The MHA would like to improve its member directory and lay the groundwork for future enhancements to its online member services.Â The purpose of this document is to define the scope and specifics of the project so that we can gather feedback, request proposals from web developers, and move towards implementation.Â The project would ideally be discussed during January of 2013, implemented during February or March of 2013, and then tested, published, and presented to the membership during the annual meeting in April of 2013.
- Preserve all current functionality: full members listings with all pertinent information and means of direct contact, color-coded distinction of MHA certified masons, ability to sort by location and alphabetically, and link to list of MHA certified masons.
- Modernize the directory by incorporating it into new overall graphic design and explore ways of improving legibility.
- Allow for presenting useful subsets of the member list: eg. MHA certified, Manufacturers (and masonry heater builders, bake oven builders).Â This would eliminate necessity to maintain separate pages and separate databases.
- Introduce search/sort capability.Â It would be ideal to be able to search based on a user-indicated location and return a list of members in order of proximity.Â Details about how best this would work: eg. using postal codes, a map with regions, showing certified members first, etc. need to be further discussed. It would be nice to be able to lead in to this search from other parts of the website also.
- Introduce analytics.Â This is an import page of the website that does not have analytics code associated with it.Â It would be very useful to learn more about the public’s use of this page.
- Consideration of administrators’ workflow and current information management are a must as well as documentation and training for administrator and webmasters.Â The process for administrator to add/edit members must be streamline.Â Members who no longer pay dues should not be deleted but added to “inactive” list in case they need to be reinstated at a later date.
Possible additions in a future phase to be considered in implementation:
- Allowing for member maintenance of their own information.Â Associating a username and password with each member’s information actually opens up many other possibilities also.Â There are many pros and cons to this which should be discussed. One big pro is that it takes the burden of updating member information off of the administrator and would likely encourage the most up-to-date information.Â As mentioned, it would also create the groundwork for many interesting possibilities such as generating member-only content, member-only voting, etc.Â At the same time, Cons include possible need to approve all updates, added complexity, technical support requirements, etc.
- The possibility of having a “more” view for a member that would show their logo, a featured image, and a longer descrciption.
- Create single-view member pages that would show all of one memberâ€™s information on its own page.Â The utility of this is debatableâ€¦ probably most useful for those who do not have websites or who do not have good visibility.Â It should be quite easy using a template and is only really relevant if the previous feature is implemented.
Features for the horizon:
These are features that will likely not be implemented now due to budget/timeframe constraints but are worthy of consideration for in planning and architecture when implementing this project.
- Incorporating MHA Certified Heater Mason information into basic member information structure.
- Distinguishing between full, associate and possibly other categories of members in order to be able to allow voting only by full members for example.
- Revenue generating Classifieds section that would allow manufacturer and non-manufacturer members to post ads for products, surplus materials, etc.