first impressions

This weekend I am timing the Northwest Youth Club Championships. This meet is being held at Willamette University and hosted by the Salem Track Club. Because this event is a USATF Event is used for the meet registration.

This was my first experience with using Coach O for registration and unfortunately it won’t be my last. From a functional standpoint it does just about everything you would need. The fact that it ties directly into the USATF membership database is really nice. However, from a usability standpoint it is absolutely terrible.

For some reason every time anyone creates or changes an entry, I need to get an email about it. I got over 100 emails that I did not need or want. Plus now I have to sift through these pointless emails so I can find the ones that actually need attention and I got several because at the bottom of each page is some text which instructs people to send technical questions regarding on-line meet entry to me. This is not my entry system, I didn’t write it, nor do I know anything about it, why am I answering technical questions?

Navigating around the admin interface is cumbersome at best. Let’s say I want to see the performance list. In a well-designed interface, I would just click on a link and see a performance list. In Coach O it takes 5 clicks.

  1. You need to click on Meet entries to expand your admin choices regarding meet entries.
  2. You are presented with a series of menu buttons and you need to select: display performance list.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the continue button
  4. Select weather you want to display the list sorted by mark or by team
  5. Click the continue button

You have to go through a similar process for everything. It got very annoying very fast. You have to select a menu item then click a button. Why can’t I just click the menu item? The example of the performance list is a public function. If I wanted to access something that was only for meet admins, like viewing rosters, then I need a pass-code You are prompted for this every time you do just about anything. Why can’t I just log in and the system knows I%u2019m an admin?

There is plenty more that’s wrong with the Coach O registration system and the registration end is not any easier.

I have used several online registration systems of the last decade including one that I wrote myself. None, however none are as bad as Coach O. Because Coach O ties into the USATF membership database, I have to go through the pains of using it again in two weeks for the USATF Oregon Association Junior Olympic Outdoor Track And Field Championships. first impressions
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