Redesigned Website Launches…The Dust (Almost) Settles…

This has been a long and momentous summer for us on the technology side of things. We undertook a major upgrade of our infrastructure which included cabling our office (Cat 6!), replacing our file server (virtualization, here we come), and reconfiguring our server room (with a pseudo telco closet hiding in a cabinet). Through this all, we were also tackling a redesign of our website (in combination with upgrading Drupal, our content management system), an upgrade of our web applications (WordPress, Mailman, Moodle, and so on), and migrating it all to a new provider for web hosting (shared VPS – Virtual Private Server).

Yeah, we don’t believe in doing anything by half-measures. And, no, we don’t really believe in sleep either, but that is for another blog :).

And the technology project lineup of 2010 is coming to a close with a soft launch of our new, redesigned website.

WLP’s website redesign took a long time (and a whole lot of brain cells) since we had a few complicated content challenges that had to be solved in a visually pleasing manner. For instance, there were many important sections of the site that were vying for space on the home page – the blog, website articles, alerts, news feeds…this list was endless. In addition, we also needed an aesthetically appealing way of telling “our story” – who we are, what we do, how we do it, and what impact has it had. It will take multiple blog posts to really and truly list all our challenges.

The outcome of the long and at times tedious process of trying to resolve these challenges is the elegant home page you see today.

  • A prominent interactive movie, impact quotes that cycle below it, and the Where We Are map on the right capture “our story.”
  • The tabbed area (WLP Blog, Highlights, and Gender in the News) gives more home page real-estate for content.
  • The right column gives visitors many different ways to get involved such as donate, join our community, take action, and upcoming events.
  • The alerts and Twitter blocks on the right allow us to feature urgent action alerts and highlight breaking news stories.
  • The Video and photo tabs give us space to showcase our extensive multi-media archives.
  • Connect With Us icon bouquet at the bottom lets users visit us on social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube.
  • The mini-navigation in the footer allows users to navigate the site without having to scroll to the top, especially handy when on a long-ish content page.

The same amount of thought, brainstorming, and problem solving have gone into various sections – see Country, Program, Campaign, and Publication pages for examples.

Believe me, I can make a very long list for each of those pages. However, I am resisting only because we don’t want: a) this blog to get too long and b) your eyes to glaze over.

In the back-end, which you don’t see and where we muck around with code and images and whatnot, things have become far simpler as well. In addition, Drupal upgrade also brought its own bonus functionality. For instance, the latest stable version of Drupal provides more powerful multi-lingual features, which we plan to use to the fullest.

We are still working on moving content that got left out over to the new site. And are working on the Arabic and French sites. And a few other minor issues to be fixed as we see them (broken images anyone?). And making plans for Version 1.1 of the site with a powerful search functionality and a few other exciting additions.

However, as we continue to work on perfecting the site, we pause for a moment, throw our caps in the air, toast ourselves, and celebrate the launch of our new site.

Now tell me, isn’t that the coolest and fanciest website you have ever seen? :-D

New Home Page

New Home Page

Old Home Page

Old Home Page

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