This is part 1 of a series of posts planned as a review of the Opencaching website. Readers are encouraged to contribute their thoughts. After over a year to develop the site, this is an attempt to see how they have progressed, including benefits and faults. If you want to see a previous post, you can start here.
Opencaching.com is where we will start our review. The main page of the site doesn’t appear complicated, providing some rather basic options to a visitor without overwhelming your senses.
There is a basic menu up top, a nice entry box for you to search for a geocache, a link to the beginner’s guide and the ability for established geocachers to import their caches from another site. The introduction seems rather self explanatory if you are someone coming from another geocaching site. For a brand new, never cached before user, some of it may seem odd. We’ll come back to the meaning behind the language another day. Our focus today is to set up an account. We need an account to explore many features. You’ll find the option to create an account in the upper right corner…here:
Now a few things to note as we continue. If you already have a Garmin account, you do not need to create another account. You can log in using your Garmin account and skip this step.
If you do not have a Garmin account, then lets continue.
When you click to create an account, you’ll be presented with just a few options:
1. An e-mail address. This is so you can receive e-mails through the site.
2. A username. Generally, using your actual name is not recommended but people have done so without problems. Many geocachers will use or create a nickname. Since you will be signing your name on logsheets that can vary in size, it’s often a good idea to pick a name that isn’t so long you’ll get tired of writing it. Mr.TravelingStarryCacherNerd might get annoying for me to write so I’ll just stick with TripCyclone.
3. A password. Pick something you’ll remember that isn’t easy for someone to guess. Yes, you might have to consider abandoning “Password” as your password. I know it is easy to remember but too many people have had their accounts hacked because they wanted something too easy. Try “HardPassword” instead. Nobody will ever guess that.
We have one more thing we are going to look at tonight and that is your account settings. So make sure you are logged in with your new account. You’ll now notice your name in the upper right corner if you are logged in. Next to it is a little arrow. Highlight it to see a menu like this:
Once there, it will take you to profile information by default. Go ahead and enter whatever information you want to add about yourself. I’ve started to enter mine:
Once you finish that, scroll down and select the blue button labeled “Update & Save”.
Once you finish, scroll down and select the blue “Update & Save” button. It will reload the page. We are going to ignore “Super Secret Password”, which is where you can go to reset your password, and select “Preferences”.
Here, you currently have two options: whether to receive emails about new features, products, or special offers and an option for how to display coordinates on the site. Select your choices and click on the blue “Save Preferences” button.
We are done for today. The “Import” feature will be explored another day due to some aspects about that feature. But wait, let’s make sure you’re profile displays properly. Click on the “Profile Info” tab to go back to where you entered some information. Right above where you can change your username, there is a link to show you your public profile. Click on it.
Wait a second. I am not seeing any of the details? Are you? For what we are looking at today, this seems to be the one more obvious fault I’ve found. Maybe it just hasn’t been implemented yet. But, there is no reason not to go ahead and fill out the profile information in case it does get fixed. There are likely more important flaws to address.
Pro’s: These first few steps were quick and easy. Good qualities when creating an account. Nothing on the site requires payment so there is no need to wade through different membership options. With no personal information beyond an e-mail address being needed, you can easily create an account in a matter of a minutes. The design makes it is easy to find basic information straight from the main page. Finally, there are not a lot of settings at the moment so you won’t spend too long adjusting your settings if you so desire.
Con’s: Amongst today’s exploration, there are no major flaws, just a few cosmetic flaws. The main page introduction is nice and succinct, but may seem confusing to someone new to the geocaching world due references to why the site was created. Unless someone was attentive to the wording, most might gloss over it without a second thought. Currently, it appears my profile information does not seem to display when looking at my public profile. This is not a detrimental flaw, as it doesn’t really have any bearing on your ability to geocache, but is likely to be noticed by users.
That is it for today. Tomorrow, we will look at basic site navigation.