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XOPA Website -- Design Philosophy
There are several good reasons for documenting the design philosophy of the XOPA website, including the following:
Background on the Initial XOG Website
Originally the group was called XOG (Ximango Owners Group) and was fashioned after the Harley HOG. It used a ListServ tool for LSOFT to circulate e-mails amongst the group. This was championed by Bruce Schimmel. In 2008 it was decided that this approach was getting dated and he was considering moving to a Google Group or Yahoo Group. The problem with these are they have limited capabilities to share specialized data, they are limited in size, and are frequently attacked by spammers. Steve Sliwa volunteered to put up a new website.
Steve initially used a service by Wild Apricot to bring the system up in early 2009. It was recommend by Tom Fraser, a former Ximango owner and member of XOPA, as he uses it for his Cub Crafters Owners Group. He learned about the system from the president of COPA (Cirrus Owners and Pilot's Association). COPA's website is amazing and they have invested 6 figures to get it where it is today.
This initial website was brought up in a weekend. Wild Apricot specializes in membership driven organizations and the tools help collect fees for memberships and/or special events. The other tools such as forums, blogs, and galleries are incidental to its main goal of helping non-profits raise money. This is not the goal of XOPA. Further when Steve would try to contact them about needed features and/or fix bugs, it was not forthcoming. He noted their own forum tools for their company were better than the forums inside the tools they publish.
The main issues with the initial xog.memberlodge.or site were the following:
So Steve decided to launch the new website.
Design Philosophy of XOPA
Based upon a survey of membership and analyzing the uses of the intial XOB website, it was determined to emphasize the following areas:
Based upon the goals it was decided to use a forum community system as the home membership system and add a knowledgebase or wiki tool to it. Open source, but supported tools would be the best. Ideally these would be put together so it would appear as if was one tool.
So the design looks something like the following:
The structure above is the design philosophy. Research was performed and the actual design tools and original specifications are included in another document.
Incidentally, Steve's state reasons for taking on this project are as follows: