How the new Web site came about

By Broc Hite, Piano Instructor and Webmaster

When I joined the faculty at Shepherd Music School in July, I searched the Web to see what kind of online presence the school had. It turned out that we had not one, but two Web sites, both of which had their charms, but also many signs that neither site had been updated for a very long time. I asked the director, Evy Lamb, if she would be interested in having a replacement site developed. She said “go for it!”

I took a two-month online course with Codeacademy.com this spring in Web site design, in which I learned not only about Web design, but also the perspective of the user. A good site has to look good on all kinds of viewing devices, from phones, tablets, notebooks, and large desktop monitors. A site also has to answer many of the questions that the user has, else there is little chance they will fill in the contact form to start a conversation. It also has to be simple to navigate, else the user will click away, instead of clicking inside the site to explore more of its pages.

Despite learning a lot of high-end skills that I would have loved to deploy here, I decided to keep the site on free WordPress.com, which means that there are no cumbersome maintenance responsibilities, but it also means that there isn’t a lot of customization allowed. However, I do hope that the user-focused design is apparent. I wanted to keep the interface clean with simple menus to navigate. Though the primary focus of the site is to describe the school to prospective new students, there’s also useful information for current students as well. In particular, the Documents page has registration forms, calendars, and even a guide to recital etiquette.

Feel free to contact us to let us know how you like our new site!

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