Redesigning websites can be a real challenge.
What else makes them a challenge?
Having the domain change hands several times over a decade, no one bothering to update WHOIS information, resellers making domain transfers difficult, the website being hosted in a second location, and a sorry WordPress theme to boot. Did I mention whoever had a password and directory information was in jail for… I don’t know, identity fraud or something?
“dude, what have I gotten myself into?” — me trying to sort this out in February
The newly revamped GonzalesTexas.com website was launched on April 29, 2016; right before I ran off to a reunion at the University of Texas in Austin.
Major challenges and upgrades to this website:
The Interactive Aspect
- Modern websites need to be more than just a standalone one-stop-shop. When people come to your website, they need to be informed, entertained, and compelled to interact. Interaction is one of the most important pieces of your website; as involving someone’s attention as opposed to only showing them something creates a mental relationship and memory.
- The website for the Gonzales Chamber previously included self-guided walking directions that included no pictures, no references to a modern take on maps and technology. To solve this, I created an interactive map and data table on Google Maps, and placed pins on over 80 historical buildings. I have included a copy of this map for reference, below.
- The Gonzales Chamber is also super active on social media channels. Instead of merely suggesting that people follow them by posting their icons in the footer of each page; I included designated areas on their “Contact Us” page to directly interact and scroll through auto-populating facebook, twitter, instagram, (…you name it, they’re on it) posts.
The overall navigation
- There’s a lot going on with this website. Not only is there a visitor center, but there are almost a dozen annual events; not to be confused with a free community calendar for members to post their own events. You can hire a guided tour of the city, or wait until one of the annual tours. You can find other members in their directory, and you can even post jobs on their website.
- The main navigation that appeared at the top was confusing, unclear, and therefore hard to navigate. The new primary navigation has drop-down menus that are simpler; and sub menus in each menu so that front-end users can really drill down and get what they need to quickly.
- Google analytics were also installed to monitor traffic to pages, so that top page and footer navigation can be updated as time goes on to enhance the experience of the end user.
See for yourself if I did a good job, and go visit the newly revamped website of the Gonzales Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.