.uk (with the hyphen). When we're ready to move completely to the new website (probably around Christmas 2017) we'll switch off the old one. However links which use the old address will (mostly) continue to work: you'll simply end up on the new site.

Nigel Deakin, web officer
November 2017

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