“Why is it taking so long to launch a new AVMA website?” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that question. Let me take a stab at answering it for you.
First, did you know that Google lists more than 30,000 pages on AVMA.org in its search index? That’s how many pages we have (and we’re continuing to add more)! The sheer quantity of information is one big reason why it will take time to revamp the site.
But there’s at least one other really big reason: We’re not just redesigning; we’re rebuilding. We’re not repainting the house; we’re knocking it down and rebuilding it – but better.
Our website has grown up organically over a period of many years. Pages and information have been added piecemeal. As more people came to rely on the Internet to find information, AVMA staff continued adding more and more information to the website.
As a result, we have a website that is absolutely packed with great information (30,000 pages’ worth and counting!) for veterinarians, veterinary staff, and animal owners and lovers. But we know it’s not always easy to find what you need. We surveyed AVMA members and website users when we started planning for the next-generation website, and found that lots of you don’t even know about many of the online resources we offer.
So we’re really starting from the ground up as we build the next-generation AVMA.org. We’re adopting new technology that provides the most up-to-date web functionality and will allow us to adapt more easily to future changes. (For those of you who know the term, we’re installing our first-ever web content management system.) We’re completely reorganizing and reevaluating all of the information on the site. And we’re asking members for help at key points – to tell us about frustrations with the current site, to review what we’ve done, and to make sure you’ll be able to find the information you need.
All of that takes time, unfortunately. We’ve got a project schedule that currently has 223 separate tasks that need to be accomplished, and it’s going to get bigger. Quite a few of those tasks will actually become mini-projects on their own.
We’re currently targeting early 2012 for the launch of our next-generation website. I know that seems like a long time off, but we’re confident you’ll feel it was well worth the investment when you see and use the new site. In the meantime, I’ll try to keep you updated here on the blog throughout the project.