June was a busy, busy month for everyone involved in AVMA’s website redesign project. I’ve already told you about some of what we accomplished (see We’ve Improved the Student Dues-Payment Process … Using Our New Website Platform). Here are a few other highlights.
Customization Planning and Development
Technical planning was our primary focus in June as we worked to detail all of the development work that will be required for the new website. This includes everything from replicating our current Member Directory and “leadership look-up tool” to adding new functionality, such as a “My AVMA” section that will show members content personalized to their specific interests. We held a series of extensive meetings with our development team to work through details of all of these pieces. Discussions involved best approach, solution development, and roles and responsibilities.
Information Architecture and Design
With our new home-page design finalized, our focus shifted to look at interior pages of the new website, including section and article pages. We finalized the list of page layouts needed for the new website and have begun defining what elements need to appear on each of the pages.
Some of the elements we hope to include on our article pages are links to:
- related articles
- most popular articles
- most shared articles
- related products
- related videos
Are those links that interest you? Do you think they’ll add value to the page? Are there other features you’d like to see us include? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the Comments.
Content Migration Planning
You might remember that I told you recently that we have more than 30,000 pages on the AVMA website. Right now, we have no content management system in place for those pages, so we have to manage all of them by hand. One of the big changes we’re making is to import all of those pages into a content management system. That’s going to be a very big project. Every page will need to be mapped to the right location on the new website; assigned to use the correct page template; and cleaned up to remove HTML code and to fix text and image links that will break during the transfer process.
We want to make that process as simple as possible, so one of the tasks we started working on in June was in-depth planning for how to do that. We drafted a content migration plan to guide the process, which we expect to include:
- identifying software tools that might help with the import
- testing those tools to see how helpful they might be
- identifying any out-of-date content on the current website, to remove it from the site rather than import it to the new one
- evaluating different strategies for cleaning up all pages into presentation-ready form after the migration
This planning process has just started and will continue to be redefined over the next couple of months. My experience is that the more detailed the planning that goes into this kind of migration, the less painful the process will be. And pain is definitely something we want to avoid!