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Illinois Marching Online
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Dan Balash

Results of the 2011 Illinois Marching Online Survey

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In October, we started a survey with 10 questions about the future of the site and things you, the user, like about the site and didn't like about the site.  Thanks to the 117 (!) people that responded, we have nailed down some very good ideas about where we're going to take the site next with additions that will be happening.

 

Here's some of the top responses that we received, and our responses:

 

Add video.

 

In process.  Mark has built an awesome video page that will be revealed shortly, and we've been working on adding YouTube videos to it.

 

What are the judges looking for?

 

We're working on a document that will be posted in a prominent place on the site that tries to explain what each judge working music, visual, and general effect look for.  Also in the plans is a slight change to each festival's page that will explain how the classifications are determined (band size/school size) and what each class breakdown is.  There will be another document posted (borrowed from various places) that will explain what the audience's role is watching the shows.

 

Post judge's comments about each show.

 

This probably won't be happening, unless we develop a good relationship with a number of directors/judges who don't mind letting the general public hear what is being said about their bands.  Plus, I only get so much bandwith from our website hosts, and I don't want to tank it on that.

 

Scores take too long to be posted.

 

We know.  However, we can only move as fast as the scores are sent to us on the forums, the score submission page, Facebook, Twitter, email, phone messages, and the like.  It can take as little as right after the show is over to get scores (I got a director's recap from Stagg as I was heading out-thanks Bob!, and Lake Park is great at getting scores/recaps posted immediately.), or it can take a couple of days. 

 

The color scheme on the site is not good.

 

Based on your complaints, we're changing that.  More information to come on this.

 

The site isn't updated in a timely manner, or some pages are a little bare.

 

True.  However, when you have 200+ bands in the database, this tends to be a problem.  Missing directors, broken links, no pictures.  Please send in your information to us by emailing us or using one of the submission pages, and we'll get the pages updated almost immediately.  Also, this is part of the reason we'll be looking for more staff.  More on this to come in the next few weeks/months.

 

 

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I also want to say thanks to everyone who took the survey. Every year we ask people to send us their ideas for the site, and we never get that big of a response. So what ends up happening is Dan and I sit down over the winter and come up with random stuff to do...not knowing if anyone will like them other than the 2 of us. Now that we have this survey, it gives us a good, concrete list of things to work on...which I am excited about (even if it means more code for me to write :) )

 

Some other items that came out of the survey:

 

We will be adding more usability features to the site. I hope to tie in the forum accounts with the main site, and allow you to save preferences about your experience. These might include a color scheme that loads when you log in, or how the festivals and scores are ordered, or even a "Highlight" section that shows you just the festivals/scores/band news about bands you care about. All of these are just free ideas that I'm working with, and I hope I can make something come out of the ideas. We will never require you to log in to see any content on the site...however we are hoping to encourage signing up for an account with these new changes.

 

We will be reworking the design and flow of the site. The wordpress articles will hopefully look nicer than just a bunch of text...and hopefully there will be more of them! A lot of the design flaws right now are because of my lack of experience with CSS and other styling aspects of webdesign. I have been practicing, and I hope to maybe get another person who actually knows that stuff to help me out. That being said, expect some downtime of the entire site during the offseason, as there will be a lot of changes rolling out.

 

Again...thank you for using the site, and for submitting so many comments. We love having such a large and passionate user base. That is what makes working on this site so amazing. So thanks!!!

 

~Mark

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