/ Offwidth Site latest update
offwidth.uptosummit.com/home.html ...the Lower Grade Peak Grit website
(apologies for not including this directly as a link but the UKC throws this up as a broken link)
We have finally updated everything for Over the Moors and the lastest VG bouldering guide. There have been a lot of changes but still lots to do! For one, we inexplicably lost our climbing notes on a few sections of OtM crags (maybe Frank N'stein ate them?) and things were such a blur that we can't recall well enough to do it all from memory from 2-3 years back... still, much more covered from what we did do than not. We have also run out of time this year to sort out an update of the Top-Ten pages for new OtM grades.
As ever any feedback, general or specific, on the site is much appreciated and although given our busy 'urgent' climbing schedule (Peak Limestone and Vol II Yorkshire grit next) it can take us a year or two to get back to some venues to follow-up on user comments on individual routes/grades, we still log these for a recheck on our relevant crag 'to do' lists. From the upload last night we have already spotted the odd button not working properly and at least one link won't work but are off to Red Rocks in the US tomorrow so we'll have to pick these up in the new year.
We stuck with the old Flash format again, through lack of time as much as anything else (we just have to fill in ready made templates). Might look to convert next time but in the meantime half apologies for Apple users (only half as Apple are still a pain blocking sections of the internet from their platforms).
("Offwidth" is a non commercial site and the post has been made in conjunction with UKC.)
Just an observation but I'm using a 60cm monitor and the site is nestled within the top left hand corner of my screen - just 19cm wide.
Fixed format, sorry.
Most of the new stuff is here.
We have put in grades on all the included routes back to the 1st series peak grit guides and added VG grades from peak district climbing and bouldering (Rockfax grades were already there). This is hopefully quite useful for those folk without a huge guidebook collection.
Seriously though - thats down to the flash.
Is the raw data available? Should be possible to generate something to strip out the info and reformat?
- We are now in the 21st century with screens larger than that used by your website. Have a look on the web and you can easily find the current distribution of screen sizes. I assure you that your current web site is ***way*** too small.
- Flash. Just don't use it. It stops so many useful things, e.g. copying data to the clipboard, never mind access by some devices (as you said), no links to individual content...
- It looks like a powerpoint presentation! e.g. no scrolling.
Is your life a constant miserable struggle of style over content?
There's loads of great, geeky information on the website. In the grand scheme of things does it matter if the front end isn't all-singing all-dancing? It's not like Offwidth's getting paid for putting it together.
ie it stops people (easily) using the site as a way of avoiding buying any of the guidebooks.
While I agree with the sentiment that David's criticism could have been more tactfully made, the fact is that the poor presentation makes the content more difficult to understand, and therefore of lower value to the reader.
Apart from the aforementioned limitations of small-size and use of Flash, there are also several other issues related to text-legibility (white text on non-uniform backgrounds, i.e photos, is difficult to read), and navigation (the menus for the different sections of each Guide are difficult to see (dark blue text on light blue background) and even difficult to find (the eye is not drawn to the small bar at the bottom of the window).
This takes nothing away from the wealth of info that the site has, or the effort that has gone into its compilation, it's just a shame that it is not presented in a friendlier fashion.
Offwidth's use of Flash has been mentioned many times over the years. I think he's said it started as a university project and that he wasn't prepared to do the work to convert it to HTML.
Of course it does mean that he's forever digging a deeper hole and that all the updates simply mean that when/if he ever does convert it, it will be even more work.
That critique is as it ever was: true from a usability perspective but missing the point. It is old and I lack time to update it and it is deliberately designed for inconvenience of copying without making it horrible to use as a website because I don't want to undermine the guidebooks I've helped to produce. At some stage I might get round to putting it all on a database linked site with route by route info (like the UKC system) that allows better useability without copying being possible but at the moment I'm just too busy.
I suppose I should have been clearer up front: it's feedback on content I'm really interested in from similar geeks who have climbed the multitude of grit obscurities out there, including much stuff still unlisted in the definitive guides.
"he's forever digging a deeper hole"
Not really true as any database system would have always required all the routes. The only new bits as we climb more routes are our views on the grades and our comments (an html only conversion would have to have many of the same useability issues to prevent copying.) So it's a largely fixed size big job that I just keep putting off. I work as a full time academic, an academic trade unionist (my work doesn't give any significant time off for the size of this role) and a major guidebook contributor (with Froggatt co-editorship and input to pretty much all of the current gritstone guides) some folk can only manage one of those jobs !;-)
HTML would be much better - I'd add that use of flash like this basically defeats all the accessibility features of your browser and isn't nicely compatible with some platforms (like my mobile phone).
Other than that - it looks a nice job
The first things I went in to check your opinions of, you still haven't climbed :-)
Tony & Sarah In the Ariege
have a great trip
What? as we may have (as I said we lost a few sets of Moorland notes and the really obscure bouldering we did isn't included!). Plus we do accept requests ;-)
I'll need some help... FA in the guide and comment on our site?
Wedgewood Crack at Ravenstones
Fairy Nuff and the Ning/Nang/Nong routes at Standing Stones
Anything at all at Mill Stone
You have written that so it must be true but I'm totally flabbergasted.
All those already on the priority list. Fairy Nuff I've seen a few on and talked to folk and the word is more intimidating than anything else and standard above average difficulty VS if climbed with that in mind.
I don't want our webpages printed to avoid buying a guidebook. This has already happened and others have asked if I can adapt the pages to make this easier.
If people want beta for areas that are not well documented and won't be using them for commercial use and are willing to feedback what they find to us they can contact us and we nearly always agree to forward the word files.
Tony & Sarah
I'm fairly surprised that a significant number of people would do that just to get a text only guidebook, but there you go.
From a pure usability point of view, my main gripe would be that the tiny pages and lack of scrollbars make it annoyingly faffy to browse through things like the top ten lists.
The content is top notch, though.
I guess my view of 'significant' is any. The listing in our pages is quite efficient (and it's often obvious to spot lines) for a crag without many easier routes. I may be being a tad over careful but I'd rather have that than problems and I want to make that view clear. We have the best set of guidebooks in the world in the Peak and that requires sales to continue; our pages supplement the published guides, not attempt to replace them in any way. When Roaches 04 sold out, we got to put in our later updates to improve '09.
Thanks again everyone for the positive comments and the helpful feedback.
corrected that for you
Moff and I are just back from our 6th climbing holiday to Red Rocks and Joshua Tree. Would folk find tips (with some route info) to such venues useful on our site (could also do lower grade Yosemite/Tuolumne and Lovers Leap in the US)?
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