Hello! I'm Joelle, your friendly neighborhood web designer. Jennifer asked me to pop in and share some news about the new site, as well as some tidbits to help those who might be struggling with this new-fangled, fancy-pants interface and features.
ATTENTION AOL USERS!
I can't stress this enough, if you're using AOL for your internet service provider, this site must be viewed in a standard industry browser, such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox or Chrome. The browser that is embedded within AOL is stuffed with a bunch of proprietary code and wingnuts that can cause an otherwise lovely website to not work or display improperly.
So, I implore you, before you decide the website doesn't work and throw in the proverbial towel (or get upset!), please try viewing the site from a browser on your desktop or within your programs, not within AOL itself. Thank you so much!
HAVING TROUBLE LOGGING IN?
This could possibly be because your username contains space or characters that don't belong in the system. The original system the website was built on allowed spaces and characters, but in order for this updated system to function properly, we had to put the kibash on that. If you have trouble with this, please use this link to access your edit screen and update your username. Until then you will not be able to access most of the Readers' Circle features.
I KEEP GETTING AN OOPS PAGE!
The “oops!” page is there when you've tried to access a page that no longer exists. Before sending in an email, please try clicking on other links, such as the “Home” button or the “Jennifer Chiaverini” banner or any other tab in the navigation. If you still get the Oops! page, then there is likely a problem, in which case, please visit the contact page to send an email choosing the subject “Technical Issue” from the drop-down menu. Jennifer or I will do what we can to help at our earliest availability.
HELP! I'm having problems logging in, updating my profile or otherwise functioning on the website and I'm NOT using AOL!
This site was heavily tested under various user scenarios, so it's unlikely that it's the website itself that's the culprit. It could be a result of the username/space issue mentioned above or it could be a browser issue or it could be a matter of a forgotten username or password. If you do have a concern about the website, please provide thorough information in your email inquiry. Please do not just report that the website “doesn't work”. We'll need more information in order to help you, so please have the following information ready.
- What is the error you're receiving?
- What were you doing when you received the error?
- What browser are you using (and even better, what version of that browser are you using? Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8? Firefox 2, 3?)
- Are you on a Mac or a PC?
- What is your username?
- What is your password? (Some situations will require we have your password in order to test the situation as you if we're unable to recreate it on our own.)
Please do not post your username or password in the comments of this post. Please email using the contact form and select “Technical Issue” from the drop-down subject menu.
A WORD ABOUT BROWSERS
Many people don't realize that web browsers don't always update themselves. They're not all set to automatically update — so if you've not updated your web browser in a long time (or ever), I highly recommend to upgrade to the latest versions of your chosen browser. You can usually check for updates by clicking Help > Check for Updates (Firefox) or similar. The links below will take you to the recent versions of the most popular industry-standard web browsers available.
- Internet Explorer 8 (the “9” is available, as well, but is a “release candidate” and not 100% ready for prime time, in my opinion)
- Firefox 3.6
- Google Chrome
- Apple Safari 5 (both on PC and Mac)
If you are not computer savvy, I recommend having someone who is (a relative or friend) help you out.
WHAT ARE GROUPS? WHAT ARE TOPICS?
Groups are similar to a forum. If you've used Flickr before, you may be familiar with groups — except in this case, it's text and not photos. Essentially, Readers are able to start a group about a specific topic or a specific locale. Please keep groups fairly general, you can add topics to the group once the group is created. i.e. , if you have a group called “Michigan Book Club”, you might have topics within that group about a meet-up you have planned or a certain book you're reading. If you have a group called “East Coast Quilters”, you might have topics within that group for specific regions on the East Coast. These are just examples.
Please use discretion when creating a group. Please confirm there is not already a similar group created — if so, please join that group, do not start a new one. The same applies to topics within your group. If you already have a topic on “favorite christmas patterns”, don't start one called “Your favorite christmas quilt patterns”. It's the same thing.
You run the risk of your post being deleted as a duplicate if you insist on creating same/similar groups, so please take just a brief moment to check that there isn't already a similar group. Thank you!
WHAT'S A WALL?
Each group created automatically has a “wall”. The wall is very similar to Facebook's wall, except it's on Group profiles and not personal pages. These might be fun if you have questions about a particular group that don't fall into a specific category or you just want to introduce yourself.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
If you still have questions about the Readers' Circle or website, you can visit the Readers' Circle FAQ here.
I had a great time working on this website and always enjoy working with Jennifer. It's a massive website and the changes made are quite advanced, so much work was put into making this a beautiful place for you to learn more about Jennifer's books and participate with other Elm Creek Readers.
But, I also totally understand that this is a new scenario and there will be an adjustment as we've moved the former 2005 site into a much more advanced 2011 website. Much has been changed in website technology in the last 6 years, so there's going to be a learning curve and a few kinks to work out. So, in the meantime, I really appreciate your patience and your kindness as you report any quirks in the system.
Thank you so much for visiting Jennifer's site and I hope you enjoy it!