Resolutions (Not Really)

January 9th, 2017
By Sarah Fazenbaker

Ah, the turn of a new year. Nothing like it to inspire some better habits and righting some areas you’ve been slacking on…like flossing, regular exercise, or say, posting on your blog.

roller coasterWe’ve been working at a furious pace in the Web Office and this blog has taken a back seat, unfortunately. I was hoping to document our redesign process along the way but it may need to be more of a retrospective after the dust settles (or the birthday candles have been blown out). We’ve been joking that the roller coaster we’re on has been clacking its way up and now that 2017 is here we are in that fleeting moment at the top right before we whoosh down and have everything rush at us at blinding speed. Aahhhhhh!!!

Of course, this is a crazy year because the Museum is turning 100. We’re having a blowout gala in April and we’re planning to roll out our site-wide redesign in time for the big party. At the same time, we’re launching the separate companion website for the 100th anniversary exhibit, so no pressure there!

Getting these two high-profile projects pulled off by April is going to take everything we’ve got with all hands on deck. I wish I could resolve to write in Webology regularly, but let’s be honest, I need to be realistic here.

Okay, so I can’t spend a lot of time writing posts on what we’ve been up to for the past 6 months, but here’s some of the other highlights that I’ll circle back to later in the year:

  • Phasing out Concrete5 as our main CMS – C5 made some (wise) changes to their codebase with their 5.7 version, but unfortunately that meant breaking backwards compatibility with the version we’re running. This marks a huge shift in strategy for us and I definitely want to dedicate a post on how we arrived at this decision.
  • Launched the #FMScience site – one of the museum’s strategic goals is to “become an established source of science-related news for major national and international media outlets.” This site was an outgrowth of our existing Science Stories site to shift from being a once-a-month publishing cycle to a platform for all levels of articles about research coming out of our institution and a landing place for our social media efforts.
  • Shifted to using GitHub repositories instead of self-hosted SVN – this was a department-level change in how we’re handling version control.

The Web Office has had some personnel changes too:

  • Said farewell to Chris Dell – our web developer has moved on to further his career. We wish him the best of luck and are currently attempting to fill his shoes. (Hopefully I’ll have some good news on that front soon.)
  • Radha Krueger went to full time – in addition to Web Designer, you can now add Content Strategist and Science Advocate to her many hats here.
  • Hired James Young – we are lucky to have snagged this talented designer to create our new look and develop our CMS themes.

There are also some new Museum blogs to check out:

  • Happy Flippers – follow Radha’s musings and observations as she grows into her new Science Advocate role at the museum
  • Spineless Science – this long-time Blogger site has finally been imported to the museum’s WordPress multisite. Get a fun look at our invertebrate zoology team and their research adventures
  • Experience Exhibits – take a behind-the-scenes peek at the developments in our exhibit hall…from the construction of the new Discovery Zone to the latest additions to the Butterfly Rainforest

Happy new year! This is going to be one-of-a-kind for us. You only turn 100 once… we goooooo!!!!!

Categories: Announcements, Redesign

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