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Long before social web 2.0 applications were all the rage, a small traffic site, UtterAccess (UA), became a foundation for a community of Access users sharing ideas and building friendships. For its 10,000s of active members, UA develops careers, builds friendships, and helps them run their businesses more efficiently. In the last five years alone, UA has accumulated 555M+ hits, 120,000 members, and 1.4M posts. Clearly, UA offers something of value that drawn so many users to the community.
A few months ago, I asked the VIP group why they love UtterAccess. The response was both overwhelming and fascinating. Here is an executive summary of responses.
“When I need help myself, I know who to ask. Before UA, I never had that. When I stumbled on UA, I was starved for communication with other technical people as I moved to a remote part of the country. Well, I found it and much more.”
Thanks Gord and Sylvie, for all the time and resources you’ve dedicated to keeping the UA community flourishing and vibrant. The community has provided me an important link to customers, and enlightened me to the broad range of how Microsoft Access is being used – from tracking frat house dates to scalable enterprise apps. Above all, when asked, “Why UtterAccess?” I say, because I’ve seen people time-after-time use this community to grow their professional careers and enrich the lives of others. This is the essence of a successful social learning community.
As one of the 120K'ish members (I have been calling it home for about three years), I think you captured the spirit of UA nicely (and accurately) in your article. While UA's core is Access, the site offers a wide range of forums... the latest being a newly minted JAVA/C# forum and a BI forum (expansion to an existing Crystal forum). UA also has Excel gurus -- some are MVP's -- and members will try and help each other in various topics: software, hardware, and other vegetables... Stop by and visit us...
Very well said ... UA is more than being just a community of posters. It's the spirit of being a part of "family" where people "share" ideas and try to implement the best practice in building a project/hobby.
Great article! You have captured the essence of UtterAccess, thank you, Eric (and Clint ). UA is the Utopia of places on the net to get and give help for Access (and other products too). The spirit, knowledge, and willingness to share is something that cannot be comprehended until one visits! www.UtterAccess.com UtterAccess is free to join and a great resource to anybody who seriously wants to learn or teach. Like many others, UA is my 'home away from home' ... a spot where the world is nearly perfect Warm Regards,
Crystal * (: have an awesome day :) *
Utter Access Forums is known for its friendly and professional community. It is the great attitude of all members which makes Utter Access one of the most successful online forums. A strict policy of equality is practiced and ensures all users the opportunity to receive professional help no matter what level of knowledge they may have. Thanks Clint, Eric, MS...for your support over the years.
ps I have now read your article a few times. With "one voice that highlights", you illuminated! Thank you, Clint and Erik and the rest of the team! Thank you also for painting such an accurate picture and for sharing in communities such as UA with us. It is commendable that you and the other Microsoft softies ;) are willing and wanting to share and listen to ideas in hopes to make Access and other products the best they can be. Thank you.
Great List! I believe it's the quality of people there that really makes the difference. Many of the top profesionals for Access, Excel and other programs are regular users. If UtterAccess.com was a university it would be top tier! I feel honored each time I need help or am corrected by an MVP. It's unbelieveable.
Thanks for the nice comments. I should have highlighted that the post was written by Clint Covington, so all the good work is from him!
UtterAccess is truly one of (if not the) best communities on the web. The help there for people of all skill levels is amazing and it is a very rare thing for a post to go unanswered. Usually the original poster is provided with the answer (or better yet the push in the right direction so they can get the answer themselves) within minutes. Gord and all the mods/admins do a great job in keeping UA a "nice place to be". If you've never visited UA then you don't know what you're missing.... no matter what your skill level I can guarantee that you will learn more than you could possibly imagine.
I was pointed to UA when i posted a question on Arstechnica about four years ago and since then it has been a daily port of call. Even now when I am no longer developing i still like to look in and see if there is anyway i can repay the help i recieved from all the various members, and the friends i have made through the chat forum :)
A well written overview of what goes on at Utteraccess 24 x 7, 365 days a year. I've lost count of the number of times I've had a helping hand over the years. It's especially fulfilling to "very occasionally" give something back to someone new on the block. "Lunch-times just wouldn't be the same without Utteraccess".
Everything the article says about UA is absolutely true: it really is a great site. To start with it looks very businesslike, nothing visibly flashy – until you experience the amazing response time. I’ve been a member for over 3 years, and my Excel / VBA skills have improved immensely. As well as getting excellent responses to specific questions, I often learn new stuff or find better ways of doing things I already ‘knew’ how to do, just by reading other threads. Everyone is incredibly polite and supportive, and the friendly atmosphere makes reading (or joining) the discussions a real pleasure.
I've been posting at UA for almost two years now, and I can confirm that everything mentioned in this article is 'spot on'. What I appreciate most about UA is that you get to rub shoulders with the 'big guns'. Those who I consider to be some of the best Access developers in the world congregate there, patiently giving advice, alternative solutions, and throwing out ideas that you've never even considered. Think you’re a good developer now? Post on UA for six months and I guarantee you'll be better for it. And the rewards aren't all internal. UA has distinguished itself as the breeding ground for new MVPs, an award given by Microsoft crediting the 'best of the best' in their field. It's nice to see that Microsoft is publicly acknowledging the caliber of Utter Access Forums. Of course, anyone who posted there for any length of time already knows this. ;) Way to go UA!
Nice article Clint. You have captured the heart and soul of Utter Access. UA is all about learning, there is not one of us who regularly post at UA that don't learn as much or more as those who are asking the questions.