2020 was an odd year—breaking news, I know…—with the pandemic, election, and widespread dissent against racial injustice. It was full of pain, chaos, sadness, anger, and fear. It was also full of moments of boredom, mutual aid, and joy. And it must be said that far too often, the negative consequences of this year—like every year before it—fell on the most vulnerable and least-advantaged in our society.
Through it all, I continued building websites in support of organizations and communities while so many of us adjusted to the new reality of working during a pandemic. The work to build a better world locally and globally never stops.
As I wrote in last year’s roundup, “Websites are just tools that support organizations as they work toward their missions to improve the world.” I know the role my works plays is just one small piece of the puzzle, but it’s one I’m proud of.
Here are the eight sites I launched in 2020!
Compass Housing Alliance
Compass Housing Alliance does critical on-the-ground work supporting people impacted by the housing crisis in Seattle. Their previous website had grown fragmented over time, and information needed to be streamlined and laid out in a consistent manner. Starting in late 2019 and launching in January 2020, the new site was responsive, clean, and cohesive, preparing them for the unexpected year to come.
Prepare. Respond. Serve.
In early March as the pandemic forced many unprepared nonprofits to support the technology demands of a newly remote staff, I worked with 501 Commons and Tech Impact to quickly launch Prepare. Respond. Serve. I created a logo, design, and customized WordPress theme to house the resources and webinars about work-from-home technology they were releasing as fast as possible. In just about a week, we made a new website that let nonprofits sign up for webinars and learn about their new and sudden technology needs.
Northwest Lymphedema Center
After helping Northwest Lymphedema Center upgrade their WordPress site two years ago, they refreshed the look of their site this year to better represent the organization and their community. Working with the talented designer Yasmine Rafii, I took the new designs and created a user-friendly website that the organization can manage themselves. In a year that has kept so many people apart, welcoming websites are more important than ever for local organizations that support people facing health challenges.
The May launch of a new website for Metis Associates was a long time coming. After consulting with them in 2019 and providing a list of recommended improvements, I was thrilled to work with their team to implement the changes! Following an in-depth process to create an entirely new site structure and a competitor design analysis, we created a site that showcases the organization’s work through the successes of their clients. With totally rewritten pages following best practices, their services and focus areas are tailored and waiting to assist future clients.
In two series of “sprints” in May-June and November-December, I enjoyed working with a team from Jazkarta to implement a new look and feel for Better Evidence, a program giving away an important medical tool to medical professionals around the world who can’t afford the expensive subscription. This project was especially fun because it was a custom application—not WordPress—and allowed me to heavily optimize the code I wrote. Through our work, we made massive improvements to the application process, administrative screens, and the site’s overall size, resulting in significant time and resources savings for everyone who uses the site.
WSCADV: Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
June brought my largest site launch of the year for WSCADV. I was honored that WSCADV chose to bring me back for a second redesign, and I think we did amazing work! The new site included a brand new design, heavily revised information, and improved features:
- Their team gave a hard look at their old content, and we created a new menu that helps their wide-ranging audience find the information they need quickly.
- That menu featured prominently in a unique sidebar navigation design featuring ‘mega menus” to handle the large number of menu items.
- We redesigned the Resource Library and rolled out a brand new Member Directory to keep complex content organized.
- A new contact form implements tech safety best practices for DV organizations and increased the speed and accuracy of staff responses to support inquiries.
- The homepage design successfully used a simple-but-effective content-driven strategy to produce a page and design that everyone was happy with!
- A few months after launching, I worked with an accessibility tester who uses a screen reader to further improve what was already one of my most accessible sites.
It has been fabulous to partner with WSCADV over many years, and I look forward to supporting their awesome new website in the years to come!
In August, I relaunched another a site I had built previously; in this case, nine years ago! In 2020, the site was showing its age with small photos and a narrow design. Thanks to the fabulous photography available for the site, we worked quickly and efficiently to rebuild the Archipelago Consulting website with a lightly customized WordPress theme. With thorough discovery and planning up front, the site came together very quickly once we started working, and the result is great!
COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
My final site launch of the year in October was unexpected, but a fitting end to 2020. In heavy collaboration with Jesse Snyder from Rasika Consulting, we built a COVID-19 vaccine tracker website for an amazing team of researchers at McGill University. After initially building their own site in Wix, the team brought us in to improve the site’s design and help them manage the large dataset they frequently import into WordPress. My work focused on the site’s design, especially the site’s trademark “cards” summarizing critical information about vaccines and trials.
I was grateful to work with such a smart team, and loved the resulting website that showcases the incredible data collection and analysis done by all the researchers. In a year where the pandemic dominated so much time and attention, it was so rewarding to participate in a public health project that has already been used by tens of thousands of people in over 180 countries!
Behind the Scenes: Block Editor Upgrades
Finally, I started this year with a goal of upgrading 10 client sites to the block editor, either through redesigns or stand-alone projects. While it took me until December, I was pleased that so many more of my clients are now using the new WordPress editor that gives site editors more control! Beyond three of the sites in this post, the Wildlands Network, Puget Soundkeeper, Clean Marina Washington, the Equity in Education Coalition, ECOSS, TREC, YouthCare, and JustLead Washington all upgraded to the block editor this year!
Thanks to every person this year who was a partner in collaboration, contributor to an organization I worked with, or supported my work in any way big or small. I love the network of people and causes my business interacts with and supports.
I hope 2021 will bring healing, health, coming together, and political courage, but it is all still so uncertain. What I know for sure is that 2021 will bring with it more websites!