Time for my annual USPSA website rant. This is going to be a tl;dr and sting you in the eyes epic fucking post. However, it needs to be done if just one “tech person” in USPSA sees it. Its my “6 page white paper” of bitching and guidance. I hope its all for naught and they update the website tomorrow, but history has proven me wrong.
For historical context:
June 2016 rant: http://www.doodiepro...-to-be-updated/
January 2016 rant: http://www.doodiepro...bsite-database/
This website “update” has been going on since January of 2014. That’s 3 and a half years, just let that sink in for a moment. Now granted, they finally did get the classifier technology out of the dark ages of a manual update once per month. But fuck, welcome to 2001. Someone discovered scripts.
Let’s just take a step back and see how fucked the website actually is. This is going to be a step by step analysis of the ENTIRE website. What are the issues and what can be done to fix it. I’m removing my corporate filter, but bringing in my experience working for a global ecommerce company.
Why am I doing this? I love this freaking sport. However, the 1995-ness of our website drives me fucking nuts. Strap in - here we go:
First, let's focus – what is the website actually trying to do? To ensure all functions stay focused, tenets are utilized by large e-commerce companies. They help guide decisions when they need to be made, they help onboard new team members to the goals, and ensures there is consistency between new teams if a change occurs.
USPSA needs to create some tenets on what they actual fuck they want the website to do and follow these tenets at all times. Here are some examples:
1. Reduce membership effort.
2. Provide accurate information
3. Treat every member as a friend
4. Make is easy for new shooters to learn, find, and enjoy the sport
Looking at the USPSA website, does it achieve any of these basic tenets above? Let’s take a hard look:
About USPSA - What is the purpose of this page? It doesn’t guide people into the sport of USPSA, it’s just a landing page for more links. Oh joy. Thanks for increasing my effort by not even providing a basic paragraph of the sport. But hey! Here are more links to follow::
- Join or Renew Membership - It’s a form. It can definitely use a face lift with a marketing “blurb” on the top detailing what exactly someone gets from giving you $40 a year. Not just a membership card. Not just a magazine. If you can’t say truthfully it’s a membership to an organization that provides the tenets above via their website and rules, then you need to sit down and get to work.
- Request Information – “This page is no longer available.” BROKEN PAGE – Want info? Go fuck yourself. You know how much effort it takes to put up a page that says “This page is no longer available”, about the same amount as it takes to delete a freaking hyperlink.
- USPSA FAQ – This page and its links are out of date. For example:
o How does the classification system work? – This page needs to be reviewed based on the classification update frequency changes at the end of 2016 as well as additional changes communicated by the President.
o A complete review of all the FAQ items needs to occur to ensure it’s up to date for 2017. Included in this review there should be a data driven analysis of the FAQ links. What are the common questions USPSA HQ gets today? Are they at the top of the list? Are there new questions that should be there? Does the FAQ address new members questions (Have there been any focus groups)?
- USPSA Media – links to more links! Let’s check them out:
o US Nationals and World Shoot Winners - Apparently, we haven’t had US Nationals since 2015. Time for an update.
o USPSA – Photo Gallery – “We are working to improve our Photo Gallery - Check back soon!” – See the Request Information link above. If you don’t want to maintain a Photo Gallery, remove the link! God only knows how long someone’s been “working” on this page.
o USPSA History - I love this one. It links to the wrong page and displays the “Getting Started” page. This is like hyperlink fixing 101. Obviously, no one cares about our history. Fix it.
o USPSA Logo Policy – Legal stuff. No real issue here; however, probably want to ditch the PDF format and include links to email requests and an address for the “applications should be in the form of a business letter”. Do people still snail mail in 2017?
- USPSA History – Ok, but needs a major update. Get a Frontsite contributor to write something up. Maybe include some older pictures of TGO and BEnos and those 80s trucker hat/mullet wearing leather holster MFers, some names of the founders, and please update or remove the “For 20 years USPSA competitions has provided…” as it already 13 years out of date.
- Getting Started – this page should be a WEALTH of information. Videos, guides, and simple and easy steps to get started in USPSA. Right now it’s a wall of text, out of date (See Sources section), and doesn’t help anyone. This is tenet #4 – and this page should a shining example of how to get people started with where to go and when, what to bring, what they should be focused on, how to improve, and what they will get out of the sport.
- Where to buy gear – Seriously? “PAGE HAS BEEN REMOVED - PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL CLUB FOR INFO ON WHERE TO BUY GEAR” As discussed before, remove it. Instead of farming out watch ads, maybe this would be a good spot to link to vendors that ACTUALLY SUPPORT practical shooting with gear – benstoegerproshop.com, shootersconnection, dawson precision, speedshooters, doublealpha, etc.
Still with me? You’re fucking insane.
Find Clubs – Arguably not even needed. Why? I don’t care where a club is located. I want to know where Matches are at, see tenet #1. It should just be a part of Find Matches. But for the sake of argument, let’s dive into it.
I really don’t have an issue with the landing page at all. Map shows all the areas well. I like finding clubs by Zip code or state. Zip code does need an ability to add a distance to it, but I guess I could just search state by state (See tenant #1 again).
Not so fast, lets check those links on the map when you click on each area:
Area 1 - http://www.uspsa1.or...spendedpage.cgi - Website offline
Area 2 - http://www.uspsa2.org/ - ok
Area 3 - https://www.uspsa3.com/home.html - ok
Area 4 - http://www.uspsa4.org/ -
ok (Edit: NOT ok per shreek - 10 years out of date)
Area 5 - http://www.uspsa5.org/ - Website offline
Area 6 - http://uspsa6.org/new/ - not updated since March 2016
Area 7 - http://www.uspsa7.org/ - 1994 called and it wants its website back
Area 8 - http://www.uspsa8.org/ - ok
These are supposed to be AREA pages supporting several states. 25% of them don’t even work. One of the largest areas hasn’t been updated in over a year. This is just sad. USPSA should be providing tech for these Areas to manage an Area page WITHIN the USPSA website. Otherwise, USPSA should take ownership of those URLs and manage them for the Areas.
The results? Oh the results… Contact Info. Phone. Email. Distance to Contact. Club Contact. Authorized score uploader.
Where is the club/range location? Where is the data on when they have matches? Where is the data on their matches (fees, divisions, events). The data is dependent upon one person, one email address. What if that person says F it and leaves? Is the club dead (in some cases yes). Again, this should be something USPSA focuses on and owns within the website. A portal that can provide an email alias to contact several members, admin functions to update data if the club changes, etc. And if you say “They can get that info from ‘Find Matches’" – tenet #1 and ad a link!
Find Matches – Here we go. The bread and butter of what the website SHOULD be about for new and experienced shooters. I can’t express the frustration I had when I first got into USPSA just trying to find where matches were being held. Looking everywhere in my state and neighboring states and filtering through long outdated websites, emailing (see above) club contacts and not getting replies, just wanting to shoot but couldn’t find any info.
The sad part, this continues today in 2017. Finding Level 2 matches is a BITCH. It shouldn’t be. They’re not all listed on USPSA’s website. Why not? See tenet #1, USPSA fails at this and organizers rely on Facebook, their own websites, word of mouth, forum posts, etc. If you don’t know where to look, good luck getting into certain matches. Finding L1/local matches is even WORSE. There are Facebook groups to just communicate when matches are being held, cancelled, special events, etc. Sometimes they’re on a website, but rarely. THIS.IS.THE.BIGGEST.FAILURE.OF.THE.USPSA.WEBSITE.
USPSA’s website tech should revolve around this idea. How do you beat Facebook? How do you create the tech to enable clubs to post info and share that with membership? USPSA must be able to answer this question and ensure it accurate (see tenet #2): “I am visiting an Area outside of where I normally shoot and want to shoot a local match, where do I go, what time should I be there, and is there anything I should know before I show up?”
If USPSA can provide a portal, where clubs can EASILY update information, Find Matches might actually be useful. Image how great it would be being able to find EVERY level 1, 2, and 3 match info – right now, relevant for this weekend. But alas – let’s take a quick look at what we have under Find Matches – FU noob, only Major matches listed. Fine, no level 1 matches need apply. Even with the Majors listed, lets say I want to go to the 2017 CZ-USA Iron Sight Nationals. I’ll just click the link there and… WTF. It’s the same damn format as the club contacts. No apply here form. No info on the match. Just a club name (no address). A name with phone number and a non-uspsa email address, and a link to an external website for a USPSA national event. To repeat: THIS.IS.THE.BIGGEST.FAILURE.OF.THE.USPSA.WEBSITE.
This again should be a page on USPSA. An ability for the Match Director to setup a page on USPSA’s website, include links for signup through Practiscore (reserve this for another rant as we use an external website to sign up and find scores for USPSA), find updates on the event, news, etc, and have it all be on USPSA.
This isn’t a Level 1, 2, or 3.. it’s a fucking national event. Go look at it: https://www.uspsa.or...s.php?indx=1191 that is as much attention as USPSA cares to give it. Tenet #3 applies here – friends don’t let friends have suck ass websites.
Match Results – See Practiscore. Seriously. However, if you want to check out this page, I hope you know your Club Code, because I’m sure everyone who shoots an L1 knows that… I guess I could scroll through the long list of club names. I heard they added this cool feature call SEARCH to computers a while ago. Otherwise – see Practiscore. Honestly, do whatever the fuck you need to. Buy them dinner. Give them all free GM cards, whatever the fuck it takes, and let them have control. But for god’s sake, integrate Practiscore into USPSAs website.
Club Support – I’m not surprised why most clubs resort to Facebook. Just look at this page. 19 links. With golden gems like:
- Results Uploads & Payments – with EzWinScore support (who uses that anymore?)
- Edit Local Match Schedule – Not a link to do it, but a several paragraphs on telling you to go edit your info. How about a link to edit it there on the page? Or even better, let me edit it on that page like the link describes!
- Match Ammo Service – “This page under construction” Sure it is.
- EzWinScore Support – Now on Windows Vista!
- Classifier/Activity Upload – No longer needed. Links to a page saying its no longer needed. This link is no longer needed!!
- USPSA FAQ – Same FAQ for new members. Why the fuck is it here in Club Support?!?!
- Self-Service Match Squadding – See FAQ above. Why is it here under Clubs?
- Approved Target Vendors – We list target vendors here, but can’t list equipment links for new shooters?
Member Support - Strangely. I don’t have a huge issue with this page besides its formatting can be redone to make it easier to find information. Grouping similar popular items together and making them more prominent will adhere to tenet #1 instead of 19 equal items. For example: Classifier Record, Renew/Upgrade Membership, USPSA Forum might be top drivers and should be larger at the top (again, drive decisions based on data, and if your website doesn’t have data available for click-throughs and what pages are viewed the most – GET IT). Items like Flag Removal Requests, Match Ammo Service (LOL – This page under construction), and USPSA Bylaws can be smaller at the bottom.
Make is easier for your members to find the information that is important to them! All 4 of your tenets apply here.
Rules – This page is fucked. Do you really expect me to go through 9 separate links of updated this and updated that to really know what the fuck the rules are? Don’t we have a whole division, NROI, whos only job is to focus on rules. See Trigger Warning’s post here: http://www.doodiepro...psa-html-rules/ on how to do it fucking right. Spend a Monday on it. It’s really not that hard. Fuck, just copy and paste Trigger’s post. All the work is already done! Rules apply to tenet #2. This should be a key focus. Not Frontsight. Not USPSA spam emails. Not 5,000 updates to your Facebook page. Finding Matches and Rules. Focus.
Join USPSA – See form rant at the top.
Steel Challenge – Going to skip. Others might find it useful, doubtful.
Front Sight Magazine – I honestly think you should stop publishing a magazine and put ALL of that talent, artwork, articles, and development time into the website. Print is dead. Please catch up to 2017. There are many ways to generate revenue with advertising outside of print, create a great website, and you can charge by clicks, notifications via apps, etc. Just.let.it.go.
NROI – This page suffers from two things. 1) It needs its own set of tenets. (What is the NROI trying to do? Does it want more ROs? Does it want to provide easily accessible information on rules? Does it want a super-charged nitro ATV so it can get to popper calibration calls quicker?) 2) It needs a face lift as well as it suffers from the same issue as Member Support (15 links and they look all the fucking same).
Nationals – Whatever. Maybe the 400 members that go there care. I don’t.
Media Room – See USPSA Media above in About USPSA because it’s the SAME FUCKING PAGE.
Partners – Many of these links also exist under Media Room (see above and above). However we have:
- Target Royalty Reporting – “Page Under Construction” – My good old friend under construction since who-the-fuck-knows-when.
- USPSA Partner Program – Nothing about a program to partner with USPSA, it’s just a form to get a retail point of purchase display kit. WTFClickBaitLOL!
- USPSA Sponsorships – Sponsorship PDFs from 2013 with Straders wife as a POC?!? Oookay.
Women of USPSA - http://wofuspsa.org/ - Not working. How the fuck does this happen? It’s a main link on the USPSA website?
Online Store – someone FINALLY added links to other vendors. Need a new overlay? Go fuck yourself.
Personal Profile – No huge issue. Just needs to be integrated with Practiscore match management.
Didn’t think I forgot about those links at the bottom did you?
About USPSA – See above
Photo Galleries – “We are working to improve our Photo Gallery - Check back soon!” LIES!
Online Store – Doesn’t even link to the same page above. It’s just blank. So sad.
Media Room – See above
Personal Profile - See above
Partners - See above
I honestly feel I am the first person to do this in years. Please, someone, anyone, at USPSA HQ, have your “tech team” read this. Ask for feedback from non-howler-monkeys. Fix the fucking broken stuff, and more importantly, adhere to some tenets and treat us as friends, reduce our effort, get accurate information up, and make it easier for me to find matches and enjoy our sport!