Online entry

6 May 2009

As many people who went to Weymouth know, the UKWA are gradually moving things online, including event entry. This is something of a housekeeping post, outlining the changes, but there are a few common questions that people have had that are worth reading about if you have questions as well.

It's especially important as the pre-entry deadline for Bridlington is next Friday, the 16th!

Please remember, for this year the traditional paper based (send a form to the office) method is still available.

Membership

The first step was to put membership online. As we are moving from paper to online, this involved a lot of copying out of accounting software to the online database. Although the information is not public, it is a necessary step in order for people to be able to enter and change their own details.

Those people who joined/renewed at the end of last year, (from mid-September onwards) are counted as members for 2009, and should have been sent an email. If you haven't received one, it's likely to be because we don't have a (valid) email address for you.

There are some improvements to make (especially for Family memberships), but this process seems to be working reasonably well now. Every member should have their own login. Even if you don't use it, it paves the way for:

  • Online entry (as membership is a requirement for entry).
  • Member profiles (or link to your own site).
  • Comments on articles.
  • Members posting articles.
  • Replacing the forum.

And anything else that you would want members to be able to do, but not anyone on the internet... ideas welcome.

The main drawback we're finding at the moment is that many people (about 10%) haven't provided valid email addresses.

Entry

Once people have a login, we can pick up a lot of details from that information, so you don't have to enter it again when entering. This is up and running, and quite a few people are pre-entering online.

There are a few improvements to make here, including:

  • Show when pre-entry has passed (i.e. one week before the event starts).
  • Allow a family member to enter any/all of their family at once (currently you can only enter as the person who is logged in).
  • Allow people to change their class on a per-event basis (currently it is saved with your membership)

The first is the most important, as there is an £5 additional charge for on-the-day entry. The last means extra work for the team on the day, unless people include their class in the 'notes' field when entering.

Overall

The driver for these changes is to:

  • Improve the online capability of the association.
  • Reduce the administrative overhead.
  • Improve safety, as number of entries relates to number of safety boats required.

Also, some events are using the Sailracer system (e.g. the RYA event later in the year), which is separate from this website (although we'll be working with Sailracer as the year progresses). These events are linked to via the listings, rather than the individual event page.

I hope this makes sense to everyone, but comments critisisms and questions are welcome either via email, the forum, or at an event.

-Alastair Campbell