Over the summer we had a look at our website and identified a number of areas where we felt we could improve the look, feel and, most importantly for our members, its usability.
On the surface, the site acts as a showcase for Northern Ireland photography. The images displayed here currently are the PAGB Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners from the 2016 NIPA Print and PDI Exhibitions. Over the upcoming season, these will be augmented by the addition of successful images from the Interclub, Novice and Roy Finlay Competitions. If anyone appreciates this taster they can delve deeper into our menu and discover more.
But we don't just need to show ourselves off to the outside world; it is essential that our member clubs and societies are supported and it is important that we provide them with the information they need to get the best from their membership.
The "About Us" menu tab provides much of the information about NIPA including details of who we are (both the NIPA Council and our member clubs and societies), our purpose, some of the benefits of NIPA membership and how we are structured as set out in our constitution.
This year we split the old events tab into two separating Competitions and Exhibitions.
The "Competitions" tab provides details of NIPA-organised competitions including the Interclub competitions, the Novice Competition, the Audio Visual Festival and the Roy Finlay Natural History Competition that is organised in association with Ards Camera Club. From here there is access to the competition rules, entry forms and online submission of PDI entries, results and competition galleries.
Like the "Competitions" tab, the "Exhibitions" tab provides access to exhibition-related information, rules, dates, entries, results and galleries.
Under the "Community" tab we have tried to pull together information and links that might be useful to our members. The NIPA blog has been removed although we have retained the link to our Facebook feed. This should provide non-Facebook users access to NIPA Facebook posts. Fresh for this year we have introduced a couple of new pages.
Previously links and notifications were tagged onto the Home page. The result was a page that was both confusing and difficult to control. This year we have created a "Noticeboard" accessible directly from the Home page or from the Community tab on the menu system.
The revised Novice definition includes a requirement that a competitor cannot be considered a novice if they have gained two or more starred images. To assist our clubs and societies with this decision we have produced a fully searchable list of all starred images awarded over the past few years (September 2012 to date).
The final Item on the menu "Dates" should be clear.