Some thoughts on GCA...

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Laighside Legends
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Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by Laighside Legends » 30 August 14 9:42 pm

Now it's no secret that GCA is not very popular in SA. Why is that? At first you might think it's because we like Groundspeak but I don't think that's the case. A lot of us are getting a bit sick of how picky Groundspeak (and the reviewers) have become about the guidelines. So I asked several SA cachers the question "Why don't you use the GCA site?"

The two top responses were: (of those who would actually like to use GCA)
1. It's just too slow. I can make a cup of tea faster than I can load and click through the pages to log a cache.
2. The interface and layout of the site is too complicated. I just can not find what I'm looking for.

I don't know exactly what the solution to these problems is but I think they do need to be fixed somehow...
Thoughts? :-k

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Richary
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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by Richary » 31 August 14 12:11 am

I do agree about it sometimes being hard to find the stats or whatever you are looking for, but as for caches hunting for one is very easy. Just type part of the name, code or suburb where it is hidden in the search box at the top right and it will usually give you what you need.

Things have been slow at times, but I believe the guys who run it are looking at an upgrade, but of course that takes money. A new server in a Co-Lo doesn't come cheap.

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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by oldfella » 31 August 14 7:31 am

I do agree that at times it is a bit slow but the previous reply sums it all up in regards to hardware. I am on the GCA site at least three times a day and I have no problems with it. I started using GCA before I joined gc.com. I , like many many others, appreciate all the hard work and effort put in by, especially, craigrat and C@W, and others. I also support gca through the shop and lets face it we do need to support gca so that there is money in the bank to be able to afford the hardware upgrades and thus speed thing s up. Lets us not forget the other site is a commercial enterprise and this site is run by volunteers. I for one would not be against an annual subscription for gca advanced features. My thoughts.

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CraigRat
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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by CraigRat » 31 August 14 12:00 pm

Laighside Legends wrote: The two top responses were: (of those who would actually like to use GCA)
1. It's just too slow. I can make a cup of tea faster than I can load and click through the pages to log a cache.
2. The interface and layout of the site is too complicated. I just can not find what I'm looking for.
Good feedback, and very valid points.

Yes, the server is at it's end of life, we have a database of over 9 million logs (yes, million) so performing stats queries etc to tally up finds etc is starting to take its toll. 4 Gig of ram only goes so far, sadly.

A new server is on the cards, we are limited by the 1U rackspace we have and the time we need to move to a new server. We have the funds, we just need to find a window for all this to happen. Busy real lives (in my case a new career) has meant development and planning for GCA has taken a back-seat for a while (along with geocaching in general).

We are always open to suggestions about how to make the navigation easier. We are STILL the geocaching website with the most features and functions, making it a tad more complicated than the likes of GC or OC or whatever, and neither of your current developers are UI/UX experts.
We'd love some ideas of how we can restructure menus and pages to make the site more appealing. The design of the site is 8 years or so old (lifted heavily from the Mozilla/Firefox website at the time). A change may be something it needs, but we need ideas.

At the end of the day it's every-ones site, and everyone is allowed to suggest changes or improvements!

Remembering too, we don't have the estimated 15+million budget of the other site, so we have to do things based on what we have. No caching servers and whatnot for us!

My personal thought is that I don't think that's why SA in general doesn't use the site though, we have always had a disproportionately small patronage from that state, especially post us becoming a listing site in 2001. Old wounds run deep it would appear :cry:, but yes, site performance and interface probably is becoming a deterrent to some.

Thanks for doing some groundwork for the site, and thanks for the feedback. It's be great to get more of this feedback from people at events and whatnot!
It's very much appreciated.

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CraigRat
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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by CraigRat » 31 August 14 12:13 pm

oldfella wrote:I for one would not be against an annual subscription for gca advanced features.
A few little thoughts about this:

We will never charge for the use of any features on the site, never. 100% iron-clad guarantee. This is the promise c@w and I made when we took custody of the site. At best, subscribing might get you a pathtag or some kind of bling :D

The problems I have with subscriptions (for example a voluntary support type subscription) is that it then becomes something people hold over your heads to try and get their way (look thru here for the amount of time ppl threaten to cancel their GC subscriptions (me included)) plus we end up being somewhat obligated to deliver a certain quality of service. This gets tricky.

Good feedback though, keep it coming!

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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by nutwood » 31 August 14 6:37 pm

I find it hard to believe that site speed would be a reason why SA cachers don't support GCA. Personally, I've never noticed much difference between the two sites. I'm connected to the NBN and I'd need a stop watch to check the difference in loading speed. I just tried loading both sites simultaneously (actually I clicked GC first) and GCA completed loading about a second before GC. That said, there has been the occasional time when the GCA site has simply failed to open. Not often though!
The GCA maps are far better in my opinion. I use the GCA site wherever possible for this reason.

Laighside Legends
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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by Laighside Legends » 31 August 14 7:34 pm

nutwood wrote:I find it hard to believe that site speed would be a reason why SA cachers don't support GCA. Personally, I've never noticed much difference between the two sites. I'm connected to the NBN and I'd need a stop watch to check the difference in loading speed. I just tried loading both sites simultaneously (actually I clicked GC first) and GCA completed loading about a second before GC. That said, there has been the occasional time when the GCA site has simply failed to open. Not often though!
The GCA maps are far better in my opinion. I use the GCA site wherever possible for this reason.
This is my guess at the speeds here is SA:
The front page and the forum pages load quickly.
Searches (and queries) can take anywhere from about 5 secs to a minute.
Cache pages seem to range from instant loading to not loading at all (until I give up and press refresh).
And the map usually takes at least 15 secs and sometimes it doesn't load at all. (and then takes another 15 secs or so to refresh every time you move it)
CraigRat wrote:My personal thought is that I don't think that's why SA in general doesn't use the site though, we have always had a disproportionately small patronage from that state, especially post us becoming a listing site in 2001. Old wounds run deep it would appear :cry:, but yes, site performance and interface probably is becoming a deterrent to some.
I have no doubt that this is partly the case but in the last 12 months or so SA has become a lot less happy with what Groundspeak are doing (especially around the cache guidelines rules) so they might be a little more inclined to join now if GCA got everything else right.


The layout of the site is a tough one. Personally, I think it's OK as it is and I'm guessing most people on here think the same. But then I've been using it for several years and I know where everything is...

One thing that does annoy me a little though is the search box (and how it guesses what you've entered). If I search by a GC/GA code it then does a cache name search as well which takes time when it should be an instant goto cache page result.
Also anything but the most basic searches requires you to use the query generator (which may be a bit much for some people). Eg. I want to do a search for all the puzzle caches in SA and then sort them by D/T - GC can do this straight from the search function whereas on GCA you need to use the query generator.

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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by caughtatwork » 31 August 14 8:21 pm

Laighside Legends wrote: One thing that does annoy me a little though is the search box (and how it guesses what you've entered). If I search by a GC/GA code it then does a cache name search as well which takes time when it should be an instant goto cache page result.
Does not. Enter a known live GC or GCA code and it will only search for that code. It shows you the search result for a waypoint and one more click and you're at the cache page. It certainly doesn't do a name search as well. It's should be pretty easy to take you to the cache page directly if you like.
Laighside Legends wrote:Also anything but the most basic searches requires you to use the query generator (which may be a bit much for some people). Eg. I want to do a search for all the puzzle caches in SA and then sort them by D/T - GC can do this straight from the search function whereas on GCA you need to use the query generator.
Help us help you. Which page at GC can you do this from?

Laighside Legends
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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by Laighside Legends » 31 August 14 9:22 pm

caughtatwork wrote:Does not. Enter a known live GC or GCA code and it will only search for that code. It shows you the search result for a waypoint and one more click and you're at the cache page. It certainly doesn't do a name search as well. It's should be pretty easy to take you to the cache page directly if you like.
So why does it take so long if all it has to do is add the search string to "http://geocaching.com.au/cache/"? And sometimes it returns "Caches with names like "gc....""?
caughtatwork wrote:Help us help you. Which page at GC can you do this from?
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx Several other options there too that only exist on GCA in the query generator.

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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by caughtatwork » 31 August 14 10:55 pm

Laighside Legends wrote:
caughtatwork wrote:Does not. Enter a known live GC or GCA code and it will only search for that code. It shows you the search result for a waypoint and one more click and you're at the cache page. It certainly doesn't do a name search as well. It's should be pretty easy to take you to the cache page directly if you like.
So why does it take so long if all it has to do is add the search string to "http://geocaching.com.au/cache/"? And sometimes it returns "Caches with names like "gc....""?
It only does a name search if it doesn't find a matching code. If you have an example of a code that doesn't return just the cache I'd be interested as that's not supposed to happen and as far as the code says it also shouldn't happen.
Laighside Legends wrote:
caughtatwork wrote:Help us help you. Which page at GC can you do this from?
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx Several other options there too that only exist on GCA in the query generator.
Thanks for that. It won't be too hard to make something like this, but I can't do in the next day or so as I'm off O/S. I'll bet you dollars to donuts though that as soon as we do, someone will ask for a filter on Terrain or Difficulty. Then a distance filter. Then something else. Before you know if we've redone the My Query Generator. If you could add this to the development list in the wiki http://wiki.geocaching.com.au/wiki/Geoc ... pment_List it won't be forgotten.

Laighside Legends
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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by Laighside Legends » 01 September 14 12:43 pm

caughtatwork wrote:
Laighside Legends wrote:
caughtatwork wrote:Does not. Enter a known live GC or GCA code and it will only search for that code. It shows you the search result for a waypoint and one more click and you're at the cache page. It certainly doesn't do a name search as well. It's should be pretty easy to take you to the cache page directly if you like.
So why does it take so long if all it has to do is add the search string to "http://geocaching.com.au/cache/"? And sometimes it returns "Caches with names like "gc....""?
It only does a name search if it doesn't find a matching code. If you have an example of a code that doesn't return just the cache I'd be interested as that's not supposed to happen and as far as the code says it also shouldn't happen.
That kinda makes sense - I do occasionally mis-spell them so there is a fair chance that is when it is happening. Perhaps just better instructions on how the search actually works is all that is needed...
caughtatwork wrote:
Laighside Legends wrote:
caughtatwork wrote:Help us help you. Which page at GC can you do this from?
http://www.geocaching.com/seek/nearest.aspx Several other options there too that only exist on GCA in the query generator.
Thanks for that. It won't be too hard to make something like this, but I can't do in the next day or so as I'm off O/S. I'll bet you dollars to donuts though that as soon as we do, someone will ask for a filter on Terrain or Difficulty. Then a distance filter. Then something else. Before you know if we've redone the My Query Generator. If you could add this to the development list in the wiki http://wiki.geocaching.com.au/wiki/Geoc ... pment_List it won't be forgotten.
That is the problem - how do you keep it simple enough for everyone to use by still have a level of functionally that people want? At the moment the search and query generator are at opposite ends of that scale - I think we need something in the middle. Added it to the development list.

Also noticed that CraigRat is responsible for "overall look and feel of the site/menus etc" :wink: :mrgreen:

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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by caughtatwork » 01 September 14 1:11 pm

Yeah, well, then we're all doomed. DOOMED! I say.

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CraigRat
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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by CraigRat » 01 September 14 1:18 pm

caughtatwork wrote:Yeah, well, then we're all doomed. DOOMED! I say.
True.

I should publish the memory map I made of all the features and functions from my last attempt to re-structure the menus...It's a jungle out there!

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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by Laighside Legends » 26 January 15 10:52 pm

When I see comments like this on fb I really think something needs to change here...

Image

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Re: Some thoughts on GCA...

Post by CraigRat » 26 January 15 11:30 pm

Laighside Legends wrote:When I see comments like this on fb I really think something needs to change here...

Image
Has she had trouble logging it?

Has she even got an account?

Is she trying to log in using her GC acct details rather than what she signed up to GCA with?

Has she got trouble navigating around?

Is she trying to download GC caches from here?

Has she got troubles with the maps loading on her Mac?

I've been doing support here for long enough now to know 99% of logged issues to date are simple, like not capitalising their usernames right..

Given there's zero detail tin the sentence you posted then I really can't see how this person can be helped one way or another.

Without knowing what end to start from I can do zero with that feedback. I can't just fix things without knowing what the actual issue is.

I've commented on the post on FB, we'll see what happens.

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