In July 2003, five American scholars of British music were attending a conference in Leeds, England, and met for the first time. As all recent Ph.D. grads, we wished we had known about each other when we were writing our dissertations. Someone said, “well, should have a conference and create a society. And thus, The North American British Music Studies Association was born.
While our naming and acronym skills were not stellar, in fall 2003, we quickly got to work. But we needed a web presence. As the only founding member with any web design experience, though limited, I volunteered!
Create a simple, but effective website were we could share information about our society, our upcoming conference, and recruit new members.
I was content strategist, conceptual designer, web designer, and webmaster from 2003 to 2007.
I followed the general process for web design, though, given the simplicy to of the page, the process was truncated.
We wanted the page to be very simple, which suited my limited html skills. I created a makeshift logo for the header of the webpage and a simple sitemap. My fellow founding members offered extensive advice throughout the design process, and several fellow scholars/webmasters provided useful help in refining the page (and my html).
I created a basic, but functional webpage with clear categories that served our members and potential members. The website served us well until 2007, when a more experienced web designer and musicologist offered her services and revamped the webpage. In the early years, I received very positive feedback on the effectiveness of the page. Many liked the simplicity too.
Once we had an official logo and I had improved my web design skills, I was able to update the website.
While the sitemap was essentially the same, I was able to improve the aesthetics of the site and updated terminology based on feedback from our members (something I did on an ongoing basis).
What I Learned
I learned two important lessons.
- Jumping into the deep end is exciting, and you might surprise yourself!
- Somtimes simplicity is best.
As we were founding a new professional society, we had no funds to pay a designer or host a webpage. Queens College provided server space and a URL, and I gladly offered my skills. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and maintaining the page.