I’m really pleased the new e-rider website went live last week. On the site you’ll find all you need to know about the new IT advisory and support service available to community and voluntary organisations in the Wellington region.
Perhaps even bigger news is that the e-rider service is actually underway. Last time I wrote about the project being run by Wellington ICT in August we were still looking for an IT professional to serve as our first mobile advisor, (see Wanted e-Rider mobile ICT technician/ advisor). In early October Lindsay Hunter started part-time.
It’s been a helluva busy time marketing the service, setting up the office (including choosing a CRM to track our marketing efforts, more on this later), taking care of all the usual project management stuff, as well as setting up the new website.
Setting up the website has been a joint effort. I was fortunate that Dave Turton stepped forwarded to help with design and the technical side of things following a request I made to the Php users group mailing list. He runs his own web design company called Indede alongside working in an IT role at the Correspondence School.
I chose the Drupal open-source content management system as the back-end for the website. I chose it because I wanted something with consistent layout, ease of updating (without having to mess around with too much HTML coding) and to demonstrate what could be done with something off the shelf. Dave reckons he spent about 4-5 hours getting the site running and adding the design template.
My initial organisation and text was reviewed and edited by Tina Callcut. She made some fairly dramatic suggestions for layout and organisation (I gulped when I saw them), and pruned the text back so it’s web friendly.
The contributions from Dave and Tina were voluntary, so I want to make deal about thanking them. Of course, thanks are also due to Wellington Community Net (WCN) for the free web hosting service it provides. Tim Jordan, WCN’s coordinator, provided lots of sage advice about some of the technical nitty gritty.
Work on the website hasn’t finished now that it’s launched. We need to make sure the content is accurate, links working, etc, as well as ensuring it doesn’t grow stale. First on the list of enhancements are some photos for the header, then expanding the resources page.
Thinking about the bigger scheme of things, I won’t actually be spending much time on the website. We’re finding that meeting people kanohi ti kanohi is the best way to promote the service. The e-rider service, with it’s focus on helping groups prevent problems rather than calling in technicians after something crashes, is not something people have necessarily given a lot of thought to. So the website sits there in the background, playing a supporting role, while Lindsay and I talk to people.
Better get a move on. Setting up a new service like the e-rider takes lots of work.