A New Dawn, A New Day, A New Website

17Feb19

I officially took over as the Roosevelt High School Alumni Association’s new Webmaster in August of 2017 and had about a million and one goals I wanted to accomplish. As the name of my title implies, most of these goals relate to our online presence. Let me tell you a little bit about some of the progress in the last year and a half:

I have been working on getting our social media more active by posting more often on Facebook, starting an Instagram and growing it a ton, and by trying to figure out Twitter (who would have thought a 22-year-old doesn’t know how to tweet?). I have been working with our various committees to help set up new “@rooseveltalumni.org” email addresses and keep them monitored so that our alumni can better reach us, and will continue to expand that effort. I have been working with the other communications committee members to create more quality and focused content to share with our alumni over email (and through a fancy new email service too).

But, the big one: recreating our website from scratch.

Website Home Page

Our website has relaunched as of about two months ago, and has a complete new look. It also now has a mobile friendly interface (as long as you don’t have a really tiny phone, sorry iPhone 4 users) and lots of new content. While it may have published a little bit ago, I am excited to officially announce it now and tell you all about it:

I graduated college this past May and didn’t start my new job until August, which gave me a few months to stare at the wall and do nothing but recover from the past 17 years of continuous education. It also gave me time to redo our alumni website. It may not sound like much of a break, but it was wonderful, let me tell you.

I had a few ideas in mind when it came to a new version of the website. I wanted a brighter and bigger layout, but also wanted more content. The first part was all on me, I had to put on my artist hat and figure out what “brighter and bigger” meant and make it happen. The second relied very heavily on my fellow board members to deliver. Being new to the organization (and very young in terms of Roughrider years), I needed their help to generate content. They definitely came through! If it wasn’t for their help sending me information, helping me update old documents, and finding useful content to add, the website would look quite barren, so I want to extend my thank you to the RHSAA Board for that.

Back to my part, design. I spent hours upon hours looking at the websites of other alumni associations, and wow. So many websites that haven’t been updated since the 90s. But there were also a lot of great ones that I pulled a lot of pieces from. This search also got me to realize how important it is to have a website that is mobile friendly. Did you know that almost 70% of all internet usage is done by a phone now? Gone are the days when website developers only had to worry about how their site looked on a big computer screen! This part was going to be a challenge, since I definitely didn’t learn how to do this in school.

Now that I had some pieces to work with and knew requirements I needed to hit, I got to making the general layout of every page. I wanted a header that our association name in full with both our old logo and new logo that would appear on desktop version and mobile version. Hey, it works! Now the menu. This was tricky since it is completely different on desktop vs mobile. I am pretty sure I spent more time on this item than any other on the website. Please, appreciate the menu and then never speak of it to me.

I love photos. I have hundreds of photos of campus, various events, and just random moments from my high school career. Showcasing photos was a very important element to me on the website, and that is why every page has a big header photo of something Roosevelt related. If you ever come across a nice photo that you think deserves a spot on the website, please email it to me, I will be so grateful!

Clock Tower and Flags

I’m saving this photo for the header of the page about our veteran memorials.

I mentioned adding additional content to the website earlier. One item in particular I wanted to focus on was events. The RHSAA only has a few a year that we specifically sponsor, but there is so much more happening in relation to the school. That is why on our events page there is a link to a page about reunions as well as a link to a page of various Roosevelt calendars.

Two pages that really go hand in hand are the donate page and the grants page. Giving grants to student organizations is a big deal for us, but we can’t do that without donations from alumni. I wanted to make the donation page easy to read and very clear, and give examples of where donations have gone recently as a reason why donating is important. On the grants page I wanted to make it as clear as possible how to apply for grants and let those applying know that we have given to a lot of groups and would love to add them to the list. I think I accomplished both well, what do you think though?

A broader goal I have that doesn’t necessarily relate to my role as Webmaster but rather as a general Board Member, is to help showcase a more personable side of the organization. It can be easy for alumni who aren’t active with the association to see a title without faces and ambiguous achievements and have no idea who we are. Every board member is a real person, who went to the same school as everyone else and had an experience that made us want to continue to give back to that school and help connect our fellow classmates. How do we showcase that? Well, we can do simple things like put faces to names, and give information on our committees and how to get involved if you are interested. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve for other, non-website, possibilities.

board.png

While the website is up and published now, it doesn’t mean I am done. Since I have started my new job as a software developer in August, I have already learned a ton about web development that I want to implement on the website. There are plenty of pieces I want to redo and things to fix and make better. If you are looking at the website on mobile you probably will notice a few wonky things all over the place that I intend to clean up. Also, I just want to add more content. The history page is currently under construction, but I have about 6 sub pages already planned that are in the works.

This is a project I am really proud of. Not only have I enjoyed having something tangible to showcase my commitment to the organization, this is also a chance for professional development for me that directly relates to my career. I am really looking forward to continuing to improve the website and add to it and make it a genuinely useful tool for our association and our alumni. Thanks for joining me on this journey and stay tuned for the updates as they come!

Megan Hall

RHS Class of 2013

RHSAA Webmaster

webmaster@rooseveltalumni.org



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