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Introducing PDD Calendar Beta Test +

Perfect Duluth Day is launching an events calendar, and for the next month or so you can preview it at it’s permanent URL:

perfectduluthday.com/calendar

We have created this calendar because a majority of posts to the PDD Blog are about events, but the format of a blog is not a practical way to organize that type of information. If you wanted to know what’s happening today based on PDD posts, you’d have to select the “events” category and skim through weeks of random items looking for today’s date. That is lame.

So today our calendar is born. It doesn’t have a ton of events in it yet, and it probably has some technical issues left to be fixed, but the general format is set and it has seemed to be working well during our initial testing phase.

Check it out and tell us what you think with a comment to this post or an e-mail to calendar @ perfectduluthday.com.

We’re going to intentionally not give you a tutorial because we’d like to hear from you about whether it works well intuitively or if there’s a learning curve to using it.

Props to our tech nerd Cory Fechner, who programmed the calendar. It is not a WordPress plugin or a customization of some other existing program. It was built by Cory to do exactly what we want it to do — so we can even make changes to how it works without sorting through code written in German! On the other hand, it’s also not something that’s been used by thousands of people and tweaked over several years. It’s new and likely to have flaws our inner circle hasn’t noticed — and probably some data entry errors. So let us know what’s messed up, yo.

We’ll be working to add more events to the calendar, and there are two ways you can help with that:

1) Submit an Event using our verbose-but-hopefully-not-too-complicated form.

2) Spread the word about our job opening for a calendar editor. We’re going to need help to do this right.

We’ll take your questions as they come, but we imagine your first one will be: “Can I still post about events in the blog?” The answer for now is yes, but we intend to modify our blog policies in a month or so when the calendar hits its stride, and at that time we won’t totally outlaw event posts, but we’ll have some conditions set to keep the blog and calendar from being redundant.

We see the calendar as an opportunity to improve the blog by allowing hot posts to hang on the home page longer instead of being driven off by eight different announcements a day about public meetings, rock concerts, yoga classes and 5k runs. We’ll have a proper place for those things now.

Once the calendar editor is on board, it’ll be part of that job to post on the blog about highlights to the week’s events, so there will still be chances to comment on events occasionally. Also, as previously mentioned, event posts on the blog won’t be totally outlawed, so it will still be acceptable to post important event-related items from time to time — give us a month to brush up our policy on that.

Now stop reading this and poke around the calendar already. Just make sure you don’t go to so many events that you stop playing on the Internet. If you do that this whole thing will fall apart.

35 Comment(s)

  1. Cheers to Cory and the Inner Circle--the calendar looks great and it’s an excellent idea!

    Now I’ll be able to look at posts with scary pictures of local musicians with blood or underwear on their heads or video clips of loony politicians for longer before they get pushed off the top of the blog by posts about rhubarb festivals and bake sales. Thanks folks!

    davids | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  2. GREAT idea!

    Ethan | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  3. Können Sie es auf Deutsch bilden?

    adam | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  4. This is great! And, I like the format. Amazing amount of events for each day, sort of adds to my anxiety about missing out on things. But I’ll forgive you for that.

    magus | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  5. Wow, this is GREAT! I am overwhelmed, though, by everything that’s going on today — and you didn’t even include Harry Potter at midnight.

    Claire | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  6. I love this idea!

    My two-cent suggestion is, if an event has a webpage, can the webpage be linked to the event? For example, I click on “Head of the Lakes Fair” to see if there’s any decent music playing there, and both links under the entry lead to the PDD Calendar page -- I have to manually google the fair page. It’d be nice if one link led right there!

    HappyHippo | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  7. I take that back. Either something was being updated while I was typing, or (FAR more likely), the website link was there all along and I was just being a doof.

    I still love this idea, though. :P

    HappyHippo | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  8. Weird, my work blocks “http://calendar.perfectduluthday.com/” and “http://perfectduluthday.com/” even though it allows “http://www.perfectduluthday.com/”. I’d bring up the discrepancy, but it would probably just result in a total PDD ban, so I’ll just check out the calendar when I get home…

    Bad Cat! | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  9. There is a grey button on events that we add in the website URL. For your example there is a web site link. Grey button ‘website’ under the event details.

    http://calendar.perfectduluthday.com/Head-of-the-Lakes-Fair-2011-07-14

    Cory Fechner | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  10. Is there a calendar like interface in the works where I can select a date from something that looks like a calendar instead of a drop down window? Even better yet, a calendar which had some inkling of what kind of events might be on that day, like a shrunk down version of the promotion art would be cool.

    ironic1 | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  11. This is beautiful.

    doubledutch | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  12. Oh, I hadn’t noticed the days of the week on the header. Very clever. I like.

    ironic1 | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  13. I like the calendar format- a lot! My only fear is that without the events to break up the other posts, the blog will turn into one giant troll zone.

    TimK | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  14. I like the calendar a lot. It’s a great idea and much-needed. But I will be sorry not to see events posts on the blog. I don’t plan my week by looking at what’s happening on a coming Thursday or Friday or whatever. I make time to go to things I really want to go to if I happen to find out about them. So if you don’t tell me on the blog that there’s a cool thing happening next Wednesday, I won’t know about it. Because I won’t be surfing through next Wednesday’s calendar unless I’ve got out of town guests I have to entertain or something. Maybe I’m not your target audience, though. I don’t go to much, and never go to hear local bands.

    bluenewt | Jul 14, 2011 | New Comment
  15. That’s a nice idea.

    The ‘long list in a squashed space’ format isn’t very useful for scanning at a glance. You might consider making user interface enhancements.

    Error notification beyond ‘alert(“The required information is incomplete or contains errors:\n\n* You noob… Pick a date!”)’ would be a good step, too

    Matilda | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  16. Bluenewt, here’s how I think this calendar will work in your favor:

    In the future there will be posts on PDD outlining highlights of the coming week’s events, referring you to the calendar for details. So it will work both ways: You can go to the detailed information when you want, but the abridged information will still come to you.

    To Matilda’s point:

    It’s true that more options isn’t always better than fewer options. The more items there are in the calendar, the more difficult it is to find the one you want.

    On the other hand, it’s almost impossible to custom-feed the information to each individual. (Even on Facebook I get invited to more events that I don’t want to go to than ones I do.)

    That being said, we hope to have things categorized well enough that you can look exclusively at auto racing events, for example, if that’s all you’re into.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  17. Getting deeper into Matilda’s comment about the “long list in a squashed space,” I’d like to put this out there:

    On the daily lists of events, we could consider removing the description, so that it would only be visible if you clicked for more details. That would look something like this:

    Pro: Less scrolling to see all the events.
    Con: More clicking if you want details.

    Right now events generally look like this:

    Pros & cons: Opposite of above.

    Right now if you click on an event you get an expanded profile, with tags to similar events, links to the event website, how to buy tickets and the Facebook event invite, plus social media buttons for you to share the event with friends:

    While the tools on this third view can be useful, the litany of icons is ugly, so we pretty much refuse to display the fully expanded item on lists of daily events.

    But we would consider pulling out the description on the daily listings.

    So I ask you all this:

    Do you like option #1: fewer details and easier scrolling?

    Or do you like the way it is now, option #2: details shown, more scrolling necessary?

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  18. Will the calendar have an rss feed? I might not remember to check it on a regular basis, but if events showed up in a feed, I’d be able to see everything that came by.

    Bad Cat! | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  19. As for format, how about a combination of the above? Post the main guts of the event on the main calendar page, some basic info, and a small portion of the summary. Anything beyond that would go in the event page which can explain the event at length. Also, consider moving the event photo to the right of the text to make for easier page scanning if you’re looking for a particular event.

    Here’s an example:

    Event Title | Event Photo
    Date -- Time -- Cost
    Here is the first 72 characters of the event description. You can click…
    Tags: Event

    Opening the event page would result in:

    Event Title | Larger Event Photo
    Date -- Time
    Cost
    Event Location
    Website | Purchase Tickets

    Here is the first 72 characters of the event description. You can click the event link to get a second sentence that goes into more detail. Here’s a third that expands into a history of the event. Here’s a fourth that explains logistics, such as parking at all that crap.

    Tags: Event
    Social media sharing stuff

    Bad Cat! | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  20. There will be an RSS feed once we launch for realsies — or probably before we launch for realsies — but maybe some time after we launch for realsies.

    We are considering the suggestion of showing partial descriptions, but for now I think it’s better to look at it as a question of whether to show the descriptions at all or not on the main pages. If the general sentiment is to show them, we will certainly start cutting off and jumping the longer ones. Thanks for bringing that up, Bad Cat!, because knowing the descriptions will be kept brief on the main pages might sway some opinions one way or the other.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  21. This is a great idea and it worked pretty well when I entered a calendar event. But because the event was scheduled for multiple dates with differing times, the actual posting on PDD indicates an incorrect time for the date shown. I may have been the one making an error. Is there a way… or will there be a way to make corrections?

    Voula Heffernan | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  22. The answer to the general question of how to fix something that’s wrong is to e-mail calendar @ perfectduluthday.com and explain the situation.

    Voula, the event you submitted was already in the calendar, so if there is wrong info it must have been wrong from the previous source or was screwed up in the data entry. I’ll take a look at what you submitted and the e-mail you sent and get this straightened out.

    Paul Lundgren | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  23. Love, LOve, LOVE the new calendar!
    Wow, lots of things scheduled for today!
    Thanks to all involved!

    heysme | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  24. Just so everyone is clear. When you “Submit an event” you are not posting the event real-time. The event is submitted into the system for moderators to review, confirm the event and information and make sure it is not already in the system, etc.

    Our goal for the calendar is to make sure that data is as accurate as possible and in order to do that we will review and modify all event submissions as needed to make sure our users get the best info available for all events in our system.

    Thanks again for the comments, feedback and testing -- keep it coming -- this calendar would not be possible without all our great blog users and visitors. Thank you all!

    Cory Fechner | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  25. How soon before we get this calendar “button?” My mobile phone does a page-jump kind of thing after so many blog entries and this thread will soon be a long scroll away for me.

    TimK | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  26. Thanks for doing all this for the community. I think the calendar will be great! If it gets me laid somehow, I’m donating.

    Matilda | Jul 15, 2011 | New Comment
  27. Excellent. This is most of the reason I come to PDD in the first place. Great idea and execution.

    Will | Jul 16, 2011 | New Comment
  28. Great idea and wonderful execution. LOVE IT! I look forward to the RSS feed.

    Kerry | Jul 18, 2011 | New Comment
  29. Paul -- I’ll chime in and say of the 3 options you outlined for how to show events in the list view, I vote for the first/shortest. It would make for easier scrolling/scanning or a days events and if the title, image, or location pique my curiosity, I’ll click to see the details and description.

    On to why I’m really posting. I noticed a possible hiccup. I see that the calendar has +1 button at the top of the left column. I noticed this on an earlier visit to the calendar and +’d an event that I liked when viewing the events detail page. When visiting the calendar today I attempted to do the same thing and +1 an event I was interested in while on it’s detail page. Rather than incrementing the total +’s, it subtracted one. I played with it for a minute and found that it is applied calendar wide and you aren’t able to + an individual event.

    Love the calendar and will use it often but just wanted to bring this to someone’s attention.

    John | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  30. Thanks for the feedback.

    Currently the +1 and Facebook Like on the left top are set to tag the main PDD calendar in general.

    Under an event description on the event details page we have the ability to FB share or Tweet that specific event. We may be adding the +1 icon down there as well to allow +1-ing a specific event.

    Cory Fechner | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  31. Where’s the calendar button?!

    TimK | Sep 6, 2011 | New Comment
  32. Full launch coming on Monday, Sept. 12 — complete with handy homepage link.

    Paul Lundgren | Sep 6, 2011 | New Comment
  33. One thing I’ve noticed is that you don’t have much on there. But I suppose that would be up to venues/artists/promoters to add more content to the calendar and make it fully representative of what’s happening, huh?

    wildgoose | Sep 6, 2011 | New Comment
  34. There haven’t been too many events listed because we’ve been in test mode — spending our energy on fixing the functionality rather than event data entry. That focus will be changing now to making sure the calendar listings are as comprehensive as possible.

    The calendar won’t be perfect by next Monday, but it will be closer to perfect. We’ll keep getting better as time goes on.

    Paul Lundgren | Sep 6, 2011 | New Comment
  35. I love the fact that there’s an RSS feed but it doesn’t seem to be in iCalendar format. I’m sure it works fine if you’re connecting through a news reader but I would prefer to see it on my calendar app.

    vespoid | Sep 14, 2012 | New Comment

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