New Website Design
Welcome to the new LifeRing website!
The old website was launched in June 1996, fairly early in Web history, and it showed its age. Over the years it grew and grew until it sprawled like a kudzu vine. We’ve been talking forever about a new design.
We owe a big “Thank You!” to web designer Chris Adams of rollingorange.com, who volunteered his time and his professional skills to finally get us moving on a complete website overhaul. Chris led the way in a thorough survey of stakeholders’ views, an assessment of our audiences, and a deep analysis and reorganization of the website content. To Chris we owe also:
- the push to build this website on WordPress
- the concept of grouping all of the main content under three headings (now called Check out Lifering, Connect with LifeRing, Contribute to LifeRing)
- the idea to pile many different kinds of other content into a central blog on the Start Page
- and much else.
Unfortunately for us — fortunately for Chris — his paying work, which had slowed in the recession, picked up again and ate him up. He was unable to continue working with us to implement the final graphic design. While central features of the platform, structure and organization are his, the entire look and feel of the site as it stands today were developed independently.
As the founder and first webmaster of this site — originally called unhooked.com — it gives me great pleasure to conclude my tenure in this seat by completing at least the major portions of this new design. While it still has its shortcomings, I feel confident that its cleaner look, easier navigation, broadly interactive features, and all-around greater usability will make for a better user experience and reach wider audiences.
And not only user experience! One of the advantages of a Content Management System (CMS) — even a developing one like WordPress — is the ease with which many people can become website stakeholders by contributing content. The CMS platform is uniquely adapted to team development. If you have a passion for one or another recovery-related topic and are able to write about it, you can become a web author here, and reach the tens of thousands of people in many different countries who check in on lifering.org every month.
The site that you see here now has the core content of the old site, but quite a bit more of the material on the old site is worth keeping and will be moved to the new site in the weeks ahead. And, no doubt, there will be bugs and broken links to try your patience. Would you like to help? Send me an email: email@example.com. Thanks.
Happy sober browsing!
— Marty N.
Have been looking at doing some site optimization and improving the design on my website for a long time, so this post has been really useful. Easy read as well, so thank you!
I am new to this site. I am hoping it will help me.
Marty, i’m using IE.
the situation has now changed to this: i get the line which says this is especially designed for devices which do not handle drop-down menus.
so, still, if i did not have a shortcut to the forum on my desktop, i would be unable to access it.
i’m at the library right now, using IE here, too, and it always works fine from here.
thanks for looking into this,
A more general point: Lifering has made a decision to have a fundamentally different type of homepage than its former one. Lifering has obviously made a decision not to have a homepage which describes in a straightforward, unambiguous, clear way what Lifering is and what it offers. Yes, it’s there if you look, but it’s overwhelmed by the time sensitive postings that dominate the page. The new homepage seems more newsy and pop, rather that being dedicated primarily to describing what Lifering is and what it offers. The new homepage philosophy is usually used by organizations (businesses) wanting to increase repeat visitors (to check out the updates) to increase sales. I personally find the new homepage one which I would be less inclined to send people I come across who might benefit from what we offer, i.e. first time visitors looking for recovery support. I trust that the radical change in our homepage was market tested and was shown to deliver better our approach to recovery support that the former homepage.
Edward: There was a process of about eleven months that went into making the web redesign. Everyone was polled, feedback was solicited from all parties, a professional web designer analyzed the input, and out of that came the designers’s fundamental recommendation to center the new website not on a bunch of static pages, but on a blog. And that is exactly what we have. Yes, the static pages are still there, and anyone who wants to know the basic philosophy, the method, the organization, all the basic materials, can easily find them. But web sites that only repeat their basic philosophy — year after year — are deadly boring, both to the people who read them and to those who maintain them. I believe that newcomers to this site will not only want to know what its basic texts are, but whether the organization is a living entity. Is there anyone answering the phone? Are there conversations going on? Is the website interactive? It takes no great analytical genius to figure out that a static website is not going to pull and retain readers with anywhere near the force as one that is interactive. Even a little controversy is helpful. And, I want to add, this new approach — a page from Web 2 — is an effort to speak to a younger audience. We’ve been seeing younger and younger faces at LifeRing meetings and in the LifeRing leadership, which is wonderful, and we need to have the website come closer to the kind of website that younger people take for granted. Really, we’re still lagging, still too stodgy, still too cautious, but we’re at least moving forward.
One more point. There is a lot of content on the old web site that needs to be moved forward to the new site. This requires a lot of work, and it needs volunteers to help do it. Anyone who is willing to give a few days to learning and doing, please contact me, firstname.lastname@example.org. — Marty N.