I used to make websites for a living for over a decade and before that, I did it as a hobby, for friends and family. Even Masonic websites…
For most people coming from a non-programming, non-computer-geek background, the very first “specialized” tool for creating and editing websites was FrontPage by Microsoft.
That was the tool for webpages, just like Office was for writing text. The difference is: FrontPage died out quietly – it stopped being part of the Office suite in 2003. Yes, 13 years ago!
Nevertheless, Masonic webmasters are still using it even in 2016! Really?
During my active years of web development, I’ve seen many things on the net claiming to be a website. Among them, there were excellent, intuitive and professional websites and many in dire need for a remake. I also had the chance to work with people from very different fields of the economy and social activity. But honestly, there is no any other field or social group with so many dated and awful looking websites as Freemasonry. OK, maybe in the nineties bored housewives created similar webpages using the first online tools like Geocities…
Since then, everybody went on remaking their web presence using modern tools and paying special attention to user experience (UX). Everybody but Masons. Yes, a minority of the Masonic bodies (lodges, Grand Lodges, Chapters, Valleys…) succeeded to bring up their websites to the standards of modern web design. But the majority of the existing Masonic sites are hard to look at. And they are not functional, either.
I think a short practical guide for Masonic webmasters should be helpful, so with this post, I am starting a series for the struggling webmaster brethren.
In the coming articles, we will talk about:
- simple affordable or free tools
- the main concepts of web design
- the components of a website
- taxonomy and navigation
- speed and usability
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