By partnering with local property and business owners, the Arts Alive 45 committee beautifies drab or vacant properties. Following the “broken glass theory,” that run-down locations exacerbate local crime, they strive to add art to the 45th ward, making it more attractive to current business owners and locals, and to invite economic development.
Before they approached Claudia Laska’s Media Publishing class for a web presence, they relied on a few online PDFs and several photo galleries to communicate their message.
A team of three students was assigned to build Arts Alive 45, an interactive website with Google integration as well as social media access. Instructing committee members how to use their new website was also part of the challenge.
Interactive Arts and Media students Rebecca Christensen, Caro Griffin and Blair Mishleau, wrote code, designed, copy edited and provided training sessions.
From the start, focus was on easy usability and maintenance per the committee’s request. The goal was complete autonomy for Arts Alive 45 and to provide them with knowledge to problem-solve basic issues and maintain and update the site entirely on their own. The IAM team used the highly intuitive WordPress CMS to build the website foundation and designed a highly customizable theme with an easy-to-use GUI. An embedded Google Map showcases the various locations of Arts Alive 45 projects and adds a simple interactive element to the site.
After several weeks of trial and error, the site went live. The homepage features a roomy, versatile slider suitable for images, text or a combination of both. Built-in Twitter and Facebook integration synchronizes communication.
Yet, despite numerous efforts to ensure easy transfer of website management, frantic questions quickly accumulated as soon as the hand-off occurred: Lost passwords, deleted code and a pesky Google calendar code added to what eventually became the exchange of approximately 100 emails. The IAM team was expected to respond in a timely and professional manner. It was a valuable learning experience for all of us.
Autonomy has now been achieved, with only some rare tweaking from the IAM team. The experience has been incredibly positive. Arts Alive 45 has an undeniable, strong web presence. Visit www.artsalive45.com
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