As you may have read in Monday's forum post, the site was down for a short period today (Wednesday, January 27) to allow for a software upgrade, which Hoop.la (my site host) has aptly called "The Proximity Search Release". (You'll see why this is apt in a sec.)
I know you're going to love these changes! Though they've been a long time coming (I first suggested some of them to Hoop.la about two years ago), they are going to make connecting on this site SO much easier to do.
So, without further ado, here are the three major changes made in this upgrade:
1. Search for members based on proximity
What this means is that you can now search for members within a certain radius of a specified postal code/country, anywhere in the world! YAY! This search is available via the Advanced Search option. To access the Advanced Search option, simply click on the Search icon (magnifying glass) in the main navigation line and then on the blue "Advanced Search" link above the search entry box. A new page will open, entitled "Search". Click on "Members" in the dropdown menu that reveals right under the "Search" title. Once you do this, the following member search page will display:
Just scroll on down to the "Search by Geographical Data" link and click on it. The following page will then reveal:
Now, just enter the country and zip/postal code where you'd like to find members, select a proximity to that postal code in the dropdown menu to the right, and then hit the blue "Search" button at the bottom of the page. So, for instance, if you select "within 50 miles", all members located within 50 miles of the postal code you entered should come up in your search.
As you may have noticed in the image above, you also have the option to display the search results either as a list of members, or as members located on a map. Here's what came up when I selected the map option and searched for members within 50 miles of my zip code! (Hey, there are SO many more Missourians than I thought! )
Important Privacy Note: For reasons of privacy, a member can always opt not to enter his/her postal code in his/her member profile. The above geographic search will only find members who have entered accurate postal code information in their profiles.
2. Search by specific profile field
Again, via the Advanced Search option, you can now search the member database by any field in the member profile. Previously, you could only search by a member's displayed name and keywords. But now, you can search on many more specific variables, such as whether the member sells cookies, if s/he is a hobbyist or a home-based business operator, and so on.
To do this, simply follow the steps in Part 1 to open up the member search page and then click on the blue "Search by Specific Profile Field" link. Here's a partial view of what will come up:
I decided I wanted to get fancy and search for people within 50 miles of me who also sell cookies. So I left my previously entered geographical search criteria as they were and then also entered "Yes" in the "Cookies for Sale" field above. Then I hit the search button and ta-da . . .
Turns out, of the 30-plus members in my area, only 15 sell cookies - and I'm not one of them! But if I ever get a local order, I'll know exactly where to direct it. (Just click on any of the red balloons on the map, and the member's profile info will reveal!)
I hope you'll all take advantage of this enhanced search functionality by reaching out to members in your area and forging new connections. Just think of the possibilities! Now it's easier than ever to organize mini-meetups, to find cookiers to take on orders you can't handle, to send out invitations to classes you're conducting . . . the list goes on!
And last, but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, the third improvement is one I know many of you have been clamoring for, ever since the new site launched!
3. Backtracking issue in clips thumbnail area is fixed, and more!
Two key changes were made to the clips thumbnail page(s) to allow for easier and quicker viewing of clips. First, 90 clips are now loaded to each page (as opposed to 20); this means substantially less hitting of the "Load More" button (which, BTW, has been replaced by a page scrolling function at the bottom of the page). Additionally, if you click on an image to view the details and you want to return to where you were on the thumbnail page, you can! All you need to do is hit the back arrow in your browser. Yes, thankfully, peace and order have been restored!
And that's all she wrote! Again, I hope these new features make your experience on Cookie Connection that much sweeter! Enjoy!