Ideas for the Slow Ways website
Phase 2 of the project will be to publish a website that includes all of the Slow Ways... and to get out, explore and test them.
In a very simple summary, my vision for the website is that it has a number of key pages.
- Home page - Search for suggested ways to get between destinations, distances and route cards
- Slow Ways pages - Route options including a map, distances, connections, doability, ratings, verification levels
- Route pages - map, distances, connections, doability, ratings, verification levels, export GPX, add a new route, route card, elevation and other stats, map layers of useful info, maybe photos
- Destination pages - map, connected places, distances to places, guide, search to get to a destination
Every Slow Way page would contain the relevant route pages.
For 2-4 the pages would include functionality for descriptions, reports, forums and maybe photos - possibly all through a wiki approach.
I'd love to know your thoughts, ideas, cautions and suggestions for the site.
In relation to 2 & 3, as part of Phase 1 planning and route setting there's some interesting discussion around ways to manage long and remote routes in Scotland, and use of Bothies.
The aim is to use experienced perspectives to apply Slow Ways principles and sensitive consideration of issues arising, both in inital planning and in route-mapping. During Phase 1 and into Phase 2/route testing, it is worth clarifying that
1) a remote route can be pulled if it doesn't work, or creates issues that are beyond a Slow Ways 'remit'
2) remote lines can be removed if their use is marginal or unnecessary.
3) certain routes may fall in to the 'provocation' category described in the intro sessions, inviting further debate about their value and validity as a Slow Way1
My immediate thoughts:
- route design: is a route easy to navigate?
- web design:
there are technical criteria for design of "good" web pages, including accessibility.
From a very quick search, these examples:
https://ccconline.libguides.com/c.php?g=242130&p=1609638 excellent one page summary - including this sort of thing helps people arriving at the page assess if its presented by people who know what they doing. (so for example an error would never say 'something went wrong')
https://www.w3.org/WAI/test-evaluate/preliminary/ intro to accessibility - for example: will the page render successfully on a mobile, or using text to audio?
Thanks Rob. Good clarification... although I do think the Slow Ways remit does need to flex depending on local geographies.
Good suggestions Matt, thank you. Really helpful.0
Could you clarify a bit more about the difference between a Slow Way and a route?
What I would like to see as a potential walker is a way to note any problems found when walking a route, for possible verification/comment/update by others - so the ability to both initiate and reply to comments. Blocked or rerouted footpaths, closed (or new!) pubs and cafes, etc. If there is a way to send footpath reports to the relevant authority (e.g. as fixmystreet does) that would be a bonus.
Photos (especially of tricky sections), links to points of interest to look out for on the route, etc. are also nice to have. You could link in to the Geograph website for geolocated creative commons photos.1
Not sure if covered in the above but for me the ability to serve up a multi-segment route.. or route options would be really good.
i.e. I want to walk/run from X to Y but really that's a series of Slow Ways that could ba X - a -b - c- Y or maybe X - a - d- e -Y
With a summary of distance, which is shortest, which is quietest or has least challenges on.
And obviously then the option to download the full route as gpx, or maybe numbered individual segments...0
Matt - Ive found this web accessibility tool (WAVE) also really helpful once site design is underway: https://wave.webaim.org/
Agree with Katy, the use of photos offers a very immediate if not comprehensive sense of the character of a route and brings life and beauty to a web page, hence can be highly motivating, where stand-alone dry text isn't always? Also v useful from an do-ability perspective for same reason, and for identifying specific features/obstacles. But need to be taken/chosen with care so as not to mislead
Would be great to have a supporting app that allowed geo-tagged feedback on route changes/obstacles etc0
Agree with comments about feedback and discussion. This should include very simple way of saying 'I walked this route, and no problems', whether by emojis like smileys, thumbs up or star ratings. If this can be made available in time, it will be a major tool for the verification process too.
The whole process of keeping the web pages up to date will be quite complex too, and will have to be fairly automated. eg if a route needs to be revised, will it get a revision number / date / summary of the change - and will that be able to relate to comments made?
I've not really been a big user of other walking web sites like walkhighlands.co.uk with their opportunities to rate and submit walk reports, but no doubt other Slow Ways contributors have. They seem to work quite well (?)
I wasn't sure from your introduction, Daniel, but presume a big part of the site will be to allow people to build up a combination of segments into a longer route, and to choose the best options for themselves.
Yes, they/we need to be able to search for the best routes and then be able to download the various legs easily too.
I think the first site will need to be relatively simple, but that kind of functionality will need to be core.
Maybe we could brainstorm/list some functions/features ideas here?0
It would be useful to have a subsection for each route on options for intermediate resting points - pubs, shops, B&Bs etc. with opening times, which can be interactively updated as these facilities tend to change frequently (usually they close down rather than open).
Also links to bus & rail timetables, taxi firms, anything that helps get you to the start/finish/intermediate points.0
I'm not sure about lots of links and details like opening times - that seems ambitious to suggest we could keep that up to date for all routes. I'm happy to know that on route A on X date the rest stop options were the Lovely Cafe in Little Villageton and the Red Lion in Pubstead, and then if I'm planning to do that walk I'll search for the establishments' own websites or social media - very few places have nothing online these days but the links may change over time. Just let Google do the work.
A comment thread where you might get a "I walked this and the Red Lion is now the White Horse" is helpful and low effort. Having a structure to list opening times implies that they're up to date, but we couldn't guarantee. Realistically I'd want to confirm them before the walk anyway!0
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