Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Home page coming together!

Our lead developer (Toby) has been putting together the homepage for the new site over the last couple of days.
You're welcome to take a look and tell us what you think (click on the headline for this post).
What doesn't work?
What doesn't work the way you thought it ought?
What else should be on there?
What shouldn't be on there?
What do you like?
What don't you like?

Please post below

Friday, November 10, 2006

New site launch date: November 30

Well, that's what we're working towards now.
Testing continues. Our developers got side-tracked by the work they've had to do around the pesky US elections (hence the delay).

Every thing should be on track now.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Back on it full time!

Many thanks for your efforts so far - and to those of you who have recently expressed an interest in trialling the new site, a very warm welcome.

Our numbers are steadily rising and what you've been able to tell us has been extremely useful in honing the community to suit its users.

We're still fixing some of the bugs you've helped uncover. I'm now back from a brief break helping out another part of the business, and our developers are back full time on the LRO project.

Just as well really - we're committed to a mid-November public launch!

Please do come and have another try on the test site. Blogs in particular are worth persisting with as we're going to retain much of the content you've created in the blogs on the new site (obviously we'll get rid of the tests and errors) but we're now in a position where you can start building a strong blog to give yourself a great head-start when launch happens. Make sure you rate each others work, too!

Hope to see you soon over at:

Best regards

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bugs and fixes - and a brief break from me!

New site development is continuing well.
We're pretty much into bug fixing and things like data imports, creating the news archive and admin functions now.
There's no doubt, blogs and forums took longer than Toby estimated. So the reality is the launch is going to be rather later than I had led you all to believe - for which I apologise.
We're now looking at middle of next month for everything live and online.
My understanding is that this is a cast iron certainty - further drift ain't likely to get tolerated by any party!
What this also means is there is a short lull in the requirement for my full-time focus on the new site development. For this reason I feel I am able to answer a call from MCN (I am officially still on secondment from to bail them out of a pretty deep and unavaoidable hole. From Monday I'll be heading up the production team on MCN.
I've agreed to help out for just two weeks, to give them breathing space to re-organise.
I will be staying in minute-by-minute contact with the LRO new site development via all the usual routes. I may not be able to update the current site as often as I'd wish (but it won't be entirely neglected, I promise).
In the meantime, please keep testing the new site, I will see, and make the most of, all feedback you have to offer. And I'll still be looking in here, too.
The worrying thing is how little you might notice I'm gone!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Forums ready for testing

Click the headline above and you'll be able to trial the new LRO forums.
Currently I see one or two errors - the most critical of which is the fact that the jump-to drop down doesn't work.
Names/passwords are also a bit jumbled up after a recent import.
To test them you'll need to set up your own temporary registration on the test site.
Have a go and let me know what you think here - or by posting on there in the general forum.

There's no guide yet but you can do pretty much what you can with the blogs - ie add pics, links, html snippets (and therefore video hosted online) and you can rate poster, report abuse, send private message and other good stuff.

I also note we've drifted again on a finish date - best estimate now is end of next week (approx Oct 27)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Share function added to blogs

Those of you who have been following developments re the new site will be pleased to know we're close to completing the blogs.
We've now added a 'Blog Watcher' function which allows you to invite friends and colleagues to read and contribute to your blog.
They will get an email alert when you add new posts, so they'll never miss something you think they might be interested in.
A few tables seem to still be breaking but the developers are on that.
We've extended the range of categories and keywords you can choose from when creating your blog.
Let us know if there's something you think we are missing.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Now you can test video!

We've made it possible to show videos on your LRO test blog now.
There's an explanation of how on my 'how to use these blogs' blog.

Please give it a try and let me know what you think.

Start here:

Many thanks

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Archive function added

Our blogs have now had an archive function added, the search thing is in full effect and the developers are creating a limitation on the size of image that can uploaded.
Because so many people have been kind enough to help us test we've rapidly discovered flaws and elements which can make our blogs bother more user-friendly and easier to share.

Our latest estimate of completion of the whole site has had to be slightly revised as a result - but we're keen to get this stuff as right as possible before we inflict it on you!

So now, our guestimate is end of next week for the whole site, with a go live date of the early part of the following week.

Please keep your feedback coming. Volunteer testers will be recontacted again on Friday to be invited to test the updated blogs. Many thanks

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blog search and picture sizing

We're adding an element to the blog image uploader to resize images if they go beyond a certain size - thanks to your feedback.
We're also in the process of adding a search to the blogs home page. We will also be adding a 'featured blogs' element.
Keep the feedback coming please.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Classified ads online

Hello all,

I'm looking for some feedback and your brilliant ideas here.

If and when you are looking to sell your Land Rover, or some parts, how would you like to do it. How would you like to help.
Is it important to you to have your ad in print in the mag as well as online? Does being able to add video to your classified ad turn your head?

What's the fair balance between the price you pay and the response you get? By which I mean, do you find free ads work - (if they aren't also listed in print). Where do you get the best response.

When you are looking for things to buy where do you prefer: in print, on a website, which websites? How do you like to ask questions about what you want to buy? text, email, phone, face to face?

What are your fears when you put anything for sale on line - or when you try to advertise it?

Is LRO a magazine/website you turn to when making your buying and selling decisions?

Do we just help you make decisions and then you make your buying choice elsewhere? If so, where do you go and what would make you finish the job on our site? What would you like us to do more of - and less of in the process?

Do you like to be able to haggle? Do you prefer a fixed price so everyone knows where they stand? How important is a quick sale to you?

Would you be prepared to pay more for your ad if your item sold at the right price in a shorter time?

What else matters when you are looking for a land rover to buy? What bothers you about adverts? Anything you have to say in this field is very, very welcome positive or negative.

It is of course, really useful market research for us, but it could also make the difference in making the items you want to sell, sell fast, or in finding the items you want to buy as efficiently as possible.

Many thanks

Some fixes some errors

We've now added keywords so that users can select which categories they want their blog to appear in (a bit like tags) but the list hasn't been completed. If there are other bits that we should add, tell us so.

We're also working up the classified ad model. What kind of things would you want to see from your classified ads online? Would be great to hear your comments.

Back on the blogs, still having trouble with the first description field. Other faults we noticed on day one have been fixed and it's all getting a little easier to navigate.

Please keep the feedback coming.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The errors I've encountered (and logged) so far

Here's some stuff I found so far; they are all being fed back to the developers for rapid fixes:


When users create a blog there’s no way for them to find it again once published in current mode unless it is one of the top 10 rated.

When creating a blog, user writes title and then adds text.
The text filled in the ‘description’ text box doesn’t appear anywhere once saved.

This is very confusing for users who think their blog has disappeared.

In fact, I think what is happening is that the description field is not being displayed.


Error in text: (example provided to developers)

No way to edit text.

When creating a gallery – seems a bit odd that the wysiwg still shows abilty to add image icon. Could (should?) this be disabled in the gallery function?
When I selected this I seemed to have access to all the images uploaded by pc and cc. Am I meant to be able to see these. Selecting one resulted in an upload error.

Tried to rate this blog: (example provided to developers) while looking at its gallery. Got error message:
I'm sorry, but we could not retrieve the information you requested due to a technical problem with the site. The problem has been recorded and we will work to fix this as soon as possible.

cannot find blog

Was able to rate it when viewed at blog level!

Now having real trouble publishing a blog. Add content but then see now way of it appearing elsewhere. Ah ha! It ONLY appears once I have rated it (which I’m not meant to be able to do!)
(example provided to developers)
Also blog settings (description field), doesn’t appear anywhere to me?

On this page: (example provided to developers)

Post displays a broken image.

No way to edit content of post!

Edit blog settings simply returns edit ‘description’ field. No option for editing text of blog.

Still able to rate my own blogs! (11.50am, Friday)

Error when having a look at a users profile:

"I'm sorry, but we could not retrieve the information you requested due to a technical problem with the site. The problem has been recorded and we will work to fix this as soon as possible.


When I select private message, I get create a profile (for myself!)

Therefore I see no way to send private message?

Blogs now available for test

Hi all,

The new LRO blogs are now available for test.
We've got a few more bits to sort out - finishing off the blogs homepage, adding the video element, adding the email-a-friend easy-share stuff.

But the basic of creating, adding a post, editing them, adding images, adding galleries, adding links etc are all in pretty good shape. So is the ratings system.

I think it's all pretty user friendly. But I'm just one person. So let's hear back from those of you who have signed up to give it a try!

FYI a groups function will be added soon after launch - the backend for this is already in place.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Just seen the new blogs and tried them

Hi everyone.

I just had my first play on the new LRO blogs. They look pretty good - about the most user friendly I've seen so far.
Lots of easy-to-understand icons.
Image uploaded works a treat, video is still being finalised.
Rating system works nicely. Links are easy to do and understand.
So far I'm very chuffed.
A few more tweaks are going to be added tonight and it may be as early as tomorrow that I am able to share the blogs in their beta form with those of you who have put your necks out to give em a go.
I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Progress - but still plenty to do

I had the following IM conversation with our developers today:

How is LRO going?
Well, still getting there. Blogs are pretty much there now. I just have the front page to do plus some fields to add into the create a blog page. Then I will be able to let you loose on it.
Tomorrow morning, do you think, for playtime?
Yes, I would think.
Great. I have a few volunteers ready to trial it.
Once I have blogs cracked, I am going to do look and feel cleanup on forums. And then I'm left with the editorial cms (content management system) and the encyclopedic sections.
Well, I'm definatley going to need the weekend now. Once I have blogs and forums done, I will have a much better idea.

More updates as we get them. Add your comments below

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Blogs are still 'in progress'

Well, there have been a few minor glitches for our developers (power outages are pretty difficult for developers to work around!), so the delivery of blogs for testing is a little behind schedule.
However, they tell me they still intend to have everything finished by Sunday this week.
And Blogs should be finalised within the next two days.
I'll keep you posted!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Thanks for looking in

This blog is entirely aimed at those with an interest in the new build of the website (ie for Land Rover Owner magazine).

I'll use it to share news/updates and to gauge your opinions on what we are doing.

I actively welcome your ideas and feedback because we want to make this site, as much as possible (ie as much as we can afford!) match what you want.

So, here's the latest news:

We're very close to completing our own blogs module. If you want to be involved in early testing, watch this:

An improved forum will also be included.
The new site will also have a news archive. We're planning to have buying guides in some form or other, too.
Classified ads of Land Rovers for sale will be searchable.
Events guide stays, as does some great directory functions.

In other words you will have all the content you've enjoyed on the old site (including all the forums moving intact) PLUS Blogs, improved forums, a news archive, a new look, better ad types and some more stuff I've forgotten right now.

I'll keep you updated as things move on. The developers are still planning to hit the Sep 29 deadline to go into QA (ie testing).