January 28, 2010

Checking the new site and bowing out

So we're up and new and live here at Princeton High School's new website...

We've been live and on the web since Friday of last week, and I'm still trying to get all of the content on the new website.  It's been a hectic few weeks since the initial training just before Winter Break when I was given initial access to start mucking about with the pages, but the beast is out of the cage at this point and there's nothing to be done but to deal with what it is.

I've been living with the website for a month now, and there are a number of things that I really like about the site...
  • There's a searchable staff directory.  This is something that I've wanted to have for the past couple of years and that I simply didn't have any clue how to code.  A few years back, our AP computer programming teacher sent out an email asking if we had any projects that his kids could work on, and this was my one request 'cause I knew I was probably never going to be able to put the thing together on my own.
  • There's a massive and nicely complete site map.  This is also something that I think could be really helpful for anybody using the website in case they want to find a specific page.
  • There's the nicely integrated search function for the whole website (up in the top right corner) of each page - probably something that more people will use than the sitemap.
  • The whole thing looks awesomely professional and pretty slick.
  • The rotating photos on the front page of each school webpage can really be a nice addition
  • And the way that the website is updated is so easy for anybody to use that people from every club, every team, every whatever can make their own page with absolutely no formal, in depth training.
It's a far more professional site than I likely ever would have created, particularly because it was designed by people who have skills far above my level.

And I just send in my three-line letter of resignation from managing the high school portion of it.

I loved the old site.  I took it over from a friend and saw how much it could be useful to the parents and students of Princeton and how much ownership they could take of the site if they were allowed to interact with it.

For three years, the website was my personal sandbox, and I'd like to think that I at least entertained a bunch of students and parents and maybe made finding some information a little easier for them.

But the new direction that the website is taking is toward more uniformity within the entire district.  Each school's pages are to look as identical as possible, and the links are to be as uniform as they could be, and that just isn't what I wanted to be involved in creating.

My goal was always to have people think that my site - and I know it wasn't really my site - was the best in the district, that it offered something that the other schools didn't because of the time that I  - and at least a few other students - put into it.

That wasn't the goal of the new site design, so I'm stepping out before it becomes too hard for me to do so.

I remember when Bob Knight went on his final probation at Indiana University.  We all knew that Coach Knight was a man who wasn't cut out to live under a zero-tolerance policy, that it was just a matter of time before he was removed from his position.  "Why doesn't he just resign," I remember wondering at the time.

In this case, I decided to simply step away rather than to continue in a situation in which I was fighting to hold onto any smallest scrap of the job and the product that I enjoyed so much simply didn't exist any more.

So, hopefully I'll have more time to do the things that I do enjoy the hell out of - blogging, taking photos of school events - and might have a new project in the works to showcase the second of those things in the near future.

To those of you in the Princeton community, I thank you for any kind words or thoughts that you might have passed along to me in the past few years regarding the website, and I hope that you - and I - end up with a website that someone else loves creating.

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