After discussions with people and some head-scratching, I have made a fairly fundamental change to how the events calendar works – hopefully for the better.
At first glance, nothing has changed – but if you click on the monthly view (the default), then you might notice a link at the top of the page marked "Include recurring events". What’s going on?
Well, there is a bit of a tension between wanting the calendar to be easy to use and also listing events which tend to happen quite regularly.
Should I ignore recurring events or list them? If I ignore them, the calendar is less useful, but if I flood the page with recurring events, then it becomes harder to find the one-off events in the noise. I check some other events websites (mentioning no names), and you can click through day by day and have a right old job to find the special events from the clutter of long running exhibitions and tours.
The solution is that the default will be to list only those events which are classed as "one-offs" – but there will be an option to display "all events" which will include absolutely everything in the calendar.
I think that offers the best compromise between making the calendar easy to use – the core function being to list the one off events, open days etc., but also not ignoring things which happen quite regularly – such as walking tours which happen each week.
It may sound simple to decide if something is recurring or not – but that has actually been the hardest part of the change.
I have developed a policy – which incidentally, I am free to ignore if I want ;)
Henceforth, a recurring event will be anything which happens more than once per month – excepting weekend events which will count as a single event over two days. That allows events which occur only once a month, such as heritage open days to continue to be shown by default as they don’t really clutter up the calendar (and avoiding clutter has been the key aim).
This also enables me to start adding exhibitions which run over a few weeks (or months), again without cluttering up the calendar with the same event day after day after day.
The events search is still only displaying one-off events, and the RSS feed will also only list one-off events, as that is the core function of the site.
Does this work for you?