2014 at HillRunner.com
by on Monday, January 6, 2014  (4 comments)

I'll get back into blogging about running soon. First, I wanted to look forward into 2014 to share what I envision happing at HillRunner.com and request input on what you might like to see. A quick note, I'm not going to get into what I plan to blog about or what I plan to do within the coaching sphere. This is simply about what is going to be done to the site itself.

Blogs

Obviously, the big addition in 2013 was the blogs. I feel the blogs in their current state are functional and useful but there are several things I think would make them more convenient. What I view as the highest priority items:

  • More "robust" profile pages: Our current profile pages are functional but simple. I'd like to expand on what we have to make these profile pages more suitable entry pages for your own personal blog. I'd like these to be links you can share on your social networks or to friends in other ways and proudly proclaim "This is my blog!" I have some ideas of what can be done for this but I'm also open to ideas if anyone has some.
  • Date navigation/search functionality: Whether the blogs as a whole or your own personal blog, things are growing. As such, I need to develop a better way to organize the posts that already exist and make it easier for all of us to find what we're looking for.
  • Several smaller improvements: From the ability to schedule a post to tying your profile to social networks, I have a lot of things in mind.



Training Log

As other things kept coming up, the training log has gotten shortchanged. I want to make sure it gets at least some attention in 2014. I have a couple things in mind:

  • Modify Workout functionality: This has been "pending" for way too long. It's time for me to bite the bullet and just get it done. Of my to do list that will likely be impossible to fully complete this year, this is the one that I'll say if I don't get it done by the end of 2014, call me on it and demand I get it done.
  • More ways to view your log: I have a lot of ideas for anything from finally implementing a monthly view to all kinds of cool analytics that could be done with the data you're entering.



HillRunner.com in general

I have several things I'd like to to for the site in general, including:

  • Making the site more mobile friendly: I played around with the News section with dynamic coding to create mobile friendly pages. I'm not a big fan. I'm now looking into creating one standard interface that will adjust on the fly to be mobile friendly. You may have noticed some styling changes over time. Most were made to be more mobile friendly but I think also make the site less cluttered and more readable in general. This will continue. In addition, there may be some bigger changes coming.
  • Streamlining the site: You may have noticed some sections (Calendar, Links) getting phased out. Or maybe you haven't because you weren't using them. These sections just didn't make sense. They got virtually no traffic and were more work to maintain than they were worth. I'm going to continue evaluating every portion of the site and either working to improve it to make it more valuable or phasing it out.



As you can see, I have a lot of things in mind. Not all of them will get done in 2014. This isn't a full time job for me and I have to balance coding with blogging and coaching. That said, I'm going to have this to do list in front of me and I'm going to get some of these things done.

So what do you think? How would you prioritize the ideas above? Anything I didn't list that you think should be listed? As always, I want to give you what you want so input is greatly appreciated.

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4 comments
Lighty

Hi Ryan! I haven't created a blog so I don't really have any suggestions right now, but I think making it possible to share your blog on Facebook or via email or whatever other social networks people use is a great idea. I'm old and too busy for anything more than Facebook, but it would be nice to be able to easily share a race report without having to post it in several places. You may also get more people on your website that way which would be nice... unless of course you don't want that. Oh wait, can you add emoticons to the blog? Or are those too annoying. I like them, but it's not really important.

The Hillrunner training log is the only one I use now so I can make a few suggestions for that one. The first one you already included in your list for 2014, make it possible to edit a previous post. That one would really be a positive change! But at this point I've become very good at working around that glitch. It's a little time consuming to have to re-enter the workout stats, but I just copy the description, delete the workout I want to edit, re-enter the stats and then paste the workout description. Not optimal, but it works. Something I would like is to be able to add my own workout type instead of choosing from the list, easy, warm-up, cool-down, etc. I noticed there are more options now, but often a run is more than just easy, or a warm-up, cool down or interval so I just always leave it on the default and add any specifics like warm-up, cool-down, or intervals in the description.

I copy my log into a spreadsheet and I have it all set up with formulas to extract the numbers into pivot tables so I can play around with them. As long as I can keep doing that I'll be happy. :smiley face:

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Lighty

Posting this just made me wonder, is it possible to edit or delete a comment? I don't see any links for that. That might be useful.

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Ryan

Very interesting thoughts. I'll try to address them one at a time so I don't miss anything.

Sharing your blog: You already have a link (yours is here ... you can edit it here) available if you want to share a profile link. I think what you mean is a "share to Facebook" button you see on some sites? Definitely something I could look into and I would guess wouldn't be too hard to implement.

Emoticons: Definitely something I could look into doing. Might be a fairly easy thing I could do with just a little free time. You may see them in the near future if they are as easy and quick to add as I'm thinking. I don't know about others but, as long as they aren't overused, I don't think they are annoying.

Modify workout: This will take some time to code so I can't get it there as quickly as I can emoticons but it is going to be my top priority when I get sufficient time to work on it.

Workout types: I've thought about this before. It would be somewhat difficult to code but I think I had an architecture laid out at one point. The short term solution is to ask me to add a workout type if you feel one is missing. Personally, I usually select what the "meat" of the workout was. If I ran a warmup, tempo run and cooldown all in one run, it's a tempo run. Or I use the advanced form to split the workout into 3 segments but I know these options aren't for everyone.

Editing/deleting comments: I've gone back and forth on this. I wouldn't want to allow deleting because it can break up the flow of a conversation if you delete something someone has responded to. A possible compromise I've thought about is allowing editing or deleting for a period of time after posting. For example, maybe you can edit or delete a comment that is less than 15 minutes old. I'd also like to offer a preview so you can see what your comment would look like before you post it. This should reduce the need for editing comments, though I realize there could still be a need for that also.

On a similar note, I've also thought about allowing some form of editing posts themselves. Again, I want to be careful about how this is allowed but I've thought of scenarios where at least updates would be nice. I'm thinking keep the original post intact but allow a timestamped update to be added at the bottom. I've seen this elsewhere and it seems to work out well.

Thanks for the thoughts. Sharing links and emoticons are definitely things that would have slipped through the cracks if you didn't bring them up and both might be relatively easy to do.

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Ryan

Emoticons were that easy. I added the following. More will be coming as time permits, as well as clickable emoticon images similar to the clickable bold, italic, etc. images that are now available:

Smiley: :) (using : ) or : - ) without spaces)
Wink: ;) (using ; ) or ; - ) without spaces)
Tongue: :P (using : P or : p or : - P or : - p without spaces)

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