This post is early warning that the SOTA Shopping site will be unavailable on Monday whilst I install a significant upgrade to the software. Existing orders will be retained and I would hope to have the site functional by Monday evening.
Once the revised installation is running you will note a number of changes, hopefully these are improvements and will make using the site to apply for awards and purchase merchandise much easier. The site has been completely redesigned and will now run on a secure server (https://) to provide an extra layer of security when you place an order.
The following is a summary of the changes:
- The layout has been completely revised and I have managed to include help notes where I know problems have been experienced. If you hover your mouse pointer over the “?” symbol a help message will appear, if you spot areas which need improving or more explanation please let me know.
- The site will, probably in early 2018, be available in a small number of other languages. I will need assistance with translation but will post on the reflector when I reach the stage of needing help.
- Trophies – I have managed to change the mechanism for requesting what engraving you may require on a trophy. The trophy price is now the cost of the un-engraved blank and you can select how you callsign and the date is presented, Currently this is set to your callsign and the year in which you gained the award. If you remain with just this format this will result in a slight reduction of cost for most claimants (it is presently priced as a four digit year and six character callsign, so if you call is less than six characters you will see a price reduction.) This does mean that we can offer alternative date formats such as Month and Year: Nov 2017 for example. Additional engraving on the trophy is still listed, and priced, as before but now you will also be able to enter any variant and it will be costed automatically and included in you invoice total. This will save you emailing me to get the option put on the site.
- Certificates – the pdf option is a set as the regular output and choosing to have it printed will show the additional cost (rather than the current situation where the printed version is the default). I have included a similar facility to that provided for trophies where you may enter additional wording to suit. Remember though, if it is a variant which is not readily provided from the database it will remain your responsibility to provide the proof of qualification.
- New stock has been added to the store – heavyweight full zip fleeces and engraved namebadges plus some extra colours in ski caps and baseball caps.
- Pictures have been added for most product options and the current stock level is shown at the point of ordering – no longer do you have to specify an option in case I am out of stock. The full stock control facility has been the main driver behind this website revamp.
- I have added a Tracked shipping option for those who would like this facility – it will work internationally. In addition you will be able to check the status of your order online (provided I remember to update it, that is!)
- When you checkout you will be able to chose the option to be remembered which would save you some data entry during future checkout.
- I plan to introduce the ability to pay by Credit and Debit cards without going through Paypal as I know some people do not like Paypal. This will follow in the New Year. Meanwhile you will have the opportunity, if you do use Paypal, to use the speedy checkout Paypal facility. I plan to phase out the facility to pay by UK bank cheque, it is very rarely used and is a right pain having to go to a bank to pay in the cheque. If this is a problem let me know and I will see if I can identify a way round this.
- I have made access to the rules for claiming the various SOTA awards easier
- The revised site should also work on tablets and “smart” phones
- I have made the donations process a little easier and it will put the relevant information into the regular shopping cart along with any award or merchandise purchases you may make.
- Possible problems:
Email notification of your order has been only semi-functional for the last month with the current website. I am working with the hosting company to try to find out why. Meanwhile you will be presented with a printable copy of your order once you have checked-out.
There is a social media link to Facebook – it sometimes sulks and refuses to function!
I have included the SOTA RSS feed so that you can keep an eye out for spots, again this is only semi-functional right now so I may well remove it until I find out why the updating on our server is not functioning correctly.
I have plans for various other enhancements, and some of our software gnomes are working on a facility to automate the provision of pdf certificates; all this will follow in due course. There are quite a number of other tweaks made to the website but hese just improve the functionality for my administration purposes.
If you find any glitches (more likely – WHEN you find…) please let me know so that I can try to work around them.