Plant DB - data & user friendly

Richard Morris webmaster at
Fri Dec 21 06:32:49 EST 2001

> From:     1earth permaculture <permaculture1 at>
> Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001 20:00:14 +1000
> Hi Rich and all working on the new Plant DB.
> Having hosted the Australian mirror of PFAF for a few years now I can
> see some room for improvement and will be joining the Yahoo group
> to assist where I can (ideas/beta
> testing/whatever)
> First up, user friendly and user pays would be ideal. I've tried the
> old "please click our sponsor before entering the database" to earn a
> few cents to pay for the web-hosting - less than 1% of visitors
> actually click the banner, so I end up losing money as it doesn't even
> pay for the bandwidth.  

Yep, a big problem with online content providers - making it pay.
No one has really sussed this yet. Advertising, subscriptions,
click to donate systems all have problems. I dream of working 
micro-payment system. Perhaps the best is to use the online content
as a giant advert for offline content, we do all right with people
asking for the access version of the database.
Having friendly ISP's like ibiblio is a real boon.

> Also, many folk bypass the entry page by
> bookmarking pages, and hundreds of hits every month actually use the
> .exe files rather than any webpage (an unscrupuluous webmaster no
> doubt - hehehehe good luck to them, at least the DB is being used).

I think the problem here is search engines. They tend to pick up
the individual database pages rather that the front page.
> How about an advert on the DB webpages for the PFAF book - sales will
> help PFAF financially.  

Yep its in the TO DO list.

> Rich, I'll add a link to your credit card
> donation scheme, and a note about the Friends of PFAF.

Nice one. I've now signed up with PayPal as well 

> Suggestions to help it become user friendly: think global - have a box
> asking for the user's location (country or hemisphere) on entry to the
> DB so that data for seasons and planting guides will show the proper
> month and season relevant to the user. We never know if the guide that
> we are using is northern hemisphere or southern.  Also, if they enter
> a specific location, the DB would also reveal whether the user is
> temperate, tropical or whatever, and that may also act as a filter for
> displaying planting guides, relevant plant types, and other data. The
> user location box is a good way for the user to filter relevant data.

Yep, sounds a good idea. I admit to being a techie and tend to write 
the most comprehensive and flexible interface possible, which does tend 
to be a bit overwhelming. I think non techies could have a real input
here, what are the things you want to search for? A little bit
of visual design could also go down very well.

> I could go on, but I'll save it for the yahoo user group. All the best
> with it folks :))


		Happy solstice to everyone.

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