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Our website is all spruced up!

Welcome to our redesigned website! We are very proud and excited to present our efforts to our community.

As a Seattle-based graphic designer and Leschi resident, I had quite a few ideas about what the redesigned site could do: getting information to folks who want to know more about our area, promoting local events and Council activities, and especially celebrating the amazing people who make this area so wonderful.

I started helping the Council in 2012, processing this newsletter, bringing together stories, images and ads into a cohesive, print-ready document. Each month, it is like working a jigsaw puzzle: scoot this ad over here, then that article can go there, using tricks and gimmicks to make everything fit. I love doing it because it is always so satisfying to see the finished product.

A few years earlier, I designed the website of the Leschi Market, working with Yousef Shulman. So, when he became President of the Council, we started talking with Diane Snell about what we could do to make the online presence of the Council stronger and the site user-friendlier. I suggested using one of the online, web-building services, usually called a “content management system,” or CMS, which allows the site owner to create content, make changes and update their site however they like, from any computer in the world.

The most well known CMS is WordPress, which was initially constructed to make it easy for bloggers to create their posts and get their ideas on the web. However, it quickly became apparent that the technological advances and the organizational structure could readily be adapted to build all varieties of websites. WordPress competitors include Drupal, Squarespace, Joomla and Weebly. I chose a service called Wix, mostly because the interface was similar to the Adobe layout programs that I use in design. In addition, the pricing was right and I found plenty of great reviews about them.

So rolling up my sleeves, I got busy with one of my favorite things about graphic design: organization. Starting with close to 90 separate pages in the existing site, I put the name of each page into an Excel document, sorting out categories of information, which evolved into the main navigation menu that you see today. The secondary menus, like what you see under the “Our Council” tab, also came out of this process of bringing together the same kind of info and making logical groups.

But the best part of the project was seeing how easily Wix pulled together the overwhelming amount of terrific stories and articles about the Leschi area, its people and all of the exciting events and activities. When you visit the “Articles” page, you’ll see how the article categories work and how easy it is to get to where you want to go. Especially cool are the Reviews pages: arts and books and restaurants and wine, oh my. And see the Events & Calendar page lists for upcoming happenings. We also added a bit of e-commerce, so that subscriptions and memberships can be purchased online. Another benefit of the redesigned site has been the ability to offer online advertising for our local merchants.

And then, of course, I got to use pretty colors and fonts, designing the clean, crisp layout, recreating the “feel” of our lovely community. It was wonderful to help the Council do their job of bringing us together.

~Kirsten Hopperstad

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