News


Welcome to the new website!

posted Feb 18, 2015, 11:57 AM by Trevor Perraton   [ updated Feb 18, 2015, 12:33 PM ]

New Website
Today you’re seeing the result of a two month-long process that brought a fresh new website into existence.

The last time we redesigned our site was in 2009. In Internet time, six years ago may as well be a century ago. Smartphones weren’t nearly as ubiquitous as they are now, social media drove only a small portion of web traffic, the iPad hadn’t come out yet, and multimedia and blogs were still considered novel. Our site redesign in 2009 reflected the trends of that era.

The biggest motivation for redesigning our site was an external one—the growth in mobile users. Just two years ago, only 20 percent of our visits were from a mobile device. Now, despite our old site’s mobile-unfriendly design, that’s doubled to 40 percent. To address this, our new site is responsive—that is, it displays content differently depending on the size of your screen. This should release you from the “pinch-zoom nightmare” you were trapped in when viewing our old site on your phone.

The redesign process mostly involved our, IT & Programs Coordinators. They met regularly for two months, studying our site analytics, trends in digital media, and doing case studies of other non-profit sites. The resulting list of requirements and features were debated and honed before our executive director, Chantal Champagne reviewed the plan. Through several rounds of feedback, we converged on the final site design. We were fortunate to be able to work with Trevor Perraton—a Cloud Solutions Architect & Web Programmer with expertise in our Google Sites content management system.

It’s also fortunate for us that many of you answered our call for donations to fund this redesign. Thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you!

What’s changed?
  • Mobile-friendly: Visit us from your phone and you’ll find all our content at a readable, touch-friendly size with minimal fuss. With the luxurious width of a tablet or laptop, you’ll get enhanced options for navigation and interaction, plus big, beautiful photos & multimedia Youtube videos. 
  • Easy to share: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and email.
  • Speed: Page load times are important, especially when using mobile data. We’ve upgraded to business level hosted Google services which made it much faster and more scalable, and optimized the number and size of images, fonts, and code we download in each page. 
  • Fewer, clearer options: When we analyzed our old site, we found many redundant navigation options and calls to action that simply weren’t getting clicked. So we started with a clean slate and added only the most essential items, effectively decluttering the site. Some links took you away from the main site (Registrations/Memberships & Signups) which led to an unprofessional and a disconnected experience.
  • A homepage that’s always current: Our old homepage required our Program Coordinator to manually code changes into the component slots (she hates coding!). It was time-consuming and often got put off, leaving older content on the homepage. The new homepage is easy to update through a WYSIWYG interface.
  • Old provider: Our current web host & developer went belly up. We lost contact with them and they were nowhere to be found. We had no idea if and when our current site's plug was going to be pulled. Server error messages were on the rise as we edited the pages within. Sometimes we were pressing the save button 5 or 6 times until the edits worked. Talk about being on the last leg.
  • New provider: We've transformed to the new era of operational efficiencies, we've moved to the cloud! Google for Business (Website, Email, Docs, Sheets, Slides, & Forms/Surveys), Salesforce.com & Quickbooks Online now give us the leg up for Anywhere, Anytime on Any Device access.
  • Integration: We have end-to-end processes that integrate the front office with the back.  Our public side website displays Program, Event & Rental details seamlessly from our back end database.  We make one change in our back office application and it is immediately displayed publicly to you. No more double, or triple entering the same information across multiple platforms.  Transactions are automated and flow unimpeded through the systems without manual intervention.  Now our administration staff can be free of these mundane, time killing tasks.  They are allowed to focus on more important areas...our members!

We ask you, our members, for your patience and feedback as we transition fully to this new site. If you have general comments, or have specific issues to report, please email us at it@bearspawlc.org. We may not be able to answer every message, but we’ll be sure to read them all and use them to make improvements.

Thanks, and we hope you enjoy the new site.

Test

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:11 PM by Trevor Perraton   [ updated Feb 18, 2015, 11:58 AM ]

Test Blog Entry.

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