For the Society for Conservation Biology
I have been honored to work with Conservation on the management and improvement of their web site. They are a publication of the Society for Conservation Biology.
I could not agree more with their Editorial Statement:
Environmentalism has taken a global turn. What was once a movement that revolved around local activism and outdoor enthusiasm now tops the agendas of leading research universities, corporations, and policy makers. As the science grows more mature and the money more serious, Conservation has emerged as a new kind of environmental magazine poised to capture the transformation.
Without being heavy handed, without preaching, pleading, or bias, we take on key environmental issues, explore them from novel angles and bring cutting-edge science to the table. Our editorial mission is to raise the bar on environmental thinking and writing. Our recipe is a mix of world-class journalism and provocative ideas spiced with offbeat illustrations that add a touch of irreverence—and delight.
They publish Conservation and its constituent Journal Watch Online as two integrated WordPress sites. We are currently working on broader plans to redesign their combined online presence. I have designed, developed, and implemented dozens of features for Conservation in our half year of working together and describe here just one such project for demonstration purposes. Many of our projects have focused on improving their behind-the-scenes editing and publishing tools as well as improving their presence online but beyond their site, in social media.
In most cases, a new feature such as adding a widgetized column to Journal Watch Online served both specific and general purposes. Specifically, the new column allows them to elevate more content and more features to the top of the page. That the new column is “widgetized” means that editors are able to use WordPress to manage content such as categorized links and a display of recent comments. What could be described as one feature — a new column — is actually any number of features, including whatever WordPress has available as a widget.
Generally, the Conservation and Journal Watch Online sites had similar designs but two significantly different widths. As a result of their difference in width, visitors navigating from one to the other would see features like the site header and footer “jumping around.” It was a visually more confusing, jarring experience. Matching the widths of the two integrated sites did not resolve all design differences but was a part of a larger effort for more conscious design and improved user experience.
The original developers of the site made these types of changes, and this type of control over a defined area of the site, much more difficult and expensive for Conservation. Two of our longer term goals in working together have been to give them greater control over their site, and to reduce their cost accordingly for making changes.
Adding a new column to Journal Watch Online was a classic win-win-win type of project, and from idea to design to completion it required just two hours’ work.