The SSA Website Redesign

What’s new?

  • The look and feel of the new site is based on the design elements of SSA logo and graphic design concept that was commissioned in 2009.
  • The site is fully responsive. Pages will resize automatically to your screen size including tablets and smart phones.
  • The menus were redesigned and expanded.
  • Side menus were incorporated onto pages with related information such as the Annual Meeting schedule, the About section, and the Committees pages.
  • Content restricted to active SSA members is denoted by a small lock symbol . Members can log in at any time via the login button at the top-right of the screen or on the page with restricted content.
  • The website is ADA-compliant, meaning that we have followed guidelines intended to help website designers build compliant websites. These changes include meeting a text contrast threshold, filling in the alt-text field for all images, removing all animation and autoplay carousels, providing close-captioning for audiovisual content, making keyboard-only navigation possible, as well as a slew of elements that fall under the banner of “common sense” and “good website design.”
  • Members with access can find the Wild Apricot admin link at the bottom of each page.
  • We hope to feature many more images of SSA member activities on the website going forward and include photos with blog posts and other content types. To this end, we will need member photo submissions! We set up a simple upload form on this page where members can simply and securely submit photos to SSA. All images will be credited and used for the sole purpose of further promoting SSA.


Wild Apricot Integration

Wild Apricot has created a plugin that allows members-only content (denoted by the symbol in the menu) to be integrated into the new website. These content features include:

  • Membership Directory
  • Membership Profile
  • Discussion Forums (Job Board, Professional Development, Let’s Talk Archives General Discussion Forum)
  • Workshop and Annual Meeting Registration

Why was the website redesigned?

Short answer: Aesthetics, sustainability, and mobile-friendly responsiveness.

Last year, the Ad Hoc Committee on Internet Resources was created and tasked with improving the SSA website. After a slow and methodical six months and after user studies and some experimentation, the committee came to the conclusion that a modern website would be best created by re-designing the site from scratch. The committee came to this conclusion for the following reasons:

  • There was no way to re-design the Wild Apricot (WA) site without disrupting service. Changes would be made in real time meaning that pages would temporarily disappear and reappear from day to day.
  • Wild Apricot’s website templates, while more responsive and colorful than the old website, were not responsive or modern enough. We didn’t want to put a lot of work into something that would only be a half measure.
  • The WA user interface makes hosting photo and video content more difficult than it should be.
  • Customizing the WA website is difficult. Font and style choices are limited. The learning curve is steep.

Once we decided to start over, we next chose to use the WordPress platform primarily because of the aforementioned plugin. Wordpress also has a much larger user base; you can google your way out of any problem, and the platform is much more flexible. Along the way we were fortunate to discover that the new website doesn’t cost the Society an additional funds. Our website hosting service, DreamHost, offers free hosting to non-profits.

Questions or Comments can be sent to southwestarchivists@gmail.com or by clicking on the (temporary) appeal at the top of each page.

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