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Saturday, 25 April 2009

ABSW: Website is getting a facelift

New and exciting changes are afoot for our online presence.

The ABSW website is in the process of being redesigned having looked pretty much the same for a number of years. But it’s not just the look of the site that getting an overhaul though – the content is too. The committee hopes that the process will give the site a new lease of life, encouraging more members to use it whilst also providing them with more useful functions.

Some of the new things we’re planning are:
  • wiki’s on all things science writing so that our members can share their expertise with each other;
  • an updated member’s directory;
  • a dedicated jobs section, and;
  • a member’s only area.
Other functionality, such as allowing members to edit their profile on the site and even pay membership fees online, are being looked into to see how easy they could be implemented. However, it won’t all come at once so please have patience with us.

We’ll also be incorporating both ABSW blogs (the main blog and The Science Reporter blog) into the site. In fact, we’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about how we can make the ABSW’s web presence more integrated overall so, for example, we can have more signposts to things like the ABSW-L Google Group (which, if you use it at all, I suspect most of you use more like a mailing list rather than a forum).

Given that the current site is written and maintained by Michael Kenward in his spare time, it’s amazing it’s kept as up to date as it is. Of course, we have to be a little careful that we don’t create an all-singing, all-dancing website that is too time-consuming and difficult to maintain. To that end, we’ll be implementing a content management system allowing multiple people with little or no coding knowledge can log in and take responsibility for a certain section of the site.

So when will it be finished I hear you cry? Well, the first iteration should be released onto a now suspecting public within the next month or so. After that, the set up of the site should enable us to make small improvements over time, so that the website remains up-to-date, in terms of both look and content (this is actually the way Amazon handle their site: constant small upgrades rather than a complete redesign).

So, the real answer to the question is the website will NEVER be ready. Which is why your comments and suggestions will always be welcome. You can email me at webm...@absw.org.uk

Mike Nagle