Looking ahead and looking back on the Miata, sports cars, clubs, and BAMD. Plus of course updates on my Miata.
|Entry # 16 (1,817 Views)
||Posted on January 20, 2011
The New BAMD website
We're launching a new BAMD website. Any day now. Some of you have probably noticed the changes creeping in already. In fact, these blog pages are part of the new website. So it's happening.
If we're honest, the first BAMD website was something of a hack job. Thrown together in a week so we could start organizing events back in 2009, it had four wheels and an engine, but it was justifiably criticized for its plain looks and lack of features. We spent the better part of a year throwing on mods, adding a lot of functionality, but the site still had the same chassis and the same old 1980s styling. As BAMD approached its first anniversary, we realized a major overhaul was in order. So that's what we did.
We kept a lot of stuff we liked. A paint job was needed, plus a whole new interior, so everything looks a little different. Like Zi's door panels, we're not sure we got all the colors exactly right, so we might need another trip to the paint store down the road. But colors aside, everything still works the same, or at least it will if we didn't break something when we had it all apart. We couldn't quite spring for a new engine (still running a Yahoo pushrod 4-cyl), but by removing some excess weight we think we'll get better 0-60 times. The shift linkage was beefed up so gearshifts should be smoother. A couple of new mods were added, one very recently on the suggestion of a brand new BAMD driver. We'll get to those in a minute.
The home page was totally reworked. The front end usually gets a lot of attention, especially from newer drivers, and we thought it should look sleeker. The nav system was repositioned higher up, and made a little less glaring. There's more information on the dash, including a featured BAMD Miata and the latest news from the Forum. The featured Miata will change every couple of weeks, but will only feature cars that are already on the Miata Page, so maybe that's a little incentive to get more drivers to post up a page with their Miata info.
If you look down at the very bottom of the home page, you'll see a link to a new privacy page. If you're like me, you'll totally ignore it, figuring we're already probably doing the right thing. But privacy is one of the founding principles of BAMD, and we wanted to spell it out. Plus it makes the page look totally pro.
Among the new features of the website is the new menu. This is now exactly the same on every page, including all the forum pages. Wherever you are in the website, if you get lost or confused or think you're about to do something you don't want to do, you can always extricate yourself by clicking on a menu selection. Any selection. Whatever you were doing will be quietly forgotten and you'll get to start over.
The main forum page still has a row of colorful icons (not everyone likes them, but this is one area where I get to be the webmaster). One of the icons is new, a picture of a roster. Clicking this will take you to a page that lists the login name of all BAMD drivers. When recent BAMD driver Karin C asked if we had an online roster available, I thought that might be an intrusion into driver privacy. Then I realized we already had a complete list of BAMD driver logins on the Private Messages page. Also, some drivers have set up Miata pages and others have authorized the display of some or all of their profile, so I didn't see a problem making that information available. So now we have a roster page, available only to registered drivers.
We also made a change to the Calendar page that lets drivers sign up for certain events online. We won't ever use it for group drives, and we probably won't use it for tech days, but we could use it for things like caravans to UFO events, or even something like Steve's upcoming Dyno day. We'll try it out one of these days. You'll know when we do, because the event name in the calendar will be underlined. Clicking the event name will take you to the sign-up page.
We've always emphasized that BAMD is all about driving our Miatas, working on Miatas, and otherwise doing things together with our Miatas. BAMD has never been about the website. But the BAMD website keeps us in touch, and it's the website that brings new drivers out to events. So we want it to be useful and informative, and we want BAMD drivers to stop by the site from time to time to see what's going on.
We hope you like the new look of the website, or at least the new functionality. As always, this is your website and we can make it do pretty much whatever we want. We've also proven that we can screw things up pretty well, so if something isn't working as advertised, don't assume you're doing something wrong. More likely something is broken. We can fix it, but to do that we have to know about it first. Send a PM (if PMs are working), or at least send an email.