Friday, 21 May 2010

New Colour-Coding

Along with reorganisation of the Members' Area I have given the site a good spring clean. There were far too many confusing colours and far too many words. I'm gradually tightening up the wordiness. Much of the redundant stuff stems from a time when the Internet was fairly new to many people and browsers didn't have cursors that turned into pointing fingers. Nowadays, people really don't need to be told that "if you click here you will be taken to a page where you will find...". It's now fairly obvious what buttons are for!

Interesting to see how the language has evolved too since the site went up. The word e-mail with a hyphen is beginning to look very dated so I'm changing these to email. Whether to log in or to log on with a login name or a log-in name is another source of inconsistency. I'm settling for login as a noun or adjective and to log on as a verb.

As for the colour-coded buttons, they seemed a good idea at the time but are now merely irritating and confusing so I've rationalised and simplified them. Traffic-light colours are all very well in food packaging, but here they just looked garish. Anything clickable is now in sky blue (except on the homepage). That way, it's easy to see at a glance what's a link and what's not.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

New Members' Area is Live

The new members' area is now live. It's pretty self-explanatory, but if anyone has any problems they should contact me.

I have imported everyone's existing passwords into the new system. Those who didn't already have a password have been given new passwords that they can ask to have emailed to them. Once logged in, they can change their password by following the instructions.

Login names (formerly Usernames on this site) are now real names where possible — e.g. Ludwig van Beethoven — so are easy to remember. Only alphanumeric characters are allowed, and the names must be unique. So far, however, we haven't had two members with the same name.

A big vote of thanks to the team at Interlogy for making it all possible.

Monday, 17 May 2010


Construction of a new Members' Area on this site is almost complete and is undergoing testing at present. We have also redesigned all the various membership and advertising forms to make them more attractive and easier to use. Some of these are already in place and in use.

The existing database of members' profiles has been imported into the new system. The new database-driven system makes it possible for all members to make their own instantly implementable changes to their profiles as often as they like. They can now change their passwords and retrieve them automatically if they lose them.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Adding Interactivity to the Site

I have long since wanted to make it possible for members to create and update their own profiles on the website and to change their log-ins and passwords for our Members' Area automatically without having to go through me first. Another thing on my wish list is a "lost password" facility that works automatically.

Every six months or so I spend a day or two looking for a solution, but until now all I managed to find were:
  • compromise solutions that are not flexible or customisable enough for our needs and, for this reason, are actually less good than what we already have.
  • cheap solutions that would do the job well but require programming skills that are technically beyond my capabilities.
  • excellent solutions that provide exactly what we need and more, but are far too expensive to even consider. 
However, I think I may now have found something that fits the bill, and I will be testing it over the next week. If it does what I hope it will do, there will be a fair amount of reorganisation of the Members' Area and the members' listings. The messaging part of DepList will not be affected in any way, since that's an entirely separate part of the service.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Minimum rates

For information, the following fees are minimum chorus rates (for the year 2009–2010, as of June 2009) recommended by Equity for classical public concerts. Fees include a three-hour rehearsal on the day of the concert:
  • 37 singers or more:    £108.50 
  • 25–36 singers:    £112.50 
  • 17–24 singers:    £116.00 
  • 11–16 singers:    £124.50 
  • 10 singers or fewer:    £154.00 
  • Overtime – Per 15 minutes or part:    £15.50 
  • Extra rehearsals – Per three-hour session or part:   £60.00