BHDTA website survey results 2003

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to reply to our website survey. In just over a week we had 45 replies, which will all help us in making improvements to the site. Further down this page, we will reply to some of the comments you made, but first the statistics:

45 replies received
Members
 
Non-members
 
 
Involvement in carriage driving:
Driver
 
Groom
 
Supporter
 
Interested
 
 
How often do you visit the website ?
2-3 per week
 
Weekly
 
Daily
 
Less frequent
 
 
How easily can you find the information you want on the site ?
Very Easily
 
Fairly Easily
 
Average
 

All the replies received were from people resident in the UK and the majority were from BHDTA members.

Questions and answers
Below is a selection of some of the comments you made with answers and explanations where appropriate. All the comments were noted and will be forwarded to the BHDTA Council who ultimately decide what does or doesn't go on the website. Many thanks to everyone who responded. If you have any further comments, please feel free to email us at any time on website@horsedrivingtrials.co.uk

QI think the new results, selection and points tables are much easier to follow
AThank you. We have tried to simplify things and it seems to have helped. If there's anything else we can improve in this area, please let us know.
  
QWould like more information available as to where to buy harness carriages and many accessories.
AThis is a difficult one. We cannot recommend one manufacturer / retailer without mentioning all the others and this would be an impossible task. The most practical solution is to have a list of websites on our links page. Any carriage or harness retailer who has a website can ask to be included, and we already have a few listed.
  
QResults sometimes seem to take a long time.
AIt is the responsibility of event organisers to send the results to the BHDTA. As soon as we receive the results, they can be published on the website, often within minutes.

For most of the Nationals, the scoring is done on computer, which means the results can be emailed to us after the event - but only after the scorers have returned home, which may take a few hours for some of the further away events. Only very few events have the resources to allow result updates to the website from the event field (we did this at the National Championships last year).

A number of events, including some nationals and most club events and novice qualifiers do scoring manually. This means that the results then have to be faxed or mailed to us and transcribed onto the website. Again, the main delay here is in receiving the results from the event organisers.

Please remember that the people who do the scoring and results are all volunteers who do not get paid for their work. Most events cannot afford the expensive technology needed to provide instant updates for the web. We are trying to find solutions and we hope that the results service will improve.

  
QMore dressage pictures. Where are the junior clinic pictures ?
AThe BHDTA does no pay for photographers to attend events. Most of the pictures on the website have been taken by members, who have sent them to us. When we receive pictures, we usually publish them all - it seems that not many people take pictures of dressage. So here's a plea to all of you budding photographers - take some more dressage pictures and send them to us. The details of how to do this are on the front page of the photograph album section.

Professional photographers require payment for any pictures published on the web and the BHDTA does not have a budget for this. We have, however, made arrangements with a number of photographers, who supply us with pictures from the major events in return for the publicity and reprint orders that we give them. This has worked well and we hope it will continue during this season.

  
QI think the home page may become a little cluttered and sometimes there is a lot to sort through to find what you're looking for.
AWe have realised this is a problem. There is such a large number of areas on the website that making them all accessible from the front page is becoming increasingly difficult. We are looking into ways of simplifying this, but then there is always the danger of people not being able to find what they're looking for - a balance has to be found between the two.
  
QMaybe a "For Sale" section and better merchandise section.
AThe BHDTA have decided against having a free "For sale" section on the site. Introducing paid-for advertisements would involve setting up a whole system of payment collection and processing for which we just do not have the resources. We feel that there is  already a sufficient number of places on the web which offer these services, many targeted specifically at carriage drivers.

The range of BHDTA merchandise is not extensive and up till now we have not seen a need to change this section. However, if you have any specific suggestions, please let us know.

  
QMaybe event results posted as the day's event has finished.
ASee the reply to the results question above. If the results can be sent to us by email of FAX, they will appear on the site not long after the event has finished.
  
QI would like to see the whole newsletter including photos and advertisements. I drive at Open Club level and groom for various friends. It annoys me intensely that I don't receive a newsletter and the one on the web site is incomplete.
AReceiving the Carriage Horse newsletter is one of the benefits of BHDTA membership. The cost of the various membership categories reflects the services that members receive. When it was decided that the newsletter should be made freely available on the website, we had to make sure that we wouldn't lose members because of this. The full newsletter is therefore only available through the post to those who have paid the appropriate membership.

Advertisements in the newsletter are charged for at a rate that reflects the circulation of the newsletter. If these advertisements were also carried on the website, we would have to charge a higher rate because they would reach a wider audience. The BHDTA felt that an increase in the advertising rates was not justifiable.

  
QDiscussion forum as per SCDA website.
AA discussion forum was part of the original website specification. After further consultation, the BHDTA Council have decided that there were already sufficient forums and discussion groups on the web that the cost and effort of setting up and monitoring one would not be justified. Like many other things however, if enough interest is shown, this decision may well be reversed.
  
QMaps or link to 'streetmap' type website for directions and location to competitions and clinics.
AWe do include maps and directions to some events and clinics already. Some events take place in places that are not identified clearly enough on the mapping services available on the web and we have produced our own maps for these events. However, linking to these services is not difficult and we will definitely consider doing this in the future.
  
QA gossip column.
AIf you would like to be the columnist, or know someone who would, please let us know. This would make a very interesting addition to the site !
  
QMore written reports on events.
AMuch the same answer as above. All these jobs are done by volunteers and if we can find someone, we'll be delighted to publish their reports.
  
QCan you put the BHDTA rule book on the site in PDF format ?
AIt has been decided that the BHDTA rule book should be available only for purchase, either from the office or via the website merchandise. The proceeds from sales of the rule book are a source of funding that is needed to finance the work of the rules committee. Any changes to rules since the most recent edition of the book are reported on the website.
  
QMore club event dates would be helpful. I suspect only some of the affiliated Clubs provide their dates, its a shame its not got all the clubs.
AIn actual fact, we have had a much better response from the Clubs than we expected, to get the dates that are shown. It is always very difficult getting this sort of information. All the clubs have been asked to supply their dates and we have published everything that we have received. The main contact between the affiliated clubs and the BHDTA is via the Club Liaison Committee and the Regional Club Representatives, which are listed under "Affiliated clubs" on the website. If your club dates have not appeared, please make sure the secretary has sent them to their Regional Rep or directly to the website editor.

Many thanks to everyone who responded to the survey. If you have any further comments, please feel free to email us at any time on website@horsedrivingtrials.co.uk