At the start of this week we had a forum competition listing system that whilst functional was always a “fix” that materialised from the changes on Loquax 2.5 years ago. In fairness that system could have stayed in place but we’ve always felt it could be better. We’d managed to do direct links and tracking for dailies/advent so why not try and do it on a bigger scale?
A few days later and we now have a pretty decent system in place. There are now direct links to competitions that are posted up by users, a new tracking/ignore option and we’ve retained access to the forum posts as well. We added some shiny big icons to make the listings look a little more interesting too.
The new system threw up a few challenges! What about email entry competitions, embedded twitter and facebook links and those comps that need answers. Well we sorted those out and where users need to see the forum post we’ve made sure they don’t go AWOL via odd links.
The biggest concern about the new system was about previous comps tracked via the thanks button. Unfortunately we’ve not been able to fix that – but a missing thanks button should indicate you’ve entered. It may be possible to put in a fix next week, but by then a lot of the comps will have churned through anyway.
Another concern was about the comps fading out rather than disappearing – users prefer the latter option and so that was brought in. The disappearing posts then created an empty page problem but that too was solved.
Tags – the things we use find competitions by sitename – have been tweaked a little. You can now pull up pages by sitename which show if you’ve entered or not. We’ve also changed the tag search so you’re only searching sites listed in the competitions database – it’s also less clunky when it comes to broad searching.
The work didn’t stop there. New categories for garden, pets, UK holidays and hobbies/crafts are now online – plus we’ve added icons for gleam and answer competitions. We’ll be looking at the TV competitions next week as they span online and offline competition sections.
Next week we will look at getting the tracked/ignored comp lists sorted for you and they’ll be some tweaks etc to bring other parts of the competition listings up to speed. We have a few bug issues to fix too.
We appreciate change is not for everyone – and we have left the legacy links just in case – however thank you all for your patience this week. Thanks especially to those who offered suggestions, ideas, reported bugs etc.
For now I’m off for a well earned rest!! Have a good weekend.
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