Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Inland paddling
User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Fri Aug 10, 2012 1:55 am

To leave this thread looking a bit more positive, here is the draft of the t shirt design.

Image

We can't do fancy websites obviously, but you have to admit, that is going to be a cool t shirt.

User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:01 am

Oh and you heard it here first, the theme for Saturday night is the Olympics (it had to be really, didn't it?)

Get the tin foil out and start making your medals!

User avatar
geyrfugl
Posts: 1271
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:57 pm
Location: Barnard Castle

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by geyrfugl » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:39 am

I think you would be spot on in saying we don't have any volunteers on the committee that can do this sort of stuff.
Can you confirm that the online booking is delegated to an outside organisation ? If so, I suspect that fixing the system will be a lot harder than fixing a system to which you have full admin access, but replacing it with such a system would be vastly more work :-(
Online sales are used so that we can sort as much stuff out before the event as possible.
Very much so - it's an excellent idea which I fully support, but if a system doesn't work when you have someone stood in front of you, you can usually sort something out. When it's a faceless computer, late at night, with no-one to contact for immediate support, it makes the whole thing infinitely frustrating.
'team of idiots?' I'm sure the guys that have been involved with wet west for years just feel so warm and fuzzy inside when they hear this stuff.
I was specifically referring to the software people, who, it would appear, aren't anything to do with SCA. I apologise if any SCA volunteer feels aggrieved by this characterisation of that part of the process... I guess it's just a strung out line of communication from frustrated end users via intermediaries to the website people. "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance" and all that...

However, even if SCA can't do the software and must delegate, it would be helpful if they did, or found a volunteer to do, some testing of the process, with various different browsers on various different machines, and various different likely usage scenarios, including groups with under-16s, mixed membership profiles, and so on. Such volunteers would not need to be techies - indeed the system has to work for people who aren't IT gurus - but having someone with IT expertise who could better characterise the issues with the provider would probably help, too. If you're fixing a problem, it helps to get good reports saying exactly what happened, why it's wrong, and what would have been correct. Which would, in turn, only be useful if there was a channel for such a tester to get the issues fixed. My feedback last year drew attention to similar issues, and it does seem that some effort has been made to address those, but no-one got in touch with me to ask for more details about the issues I experienced, which is suggestive of a less than perfect quality assurance process. The rule which works well in open-source software is that if someone reports a fault, include them in the process of getting it fixed, so you get to find out if the issue really has been addressed (and may find out about new ones).
If anyone does have the expertise (or just wants to help out in general) and would like to join the committee then we would LOVE to have you on board.
I suspect that I don't have the expertise to set up a booking system from scratch, and your provider may not welcome help (or even want to deal with a small client with increasingly difficult requirements), but I am more than happy to provide additional feedback on what did and didn't work, what a better system would look like. My expertise is in making faults reproducible, documenting what I did to make a fault happen, and so on. Simply setting up a fault-reporting system via a link on the booking page would be a good start - that way at least you would start to see how many people were having problems, know if you were actually losing bookings and so on. Since the link could be back to SCA's own site, that is something which would be easier to set up without needing to ask for changes on the provider booking system. Armed with feedback from a bigger sample of users, it would be easier to take the issues back to the booking people. Who knows, maybe they are losing customers from other events they serve and would find the feedback useful...
The committee will be looking into paypal for next year's events.
It's a useful alternative, but not everyone uses (or trusts) it. And paypal doesn't work well with all browsers, either, and you have no chance of getting that fixed :-(

Another suggestion, which wouldn't save you quite as much work, but would at least get the bookings in advance so the work was shifted away from the weekend of the event would be to provide a downloadable booking form, which people could send in by post, making it easier to book for groups all with one payment.
If anyone has any troubles then why not email the SCA direct?
A link to do just that from any (or possibly all?) of the booking pages would probably be useful in getting you better feedback. On the other hand, you might just prefer to get feedback a while later when users have had time to be less frustrated and provide a more considered description of the problems :-) I do realise that providing an email address on a website is asking to get a load of spam, so I can sympathise with not wanting to make this too obvious :-(
But I get the jist, it's a bit unreliable.
Yes. But "a bit unreliable" manifests as working fine for a lot of people, and simply not working at all for a few. If it was just averagely a bit unreliable for everyone, maybe that would not seem so bad !

I hope some of the above will be seen as constructive and not just volunteer-bashing - I really would rather see an easy-to-use system than make anyone feel bad about what you already have which undoubtedly works OK for a large subset of potential paddlers.

PM me if you want my email address to include me in the ongoing process of improving your booking system - the ones I used during the booking process are purely temporary ones.

Andy

User avatar
janet brown
Posts: 786
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 9:15 am
Location: Pulborough, West Sussex

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by janet brown » Fri Aug 10, 2012 11:01 am

I have followed Andy's comments with my mouth open. I try and read through e-mails/posts etc before sending and perhaps sleeping on it, especially if alcohol is involved: helps for making and keeping friends!
We went to WWPF for the first time last year, and had a great time. We both booked individually (husband happily booked for himself, then left me to sort myself out!). It wasn't a problem at all.

I don't understand your comments about entering credit card number in blocks of four with gaps: in my rather extensive experience of shopping online, the card number has always been entered as a 16-digit number without gaps. Yes, its difficult to check, but when you live in rural Sussex, usually much easier than having to drive miles to get something!

The team were amazing, and made us feel very welcome, although we are certainly not Moriston paddlers yet! Thanks to James in particular for making sure we were shuttled to the easier section of the Moriston. Won't be coming this year as have another opportunity to go to Scotland later on, and can't afford holiday and diesel twice :-(
Hopefully we can come again another year, and maybe be able to paddle both rivers to the full!

Janet

User avatar
blackgold
Posts: 225
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:32 pm

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by blackgold » Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:05 pm

" play the ball not the player", i.e. deal with the issues and stop making personal attacks on the person

User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Fri Aug 10, 2012 3:15 pm

As its so close to the event how about I look into it in September.

Sounds like a lot of work and we should probably concentrate on other issues for the moment .

dave4423
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by dave4423 » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:19 pm

Andy,

You obviously have far too much time on you hands. Just leave these poor guys alone - IMHO they do a fantastic job and get enough flak about minor organisational points from several quarters. Frankly they could do without your sniping. Just man up and get over it.

Dave

User avatar
Natalie
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Natalie » Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:06 am

I've just tried getting my ticket and it came up "service unavailable". I will try again later but I seem to remember online tickets are only available until the 13th August so I hope the technical glitch is sorted before then. If it's not I'll just buy on the door so no biggie.
Can't wait.

User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:01 pm

Natalie, I believe the SCA site was down. It seems to be back up now so give it a go :) If you still have problems give me a PM and I'll see what I can do for you.

the final T shirt design
Image

User avatar
Natalie
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Natalie » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:16 pm

Thanks Mark,
Just got my ticket :) No problem at all this evening.

User avatar
geyrfugl
Posts: 1271
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:57 pm
Location: Barnard Castle

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by geyrfugl » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:28 pm

I don't understand your comments about entering credit card number in blocks of four with gaps
Actually, that's an incredibly common complaint, I've heard it from lots of people - and WWPF is certainly not an exception in being less than perfect here. But it's something incredibly simple to get right if the site designers have given it any thought... No, it doesn't stop anyone from booking, but it is one of those things that give designers a bad name. Like slippery surfaces on cars with roof racks, so you slip off trying to tie your boats on in the rain. A easy fix if designed in, but designers haven't considered that use case.

Anyway, my background is in Software Quality Assurance - my attitude is always that perfection is the minimum standard, and once you have achieved what was initially defined as perfection, you need to be getting on working hard to find improvements... That is just input to a process where someone else then evaluates costs and benefits, usually deciding that some approaches to perfection can't be achieved, other things MUST be fixed at whatever cost, and other things should be fixed because they are easy. The QA job is simply to point out the faults, which is what I do well. Usually it's my job to put systems under stress and try hard to break them deliberately by finding corner cases and looking at things from an entirely different angle from the people who set things up. Because some subset of your users always will have ideas very different from the designers. I should stress that I was not trying to break the system in this case - just trying to book some tickets ! However, I do start with high expectations. When I find faults that make a site look bad, I will ALWAYS try to report them (directly and quietly, if the site provides a problem report link), and characterise them by the level of frustration they cause to a real user. It's really hard to get ordinary users to provide this sort of feedback - that's why Software QA engineers are well paid !
Andy, You obviously have far too much time on you hands.
No, I don't. That's why it is so frustrating when it takes three hours just to book three tickets. But there's a saying "if you want a job done in a hurry, give it to someone who is very busy".

Andy

Rdscott
Posts: 1209
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:53 pm
Location: Huddersfield

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Rdscott » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:55 pm

geyrfugl

If it were any other web site or shop i would agree but the whole point of wet west paddlefest is to get peopleout bouting and to promote kayaking and access. The guys who run this run an excelent weekend year in and year out, and at £15 for a fullweekend and a free t-shirt with river shuttles and parties costs alot of money to runimsure the profit margins are minimal if not non existant,imsure that saving a few £ here and there on websites that isnt the main focus of the weekend can be forgiven if it means that much to you buy a ticket on the door.

and as for your comments about perfection.
geyrfugl wrote:
Anyway, my background is in Software Quality Assurance - my attitude is always that perfection is the minimum standard, and once you have achieved what was initially defined as perfection, you need to be getting on working hard to find improvements.y
I find this quite rediculous, If you can look for or find somthing to prove your initial standard was not perfection, it was mearly acceptable,if it were perfect you would be wasting your time looking forthings to improve.

A Definition of Perfect fromthe new oxford dictionary.

Perfect> 1.Having all the required or desired elements, Qualities or charcteristics: as good as it can possibly be.


User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:06 am

Personally, I would like to thank Andy for keeping WWPF at the top of the page and in the public eye. Hopefully a few more people know about wet west now. 1st pints on me. ;)

Remember to get your tickets while they are still cheap!

User avatar
geyrfugl
Posts: 1271
Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:57 pm
Location: Barnard Castle

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by geyrfugl » Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:21 am

Perfect> 1.Having all the required or desired elements, Qualities or charcteristics: as good as it can possibly be.
Requirements change. Situations develop leading to new desired elements. Perceptions of "as good as it can possibly be" go out of date. We've just been lumbered with the Olympics - are World records not just about "as good as it can possibly be" being redefined ?

User avatar
Natalie
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 1:12 pm

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Natalie » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:14 pm

Andy, You obviously have far too much time on you hands.
No, I don't. That's why it is so frustrating when it takes three hours just to book three tickets. But there's a saying "if you want a job done in a hurry, give it to someone who is very busy".

Andy[/quote]

It took me about three minutes- and that's just through an orange dongle which isn't even powerful enough for me to download youtube videos. I don't understand your comment about the spaces. When I got my ticket yesterday a little message came up saying don't include spaces between the numbers so it was easy to know how to fill in the box.

Maybe I'll see you at the WWPF. It's always nice to meet opinionated people with alternative views. No doubt the WWPF will be worth the three hours it took for you to get tickets :)

dave4423
Posts: 41
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:38 pm

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by dave4423 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 4:44 pm

geyrfugl wrote:
Andy, You obviously have far too much time on you hands.
No, I don't. That's why it is so frustrating when it takes three hours just to book three tickets. But there's a saying "if you want a job done in a hurry, give it to someone who is very busy".

Andy
The length and number of your replies rather suggest otherwise.

User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:36 pm

Cheap tickets on sale til 1pm tomorrow. After then, it's full price.

http://regonline.activeeurope.com/wetwestpaddlefest2012

User avatar
NW3
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:58 am

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by NW3 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:50 pm

the ticket and payment system works just fine - quick and easy

User avatar
NW3
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:58 am

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by NW3 » Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:52 pm

the ticket and payment system works just fine - quick and easy

Notters
Posts: 480
Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 12:57 am
Location: Galashiels, Scottish Borders

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Notters » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:32 am

After reading all the comments on here, I purposely tried it on my Iphone and it all worked ok. If I managed it on a handheld device with my big sausage thumbs then I cant see what the problem is...

Anyway, thanks to mark,james,giles and all the team, can't wait for another great weekend with boating,beer and banter.
Notters@Team_Borders

LucyLou19
Posts: 506
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:04 pm
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by LucyLou19 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:36 pm

I am notoriously last minute dot com and only went online today to try and book my ticket but it said it had closed :( are tickets still avaliable on the door?

User avatar
neilfarmer
Posts: 2076
Joined: Sun May 25, 2003 1:11 am
Location: Glasgow
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by neilfarmer » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:42 pm

LucyLou19 wrote:I am notoriously last minute dot com and only went online today to try and book my ticket but it said it had closed :( are tickets still avaliable on the door?
Yes they will be. The SCA desk will be at the GunClub on Friday night, Saturday at the Moriston and Sunday on the Garry.
Neil Farmer.

User avatar
neilfarmer
Posts: 2076
Joined: Sun May 25, 2003 1:11 am
Location: Glasgow
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by neilfarmer » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:13 pm

That should have said the BA CLUB on Friday and Saturday night, sorry.....
Neil Farmer.

User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:07 pm

To all the ladies that have pre-booked. There is a bit of a sizing issue with the t shirts (size 8,10,12 instead of s,m,l etc).

You will be getting an email soon to make sure we have the right size for you, so please check your inbox.

I guess giving us all your details actually was a good thing ;)

User avatar
Niall Milner
Posts: 302
Joined: Fri May 09, 2003 9:22 pm
Location: Biggar

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Niall Milner » Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:53 pm

Folks,

The 2012 event booklet is available for download.

If you're going you'll get a copy in the welcome pack on arrival but it's worth having a gander now.

Key changes to last year -

Moriston
Revised shuttle times on the Moriston (starting the Lower earlier) and the new for this year requirement that when you're finished doing laps of the Upper you paddle back down to the Gun Club under your own steam. This should get round the problems we had last year of buses being split between the upper and lower and too many people needing picked up at once.

I can only reiterate the 'Leave Your Car at the Gun Club' mantra!!

Fort William
BA Club, not Nevis Centre and behave!

Cheers,

Niall

User avatar
Mark Mulrain
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Nov 20, 2006 11:27 pm
Location: Edinburgh
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 2 times
Contact:

Re: Wet West Paddle Fest feedback

Post by Mark Mulrain » Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:02 am

Under 16s!
You MUST complete a permission form!!! The SCA can refuse to let you take part if you don't have a completed form.

Here is the form - http://www.canoescotland.org/​Portals/0 ... 202012.doc


Hope you all have your olympic costumes sorted

Post Reply

Return to “Whitewater and Touring”