New website for Morley
The new website for Morley Memorial Primary School which we’ve been working on since October went live last night. Built using the default Twenty Eleven WordPress theme, it features a blog for the headmaster along with a lightweight design which prioritises mobile use.
We’ve been working on the site since October when the headmaster asked for help. The existing site was created in WebYep a few years ago. The design was dated, performed poorly on mobile devices and featured images of children who, in some cases, were no longer at the school. Could we post news on the front page? How can staff update the pictures on the site? What about a blog for the headmaster?
If WebYep provided a blogging tool, we could’ve simply switched that on and redesigned the site template. It didn’t, so we’d have to change platforms to something which combines blogging and content management. Publishing should be straightforward, so WordPress seemed an obvious choice.
The school doesn’t have a strong visual identity. Lack of constraints can lead you all over the place, so I put together a header based on the previous site’s homepage: the coloured blocks each represent one of the school’s twelve classes (so it’s a pity you can’t click on the colours to go straight to the class page – the first thing my daughter tried…).
Working with the council
It took a bit of back and forth with the council to gain access to the existing site, whereupon we found some errors in the configuration. Straightening these out, it seemed it would take even longer to upgrade the web hosting to accommodate the database needed to support WordPress. Once we actually mentioned to the council that we were upgrading to WordPress, they sorted everything out super fast and even had WordPress installed and configured for us. This was a relief and put us a couple of days ahead.
This left the content. My partner had been experimenting with automated importing, but this still left a lot of work to be done by hand. The tables on the staff page were particularly tricky, but after a couple of weeks of effort, we were just about ready to go. Before the Christmas break we demoed the new site to the school staff where the feedback was very positive. We optimistically set the date for the first week of the new year.
The site has now been live for 24 hours and we’ve had an average number of visits.
The next phase will be to audit the content and improve the information architecture.