As I have mentioned in previous posts, when I began work at the Kankakee Museum I was a design novice, at best. I had no experience with Publisher, let alone any sort of web design software. One day, I was given the responsibility of the website. As some readers may know or have gathered by now, I am a slightly anxious soul, and this was a big project. So, after a small panic session, I began my long and conflicted relationship with Iweb.
It may look easy, but with no experience with anything of the sort, it was a journey to say the least.
The first thing I tinkered with was the colors of the website. Its original colors were grey, blood orange, and shock blue. I unfortunately do not have a screen shot of the original site I was given. The above photo is after some small changes on my part. I changed the colors to what I wanted, the font and added lines around the boxes. This is the first web design I attempted, and I was very proud of it.
Over the course of six months I learned how to create more pages and add links to the website and I became much more comfortable navigating iweb. It became a really great opportunity to test out design and marketing techniques. After about a year using the format I was given, I started doing some research of other museums sites. I wanted to essentially build the museums site from scratch.
The above photos are the relatively finished product. In 2104 I redesigned the website using top tabs, and large photos as links to other pages. I researched other museums and historical society’s websites and settled on some techniques I thought looked nice that I knew I could replicate.
Over the course of the year we discovered our host had dropped their search engine optimization. This meant, when you typed “Kankakee Museum” or anything like it into google, our site would not only not be the first thing on the list, it would sometimes not even make the search results. We first didn’t know what happened, and after several days of adding the museum to sites like Google Business, Bing, Yahoo, Yelp, ect, we decided we had to make a change.
After some research we chose GoDaddy as a host, and I spent several weeks rebuilding the website using website builder. While it was easier to work with than iweb, I do miss the customization of the old apple software to this day.
This is our current website. It is simple, but it stays relatively the same all year round. I like the uniformity website builder offers. We also have a virtual museum with exhibits we would not be able to offer in the physical museum. I’m sure we will change up the website and integrate more video soon, and I’m excited to learn more!
Thanks for reading!