A standing desire expressed by many in CCA's Safety and Seamanship Committee has been to improve and expand our online presence. While initial gains were made within the context of our website upgrade, it's been correctly pointed out that tastes and technology have continued to advance and our materials should keep pace.
Various official, unofficial, and ad hoc committees have contemplated these issues and offered suggestions. Over the last year, Ernie Godschalk, Andrew McTavish, Michael Moradzadeh and others have exchanged ideas and formulated an approach where:
- Existing articles would be reviewed, edited, and made stylistically consistent
- Material would be posted in a manner that makes items far easier to share on social media and access by mobile devices
- "Eye chart" index pages of documents would be dropped in favor of visually appealing presentations and searchable databases of materials, with most current or pressing items highlighted and updated with reasonable frequency.
This new, stand-alone website for sailors' resources is a part of that effort. It is in development and being expanded every day (almost). It has several features we hope will be useful and meet our goals:
- Built on the latest (version 8) web management software.
- Premium (purchased) template gives us slicker visual appearance AND looks good on phones and tablets. The vendor can provide additional support and services if required.
- For now, four major categories of offerings to boaters
- Articles: Assets like our white papers, safety moments, and general advice
- Publications: Links to various current books available that relate to these topics
- Courses: Must be maintained, but a listing of courses. We'll probably handle registration through this site as well, when they are CCA courses
- Links: A curated set of links to other sites. Not only is this a service to our site visitors, it works to improve our search engine visibility.
- Sample content in the first two categories has been entered.
- Articles have "comment" options. Comments are enabled through a robust platform called "Disqus," which enables a single login across multiple sites and is used by millions.
- Facebook and other social media share options will be enabled
- Articles will be available in multiple formats: Web, PDF, and (new for CCA) e-book formats like Kindle for folks to load onto their devices for later reference. Larry Glen is investigating the most effective way to do this.
- Unlike our main CCA website, this site does not require (or particularly allow) people to "sign in", except for those individuals doing site maintenance or contributions. That's changeable, of course, if the need arises.
- Each contribution has one or more pictures. These get used to illustrate the content and to visually tag the item in various lists.
- Of course, full credit, with contact information if desired, to each contributor.
Structurally, the site has its scaffolding up, but various features are being spun up before adding in, such as a "similar topics" block (easy on the old site, hard on the new one).
Your comments or suggestions are welcome.
Presenting our materials more effectively