As I mentioned in the preceding post, I’ve been working a lot more on CPA business. How’d I get so involved? It’s a long story, and one that I’ll probably get into later; I’ve been on the Board since February, and President since March.
In March, we made a long list of things that needed work. The web site was right up there. One thing that grated on me when I went to the old site was the aesthetics; the red-on-black color scheme never did anything for me. But that wasn’t the big problem. Behind the scenes, the site was set up so that you made changes using an administrative panel, using an ordinary web browser rather than an html editor.
Done right (and that includes being suited to the task), an administrative panel can be a real time-saver, trading flexibility for speed and ease of use. Done wrong, you get all the inflexibility and none of the ease of use, making it maddingly difficult to do simple things, and essentially impossible to do anything out of the ordinary. Ours was like that. In addition, it had a nasty little quirk: whatever changes you made became immediately effective on the public web site; there was no way to test anything off line. You also couldn’t save the old files so that you could easily revert after a mistake.
We had a few technical glitches in getting the new site going. Huntington Witherill did the basic design (and a fine job he did) using GoLive. I’m using Dreamweaver CS4. We tried working on the site together, and it was a disaster; we kept stepping on each other’s toes. Huntington couldn’t upgrade to Dreamweaver because he had a IBM-architecture (PowerPC) Mac and the new version only runs on Intel. He was in the process of upgrading to an x86 processor, but in the meantime, we were at loggerheads. Realizing the difficulties we faced, Huntington passed the responsibility for the web site to me; he will get it back when he’s completely converted.
A lot of the GoLive design automation didn’t travel well to Dreamweaver. I reconstructed most of the repeating aspects of the site using Dreamweaver templates, added content, and you can see the results. I think it’s a big improvement, buy, hey, I’m deeply prejudiced. The esthetics are entirely Huntington’s, and a lot of the content is his as well. I was able to add all the interviews I did for the old newsletter.
The new site is here. Let me know what you think.