The Bronx High School of Science Parents Association suffered from several familiar conditions of sites built by committees with varying priorities: mismatched branding between the website and other communication channels, including its weekly newsletter, Facebook page, auction materials, and other printed materials sent home in students’ backpacks, as well as the ever longer list of left navigation links and an over-reliance on the phrase “click here.” I led the site transition from a flat HTML site to WordPress which was an opportunity to correct and realign a more attractive, usable experience.
Method: I conducted a review of other specialized high schools in New York City and realized that most of the websites suffered from these same afflictions. Interviews with committee members and active PA parents led to an information architecture that balanced the need to find relevant information and the PA committees’ need to recruit donors and volunteers for their activities. I also created a news feed that integrates current postings with content on the site by placing categorized feeds on related pages.
At the end of my tenure, I trained a team to take on the task of managing the website, and created a policy document for future webmasters to follow to ensure consistency of messaging and brand across all PA activities.
I have enjoyed working on the website and on school sites in general. I was also on the PA web teams for Columbia Secondary School and Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, both Drupal installations. The Columbia Secondary School project was particularly interesting as we were creating a back end process for integrating student profiles with a college application system. It is rewarding as a parent to use ones professional skills give back to the school, and especially rewarding when a fellow parent at Columbia Grammar & Prep decided to transition into the field.