Building a new website for something the size and complexity of Michigan 4-H Youth Development is no minor feat — especially when you’re forced to launch it just a little bit early! Last Thursday morning, the ancient server (from the 1990s! Even I know that’s old) that had housed the 4-H and several other CANR sites finally gave up the ghost. ANR Technology Services staffers were able to resurrect it long enough to grab the most current version of the 4-H website and transfer a static version of it to another server, all in a matter of hours. To the outside world, the site looked the same as always, the static version, however, did not allow for any editing, a real problem at this busy time of year for 4-H.
After a quick consultation, the decision was made: launch the new site as soon as redirects from the old site are in place. As of Monday afternoon, the new site was live to the world! There are a few minor things that still need a tweak here and there, but considering that it was forced onto the big stage a bit early, it looks great! It’s the biggest site so far to be launched on our new content management system, Expression Engine, and its development has blazed the trail for numerous features that will be more easily incorporated into other Expression Engine sites.
Responding to feedback from users to make the site cleaner, more modern, more easily navigated and less text heavy, the new site features the look of MSU’s branding, more photos, less and more focused text, and more intuitive navigation. Check it out yourself at http://4h.msue.msu.edu.
Kudos to Dennis Bond in ANR Technology Services and to Marian Reiter and Michelle Lavra in ANR Communications for creating a great new site without additional resources, and all while maintaining their usual workload.