I'm writing these notes to make visitors and users of this site aware of the effort and strategies that went into the construction of this site. It's our hope that this operating model and perhaps even this combination of software will be duplicated to create other memorial web sites, for other branches and units of the military and others as well.
In my career working with computer hardware, software, and networking since 1983, one phrase has rung true the entire time:
"If it was easy, fun, or cheap, everyone would do it!"
I. A modern site
A modern web site has to:
- be fast
- have minimum text
- work on mobile devices as well as desktop computers
- be fun
- be easy to maintain
- have fresh content every week, at least
- be connected to social media
- have enough graphical "eye-candy" to engage the viewer, but not too much
II. A "crowd-sourced" site
This means that we do not write much of the content, we rely upon site visitors to write it for us.
It's a fairly recent method of collaboration made possible by internet technologies.
Site visitors eventually take great pride in contributing content, and indeed much of the Moderation will also be done by site members.
And we get much higher quality content because the people who care about the material are posting it here themselves.
A crowd sourced site must
- have really good security
- have solid process flow
- workable procedures built in and some flexibility also
- easy to create forms
- easily manageable permissions, down to granular levels
III. A Memorial Site
A site that intends to be a respectful memorial to the departed needs to
- maintain a given level of respect
- be forthright and not dance around issues like death and injury
- be compassionate
- listen to the families and friends of the departed
- be a long term resource that will server multiple generations reliably
- be technically and emotionally accessible to people of all backgrounds, skill levels, and ages
- not be so somber and depressing as to turn people off
- be interesting enough that even people with no connection at all are visiting
- keep the memories of these men alive
In the next installment, I'll discuss the modular nature of Joomal and what software extensions have been used here to accomplish the above.