Month: August 2010

Website of the month – 2010-August

UmErYouKnow.com Toastmasters Club Website for the Months for 2010-August … And the award goes to

Voice of Burtonsville Toastmasters club!
( burtonsville.freetoasthost.ws/index.html)

This is a freetoasthost site and come with the default navigation, which is normally easy to use.
Reviewing a freetoasthost is quite different than reviewing a free-form Toastmasters club website.

Here are some comments and suggestions about this great club website.

One of the best things is that the default home page is not used.

It might be good to move the “About Us” link higher in the menu. On the About Us page itself: the paragraphs are laid out more like citations than text with the first line indented. I don’t see any benefit to that. The centering looks a bit off on the top 2 items.

From the Membership Information page, the link to “visit a meeting’ goes to the directions page. It would be better if the destination page included meeting time and frequency.

The link to the District 36 website takes the browser away from your website – it would be better to open a new tab/window so the user stays on your site. This is the same for several external links, check ALL links in the site for this.

The page “Why Should I Join the Voice of Burtonsville?” had a stern feel to me. It is not as upbeat and welcoming as other parts of the site. Perhaps a friendly image and some statement about ‘going at your own pace’ might soften it.

The “Moments of Enjoyment …” page is pretty bare and could use a better layout. If you only have 1 statement and 2 links, the page needs to be laid out with some images to make it appear more interesting. Perhaps a thumbnail from each the items linked to.

On “Meet our members” it might be better to remove empty listings than to just list a name “no photo available”

Club news forum is a great idea, interactive and with meeting notes. It seems that there have been no updates since June, that is a concern, and may be a concern to prospective guests.

The link to Area 5 is a great idea. I checked the other clubs and none for them has a reciprocal link – that might be a good thing to check into with those clubs. Also, the upcoming speech contest could be highlighted.

Overall, I like this freetoasthost website and congratulate Burtonsville Toastmasters on their efforts.

OtherWinners:

Comparing the New “new CL” to the old “new CL”


<– Rev 5/2010 / Rev 2006 …

 
As usual, CL evaluators are directed to “read the project carefully before the meeting”. The fact is, unless you have a rev: 5/2010 CL manual you will be seeing the evaluation questions for each role for the first time when someone hands you a new CL manual.

How are you handling getting all in your club ready to be effective CL evaluators?

What I mean is, how are you handling this?
Many older members may have only used the older CL manual (Revision: 2006) and may have only seen it as evaluator and never owned it and read it because they did an “Old CL”

Do you NEED to bother to do anything?

The main changes apparent to me in content of the 5/2010 Cl manual:

1. Reduction of the introduction text for each project. Well, it take less time to read the project now! Some project introductions have been reduced by as much as 80%.

2. Elimination of the “Practice In Your Club” section in every project which had that section in Revision: 2006 (another change which that makes reading the project carefully” take less time)

3. Evaluation/Feedback format:
Change to a set of three to four questions for a role which are scored by circling 1,2 or 3 ( 1=Needs Work, 2=Average and 3=Outstanding) followed by 1-2 questions in small italic font to be answered by essay.
These 1-2-3 score questions and essay questions are often significantly different from the Revision 2006 CL manual. Some are improved. Some are big improvements from Revision: 2006

4. A much better and better positioned tracking sheet (near the front of the manual)
17 minutes ago

Toastmasters Website of the Month: July 2010

Um Er You Know presents the Toastmasters Club Website of the Month award for 2010-July to ….

https://www.starsearchtm.org

This is a quality website for a quality club. The site deserves this award because it has some great examples of how to do things right. Below are some comments and suggestions for consideration to make the site even better – at least better in my opinion! Please feel free to comment below ….

***** Good stuff: I like the organization and layout of the site, the navigation is easy to find and use and is consistent throughout the site.

Tinkering:
– Homepage link: “to learn more about Toastmasters International, click here” – the “click here” link directs to a different website. You might want to have this link open a new window/tab so that users do not leave your site. The same is true for the “Club Status” link in the navigation menu.

– Images: More images throughout the site would make the site more appealing. Best would be authorized images of members of your club “in action.”

– Inconsistent type size: On your sample agenda page, the first section ( President 7:00) is a smaller font size than the rest.

When I mouseover the menu buttons, the white font on blue background is barely visible, a darker color for mouseover would be better.

🙁 🙁 Broken Links:
– On the Officers list page the names are links, but nothing happens when they are clicked on. Either make the links work in all browsers or removed the link formatting.
– On the Gallery the first link (in 2009) goes to a page which no longer exists

**** Usability
— For the members area, it would be better to have a regular web page to log in (rather than a little pop-up window) because when I’m unable to log in (click cancel), it takes me to a “page not found”. Same with the Videos link – but this is more important since people without a login may try “Videos” and get trapped.

**** Readability/Accessibility (14/15) –Your “Guests” page is a little disorganized. Perhaps adding details about visiting, proving “prospective members” with the application, etc. would be good. Very helpful would be a separate FAQ page for all of the answers to other questions.

*** Appearance/delivery
– Freshness issues – The top banner looks like it was made with a simple paint program. You could get a graphic designer to make a snappy one for $5 on an outsourcing website and make it look more professional/attractive.
– Originality – This website looks pretty standard and straightforward. It’s great in that it is easy to navigate and use, but by adding a few images and perhaps a subtle background style it could be made more visually provocative and appealing.

Language
***** I like that the site uses language which makes it feel very friendly and easy to read. The grammar and spelling looks great.

**** Overall a well designed, easy to use website. Could be a bit more “spicy/jazzy” and what it does it does well.

Nominate your club website or a club website you like for the next Toastmaster Club Website of the Month!

Other Winners: