Oct
23
2008
0

New Calculator Features!

Running Puppy

This puppy has nothing to do with this post whatsoever.

Last Friday I announced some “website tweaks.”  Since then a paid subscriber[1] reiterated a feature request.[2] As a paid subscriber, he is able to calculate an unlimited number of ratings so that they all show up on a single page.  Basically, he wanted to be able to see the dollar value for a particular permanent partial disability percentage at the same time as a rating.

This isn’t the first time I’ve wrestled with the problems in creating such a feature.  There are several problems with incorporating this feature into the calculator’s page.

  1. The rating calculator and the dollar value of permanent disability calculators cannot be open at the same time.
  2. The rating calculator does not require the date of injury, just the age of the injured worker.  Without the date of injury, the website cannot properly display the dollar value of a permanent partial disability percentage.
  3. When a paid subscriber has performed more than one rating calculation on a page, the website cannot decide which rating string to convert into the equivalent number of dollars.

This exact feature had been suggested by other users in the past.[3]  My original thinking was that trying to accommodate this feature request would involve too many unknown variables.  After giving the matter some more thought, here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Paid subscribers benefit from improved print formatting. Basically, I’ve created a special file that changes the way the calculator page looks when a paid subscriber is printing. [4]  Paid subscribers benefit from having the calculator page streamlined specifically for printing.
  • Paid subscribers can have more than one calculator open at a time. This one feature probably addresses 90% of this user’s concerns.  If you’re able to keep both calculators open at the same time, it should be easy to perform a rating and then turn the percentage into a dollar value.
  • Paid subscribers receive automatic calculations of dollar value of ratings. When a paid subscriber performs a rating calculation, the “Dollar Value of Permanent Disability” calculator automatically opens and the dollar value of the rating is automatically calculated.  The user will still have to adjust calculation to account for the year of the injury.  However, this is probably the most elegant solution to this issue.
  1. As opposed to a free subscriber []
  2. Thanks Marc! []
  3. And even some competitors!!! []
  4. The special file is actually just some CSS to optimize page for printing. []
Oct
13
2008
1

PDRater.com Facelift

New v5.0

New v5.0

First off, don’t be afraid, this is the same website you’ve come to know and love.  Change can be good!  Besides, this latest change is almost 100% cosmetic.

I have been meaning to change the entire look of PDRater.com for a while now.  Thus far I’ve been focusing on improving the workers’ compensation calculators and the website content.

Previously I showed the evolution of PDRater.com from a ridiculously ugly but useful website into a less ugly and more useful website.  Since these latest changes have been mostly cosmetic rather than functional, this should really be something like Version 4.647.  I figure with adding six new calculators in September and updating the look, I’ve earned the right to call this Version 5.0.

Besides, its my blog, right?

The last theme I used was based upon the fantastic WordPress Themer Kit, which is an incredible tool for people who either have little graphic design skill or who don’t want to build a new theme from scratch.  Ultimately, I just don’t have the skill, time, or inclination to build an aesthetically pleasing theme.  (But, let’s be real, its mostly the lack of skill thing).

That said, I am good at adjusting and incorporating.  The original Aeros theme looked significantly different than the one you see.  I’ve changed the background color, removed the slight transparency, highlighted the different sidebar sections, and moved the top menu to the left side.  Since the theme was open source, this mostly involved tinkering with the CSS and underlying PHP.

How do you like this new theme?  Shoot me an e-mail or leave me a comment.

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