This week our school district went live with it’s new website – www.spart5.net. In addition to a URL change, the site has an entirely new look and feel than our old site did. In addition to the cosmetic changes, there are some other behind-the-scenes changes. First, we’re not hosting the site locally. A group called SchoolWires is hosting the site. Right now we only have them hosting the main district website, but we may include our schools in the next couple of months.
This website is template and form driven. As such, our PR department can add news and content, and even make stylistic changes without having to come to me each time. In fact, that department has been responsible for most of the new site’s development. I’ve only played a consulting role. Of course, that doesn’t prevent folks from still coming to me when they think something is not right. After all, I’m the tech guy, so the web must still be my domain.
Most of the complaints can be chalked up to the fact that folks don’t like change. Things just weren’t were they used to be, or where users thought they should be. In some cases, the users didn’t bother to try to find the new locations for the missing items, but instead fired off e-mails in my direction. Granted, there were some missing items, such as links to resources we use on a regular basis, and I tried to correct those as quickly as they were brought to my attention.
Despite dealing with the headaches that change can bring, this did teach me something. The complaints let me know which portions of our website are actually being used most often. We can use that data to re-adjust the site as needed. We did get lots of other compliments, some stating that the site was more “parent-friendly.”
As with any website, it’s a work in progress. This service has lots of bells and whistles, such as RSS feeds and e-mail notification of changes. I’m not sure how much we will implement, but just going live gets us past a major hurdle. Now if we could just get our folks used to the new site.