A Challenge for Testers!

Hi, Testers! I really appreciate you taking the time to help me get Dollation.com in shape so that it can be opened up to more people. I would really like to have it go on-line before the holidays since many people get interested in dolls around then.

I've added a few features to the website to help us keep in touch -- I've added Newsletter Subscriptions to the user account page and I've added Forums to the Help section. You're subscribed to the newsletter now but you can unsubscribe at the website or by following the link at the bottom of any newsletter. 

One of the Forums is What's New, and I'll use it to keep you up-to-date when I add features and to issue challenges when I'd like some feedback on a particular section of the site. I just issued my first challenge there which is to try out the Events feature under Directory. Please go give the challenge a try (it's easy!) and comment in the forum when you're done.

Happy Dolling!

P.S. I've also created a Facebook page for Dollation. You can find a link on the homepage sidebar. If you're a Facebook user, please 'Like' us!

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Taffy
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As a number of the more senior doll collectors have accessibility issues, it might be helpful to run your site/pages through the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, http://wave.webaim.org, to make the site available to all those invited...

Curiously, colorblindness is not considered a disability in need of accomodation through accessibility features by the government, although it affects 8% of the male population.  Colorblindness only very rarely means a person can't see colors.  It's just that one or more of the color detecting cones in the retina has the sensitivity of its reception shifted up or down in frequency. Here are some sites that will show you the differences:

It always frosts me when I can't read what is on a site's page because the web developer did not choose colors I can see.

Here are some sites that will show you what people with the several kinds of colorblindness see:

Taffy

 

--
Taffy Cheerful -- taffy@cheerful.com
Take Your Doll to Work album: http://www.taffycheerful.com
"Growing old is inevitable; growing up is optional..."

JustMagicMaria
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I hear you, Taffy! I also have a friend who is visually impaired and a big doll fan who uses the Internet very effectively. She uses the JAWS screen reader and I hope to watch her with a notepad and make sure all my efforts to make it accessible are really effective. I'll take a look with the sites you recommended to try to ensure it is useable for people with color blindness too.

Maria
~ Your friendly code geek.

Anne
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By now you have noticed that every time I get on and try to navigate away from my profile page I have managed to crash some part of the server. I have now been told by another "code geek" that I need to repeat the error and copy the address line before and avfter the error occurrs. I'll be happy to try that but do you need it?

I really appreciate that you want to do so much with this site. Have you thought about approaching other websites (such as Crissy and Beth or the antiquie doll index site) to link for people wanting to research a doll they have? I think a cooperative network of all of you would be a real boon to collectors. The 2 sites I used as examples are well researched and document either something like specific trade and makers marks and doll production dates or focus on a specific doll group from a single company. A link to Doll Reader would not be out of line either since much of their archive is on line, Finally! They have expert articles on special niche dolls that most of us do not have the time and resources to research. I'd like them even better if they would site sources used to glean this information.

If this is going to be a publicly accessed site for doll lovers and collectors, then you need to think like a librarian in the 20th century who was dealing with the internet for the first time: Classify, quantify, identify to provide information for users.  Do you have an index of all the doll museums in the USA that have their own websites? Have you approached their web masters about connectivity to their sites? It would be worjtwhile for the community to know where the public and private Museums of the doll are.

If there is anything in this realm with which I can help I'll be happy to try.

JustMagicMaria
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Hi, Anne! Thank you for your report about the server error. I ran into that too and I'm trying to track it down.

Yes, I want to approach other site webmasters and see if we can collaborate in some way. I've started to do that with a few sites. Having maintained one of those sites myself (for 18" vinyl play dolls), I know what a lot of labor is involved and I designed this site to try to make that easier. But many site owners have a lot invested in their own website (in terms of time and creative energy) and I want to promote them too by linking to them.

There is a Links section under the Directory menu heading. At the bottom of Company pages (and soon other types of pages) there's a Links tab that shows which of those links is related to this company. When you're looking at the Crissy brand page in the Dollipedia, the CrissyAndBeth.com link should show up right at the bottom (once we add them!)

I thought of having a Wikipedia-style references section (for books and/or websites that were used to research the entry in the Dollipedia), but it seems like it would be redundant with the Links. As I've been adding Company and Brand entries, I've been quoting my sources using blockquotes and adding a link to the source of the quote in the case of a website right into the text. Does this make sense to you?

Maria
~ Your friendly code geek.

Anne
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Yes it does,  but I'm now having issues with the "intuitivness" or lack there of, of some things on this site. I still am working on my collection. I think the product now called "doll, Grace" should probably have been called "Antique doll ...mfr."  Grace has a Simon and Halbig head and a Handwerk compsition body. I think it was one of many dolls custom assembled in New York by an enterprising retailer. I remeber an article in Doll Reader about him but I can't find my copy with it in it right now so I haven't any more info. How do we approach entries like that? 

I think if approached properly the publication websites might cooperate with limited information sharing or they may just throw their archives open to you, I do't know. I know I get a monthly e-newsletter from them and I'm not a subscriber at this time. The latest one was about IDEX and encouraged me to sign up. ( I do not have the requisite boucoup dollars necessary to fly form Ohio to where ever it is this year, rent a hotel room, spend admission and of course dolly dollars at this thing.)

I know there are some for fee research sites that do provide full text articles to their members (usually libraries and colleges) who then provide such sites free to members, students or card holders. If we could somehow get atteched to one of these organizations maybe they would give us a fee free link we could use and that they could count in their statistics. Cincinnati's library lives on its statistics like Macy's live on it's revenue.

Ruby
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I definitely want to make the site intuitive. If you have a doll in your collection, you can create a Collection item for it in your Our Dolls / My Collection list. Call it whatever you think of it as. In the Create new item form, you can choose what Product it is an example of. In this particular case, it's an antique doll so it is more difficult to create a product (because there isn't as much "ephemera" about products from so long ago). And also, this is a particularly tough doll because it sounds like she is a hybrid put together from parts from two different doll companies.

I think the best thing to do would be to create entries for the two companies (Simon and Halbig & Handwerk). Then, create a Product that is associated with both. Now, your Colleciton item is an instance of that product. If you can find out about the retailer who custom assembled the doll, that would be great to put in the Description field of the Product. 

It sounds like a lot of work when all spelled out like that, but the next person who comes along with a Simon and Halbig doll has a lot less work to do. And for vintage and modern dolls, where there were a lot more of each product manufactured, most people who come to the Dollipedia will just have to click "I own this" on an existing product and they're done. They may notice some information is missing about a brand or company that is a particular favorite of theirs so they will research the information in one of their reference books or on-line and add it. 

Regarding the research sites, I do not know of many paid reference sites that would have much information about dolls. For sites put together by doll magazines, or other broad-topic sites by individuals or groups (like Wikipedia or CrissyAndBeth), we can already link into them where appropriate (and vice versa). I want to organize the information about dolls using our categories (Companies, Brands, Characters, Persons, Magazines, Events, Places, etc.) and then link to the external sources of information to supplement.

Ruby ~ Your hostess.

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