What I’m working on

A new college website!

This past year I have been working hard on revamping our college website. It’s a been a big undertaking and it’s not fully launched yet but the designs are approved and the templates are being converted into our new CMS (content management system) OmniUpdate.

Soon it will be a matter of migrating thousands of pages of content!!!

Students showing a responsive website on a phone
College students willing to pose for me to show off our new mobile friendly website

 

Why the change?

I know change is supposed to be good but I am a person who “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” and for a long time the site I originally designed people were happy with. It won a bunch of awards and it just worked. It worked so well in fact that the last major redesign was in 2011!

Mobilegeddon Happened a while ago

Old fixed size design from 2011

Google announced in 2015 that it would give priority to websites that are responsive (meaning coded to respond to whatever device a person is using). That pretty much dictated it… if Google doesn’t like you you’re in trouble!

Redoing any website that is as large as a college website is always a big job but even more complicated when there are roadblocks in your way like a CMS that doesn’t support a website that is designed responsively.

The Death of Adobe Contribute

RIP Adobe ContributeFor the past 15 years I have had all my clients purchase a relatively inexpensive piece of software that just worked for what it was intended. How often can one say that!? Adobe Contribute was great in that it did what the name implied, it allowed web owners to update their content.

You couldn’t create a website from scratch but you could pretty much do everything a person would want to do without writing a line a code. It was as simple as writing and email and completely what you see is what you get. That is of course if the only people you cared about were desktop users and no one who used a tablet or a smart phone. In the year of 2018 that’s just stone age thinking!

Having a website that is responsive required a little different coding practice. Adobe Contribute didn’t understand that code and rendered the What You See Is What You Get code editing useless. We could have switched to a free ever popular wordpress platform like so many others but we opted instead for a company who’s only clients are higher education clients with a knowledgable and accessible team, OmniUpdate. So far the migration process is going somewhat smoothly and I will create another post on the features of this new CMS when it’s fully implemented.

New Design

Our new design is now optimized to display well on any device, load quickly and is accessible for people with disabilities that require assistive devices.

Depending on the platform you use the menu structure will be optimized for legibility. No more pinching and zooming to try and figure out what to click.

New home page design with mobile option

I am really anxious to write my finishing post on this process and show all the examples and lessons learned but if I have learned anything in web design a website is a living thing and it’s never really done until it’s offline 🙂

One thought on “What I’m working on

  • January 8, 2018 at 7:54 am
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    LOVE your work. What a great undertaking. You’ve got this! Can’t wait to see the finished product.

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