Hey Everyone! Kyle here this week to give you a little peek into what we have coming down the pipeline for updates to the website, and a bit of new/clarifying info about conferences.
First, some things are getting an overhaul. Now that we’ve had some time for people to really grapple with the site and it’s functionality, we’ve collected a lot of feedback and have a lot of thoughts of our own. I wanted to give you all a taste of what we are working on from a tech standpoint, and some of the things we are focused on while making those improvements. We are still working on the final timeline for these to go live, but I didn’t want to wait to share some of this stuff.
Here is what is getting addressed in the next round of site updates:
One of the biggest things we’ve heard over the last few months, and even more so now that Events are live is that we have a lot of room to improve the way Judges get notified of things happening around the site. We have created a list of just about everything we could think of that someone could possibly want to be notified about, and are building a way for users to opt-in/out of those notifications from their profile page.
Inevitably we have forgotten something or will come up with new and exciting things that people may want to be notified about. With that in mind we are making sure to build this in such a way that adding options to this will be fairly easy for us. So when the time comes if you think we’re missing something you want to be notified about let us know and we will do our best to make it happen.
I think it’s fair to say that the User Search on the Judge Academy site is… bad? real bad? That might be a little harsh, but I think it’s safe to say we have a lot we can fix here. We are greatly expanding the criteria you can search by, the way the results are displayed, and how you can sort/filter those results.
One thing I want to point out that we’ve seen a lot is that Judges sometimes are having a hard time finding other specific Judges using the User Search. One of the reasons this is a challenge is Judge’s Privacy settings on their account. If a user chooses to hide parts of their profile (such as their Name), this will impact people’s ability to search for them. This will continue to be true once these updates happen. That might sound obvious to some, but I think it’s fair to say that people are often cautious when it comes to what information is available and displayed. We are looking at different ways to make it more obvious the impact that hiding different aspects of your profile has on your overall experience with the Judge Academy website.
We have a lot of big plans for your Profile page. Our ultimate goal is for your Profile page to be a place for you to promote yourself as a Judge and ultimately be a tool in your arsenal to help you get staffed at events. That said, what we have now is pretty far from what I would want to be showing off to others as a way to sell myself. Because of that, we’re doing a bit of tidying up before going too deep on major changes.
A lot of what you can find on your profile today is going to move around, move to tabs, or be removed entirely to help clean up that page, and allow for others to more effectively leave a Review or Endorsement, or even share your profile page with others. Once there is a little more clarity to the presentation of your Profile page, we will start work on ways for you to customize your Profile page so that you can have more control over how that page is presented to others. We are not looking to become a Social Media site, but we do want to give you as many tools as possible to help you stand out among a sea of other applicants to an event.
A few weeks ago I made a post on our Forums asking for feedback. We’ve taken that feedback along with some of our own and are going over the Forums top to bottom to help improve people’s experience with them, as well as our ability to better organize and create Forums for Judges who want to do cool stuff there.
There’s not a lot to say about this one, except that we’ve heard your feedback and it’s coming.
With Events going live a few weeks ago we’ve gotten a ton of feedback and have been making improvements every day to a ton of the fine details about this part of the website. There are so many little tweaks that we’ve made to various things that I’m not going to list them all here. I do want to thank everyone who has provided their feedback and worked with us to help troubleshoot issues. If you ever hit a roadblock with the Events system and are not sure how to do the thing you want please reach out to us on Discord. the Contact Us form, or by Emailing directly. This goes for Organizers and Applicants alike. This is one of the more complicated parts of the Judge Academy website, and we are very focused on making it as easy as possible to create, find, and apply for events.
This one isn’t a tech update, but it didn’t feel like it was a big enough thing to merit it’s own update. We have a couple things we want to clarify for people who are running conferences. One of the things we’ve noticed is that there isn’t a clear timeline for when things should be happening around planning conferences. So in that vein, we are setting a deadline for ourselves, and a deadline for conference organizers.
Once a conference is submitted to our Conference Request Form you will hear back one way or another no more than 14 days from when it is submitted. It may not be with the final yes/no for conference support, but we wanted to set an expectation so that you are not left hanging without any feedback or info about the conference you submitted. We will also start asking that conferences cutoff registration 21 days from the date of their conference. This is to allow us time to finalize the support needed and get the support to the conference in time for it to be distributed. We will be monitoring this pretty closely, as we don’t want Judges to miss out on a conference because they registered too late, but we still need to ensure we have enough time to get stuff to the conference being sponsored.
Lastly, we are adjusting a little bit the distribution of Promos for Conferences. Level 3s who attend conferences provide a huge benefit, regardless of the role they have at the conference. They often are providing a level of insight and experience while contributing to discussions or presentations beyond that of your average attendee. With that in mind, we will provide an extra Promo pack to L3s at conferences to recognize this contribution. Aside from that, we’ve already been sending an extra Promo pack for the person who is managing the conference on site. This is intended to recognize the effort and coordination it takes to keep the conferences moving during the day. We just haven’t published that as part of the Promo sponsorship for Conferences.
Aside from the one that we’ve been doing already, all of these changes will go into effect for Conferences starting in March. This will allow us some time to catch up responding to conferences still awaiting approvals, and allow Organizers to adjust their planning. Conferences that are already less than 21 days away we will work with and make sure they are still taken care of.