Saturday, December 28, 2013

Resonant (Mostly)

Now live (mostly) - the new website for Resonant Motion, Inc., the new not-for-profit organization of which I'm the Director of Communications and Social Media.  That's a mouthful, yes?  I was looking for the best way to describe what I do, and 'designer and strategy consultant' seemed a bit underwhelming.  Titles are elastic things, I find - I've never had one that adequately described my full role in any job, so why start now?

I won't bog you down with info about the content - it's primarily a vehicle for friend and New England jazz luminary Noah Baerman to further his work and social agenda under the umbrella of a broader organization.  If you want to learn more, take a visit and dig around… bearing in mind that although the site is officially live, the content is still being added to.

What I will note here is that the site is my first experiment with building a full site in Wordpress, in this case with a (mostly) fairly flexible theme called 'PressWork.'  Am I thoroughly satisfied with the results?  No.  Well, I am (mostly) from a pure design perspective - and thanks to Kate Ten Eyck for her art to dress up the site - but from a functionality standpoint, I'm still grumpy.

Partly I'm grumpy because there's stuff that I'd like to tweak that I could do in the space of seconds in straight HTML/CSS.  But Wordpress is based primarily on PHP, a language I only have enough of a comprehension to make broad edits, such as removing a comments section.  But there's enough about Wordpress that's a confusing tangle to me, and I end up resorting to end-run solutions for problems that I'd like to eventually be able to solve in the platform.

Additionally, there are all sorts of back-end things I'm not wild about - it seems like anytime there's a new PHP version and Wordpress version upgrade, something on your site breaks, and if the template you've chosen hasn't been updated by the designer, there's a chance that you'll have to scrap it and use a different template altogether.  And I'd like to say that's a worst case scenario, but it's actually happened to me a couple of times with previous WP experiments.

So, after all that kvetching, why did I go with WordPress in the first place?  Really, once you stop fighting with it, it's a powerful site-building tool.  And by fighting, I mean that you can generally find a workable solution to your problem by letting go of all preconceptions of how you would solve it 'by hand', as it were.

Still to come on the site:

  • a fully functional blog
  • forums for discussion of the types of things that RMI is about (music, art, social causes)
  • little cartoons on each page to break up the flow a bit
  • photo gallery (which will involve me finding one that works on WP)
  • more, I'm sure
All of which will be tackled in the next couple of weeks, but in the meantime, I have to complete the final project and final exam for my CSS class, and start on the design and build for the site for a friend's video company, a project that's a good couple of years late.  And guess what?  I'm going to build it in WordPress.


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