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Website Improvements Inspired by Hikers

Posted by Loren Drummond at Jul 17, 2014 01:45 PM |

You may have noticed a few changes on wta.org in the last week—including larger photos and maps on hiking pages and new features in trip reports. The changes were directly inspired by the hiking community!

You may have noticed a few changes on wta.org in the last week—including larger photos and maps on hiking pages and new features in trip reports. The changes were directly inspired by the hiking community!

We're constantly collecting feedback from our community about how you use our website, and many of those thoughts informed the new changes, which include larger images and more options for trip reporting.

Maps and facts

Over the last few years, we gotten a lot of feedback asking for clearer and larger trail data (trail length, elevation gain and permits). So, we enlarged and elevated the essential stats to the top of the page, and called out at-a-glance features (like waterfalls or established backcountry campsites) that you're likely to find along a trail.

We also created a new Map & Directions section for every hike, where you will find the trailhead location map (now much larger) and directions. This area also lists other resources to plan a safe hike: ranger station info, maps and guidebooks.

Map and Directions screenshot

Trip reports: showcasing your stunning images from Washington's trails

Your trip reports are the heart and soul of WTA, where thousands of hikers give back to trails and to each other by scouting out conditions year-round. But your trip reports do more than report conditions; they inspire all of us here at WTA and the hiking community to get out and explore new places.

Reading your trip reports has always been a pleasure, but the new design makes your stories and incredible photos really come alive. (Interested in the trip report below? Read about Ponder and Muse's backpacking trip in Olympic National Park.)

Fields of avalanche lilies above Appleton Pass from a recent trip from Ponder and Muse. Photo by Ponder.

 

Your photos and stories inspire us, and we wanted to show them in all of their glory. Here are some of the key features of your trip reports:

  • Your photos display larger, and you can include a video report from YouTube or Vimeo.
  • There are more options to report on road, snow and bug conditions.
  • When you are logged in, look for the green edit button (top left above the WTA logo) to edit the text, photos or captions of your reports.
  • Advanced search: continue to search reports by trail, author, date, month or type of trip.
  • Sort trip reports: you can sort trip reports by date hiked or by the date they were filed.

Trip Report Search and Sort

Rating hikes: log in to rate your favorite hikes

What makes a 5-star hike a 5-star hike? You do!

The stars on hikes correspond to the trails you love best, but it will take a few months of you rating hikes to make them a more accurate measure of greatness. The more trails you rate, the better the ratings will be. Log in (or create a My Backpack account) to start rating your favorite trails.

Hike tools: share, save or improve

Many of the features of our Hiking Guide and Trip Reports work exactly the same as they did before, but they have a new look.

Save a hike to your My Backpack account, share it with your community, or help us make improvements to the content by filling in missing trailhead coordinates, directions, map data, guidebooks, etc.

Share Save Update Screenshot

The invisible changes: website speed

You love to be outside, and we don't want anything—including slow web pages—to get in your way.

We've made some big changes in the last month to make wta.org snappier, and as we continue to grow, we'll do everything we can to make sure we meet the demand of hikers who want to learn about and share experiences from the trail.

Community resource: share your thoughts,  help us find bugs and plan for the future

We've already heard from many of you about the new layout in the Hiking Guide and Trip Report pages, but we always welcome feedback about the website. We're also still working out a few kinks with the update; a huge thanks to folks who helped us spot the issues and took the time to let us know.

As a community-supported non-profit, we invest our resources carefully to make changes that will have the most impact in helping hikers explore and protect Washington's trails. Your feedback is invaluable in helping us do that.


And if you rely on wta.org to get out on trails in Washington, consider chipping in a donation of $5, $15 or $50 to help fuel (and improve) this community resource. Thank you!

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