I have a confession…

I have an addiction. I am “AppHappy.” As a communications/public relations major in college, the early days of my newsletters were done over a light board, with paper cut by hand, and glued with rubber cement. Fast forward 30 years, and we are carrying more powerful computers in our hands than any of us could have imagined even 5 years ago.

These full smart phones and tablets illuminate with these bright-colored little icons that appear on my iPhone or iPad, grab my attention, and I am drawn in. It is that eternal search for the ideal app that will bring balance and harmony to my life via keeping my calendar, organizing all my meeting notes, building my task lists automatically, editing and filing my documents, issuing reminders, returning phone calls, making phone calls, as well as clarifying my priorities. In addition, I am looking for the app that will also do my laundry, clean the house, run my errands, fill my gas tank, cook and clean up for me, take my mom to the doctor, organize my social life (or lack thereof), pay my bills, walk the dog (oh, I don’t have a dog) and any other aspects of my life. And oh, the last one — exercise for me. Is this all too much to ask?

Technology has transformed our lives. In some sense, it has made our lives so much more complicated, but in other ways, the universe is at our fingertips. When my kids ask me a question or something I don’t have the answer to my go to response is: “Google It.”

When I first arrived 13 years ago, the MCBA had a website that was about 3-5 years old at the time. To make any changes to the site, even a correction of a name or the posting of a press release PDF would cost us $50/hour, even if it took less than 5 minutes, paid to a consultant, who was not always available. If she was out of town, updates could wait several days.

Over the past 13 years the website and our technology has advanced. But as we all know, you launch something new, and the next day, it is old.

So based on feedback from you, our valued members, and advancements in technology, we have been planning a redesign of the website for more than 6 months now. No small task. Though we are not considered to be a “big bar”, we have a very “big” website, in terms of content because of the extensive programming we do. We have so much information out there, and every single letter and word is managed by this small team.

So as of today, the design is complete, and I have to say, is pretty cool.Very intuitive; pleasing to the eye; very functional. The process started by spending hours combing the internet for designs that we like, favored, envied from other bar associations or just random sites. We had input from engaged and random members along the way, and this has been most helpful. This morning I am in a meeting with Liz Novak, Communications & Membership Manager, and her dedicated creative team, Dajaneé Parrish and Merritt Smith, as they are being toured through the new content management system (CMS). So instead of paying someone outside to manage the content, this talented and dedicated team, will manage all the content internally.

Liz Novak and Dajaneé Parrish

Liz Novak and Dajaneé Parrish

Merritt Smith

Merritt Smith

When I saw the CMS screen being demonstrated through GoTo Meeting, I asked them what they all thought. Unanimously, they all nodded with enthusiasm, their approval of the new system. I on the other hand, was still trying to figure out what CMS stands for. The good news is, they understand it. I don’t need to. I just need to know they do.

Some of the exciting features of the new website are:

  • Dedicated members only areas….much more than before.
  • Direct integration with our membership management system, making registrations for events and CLEs much easier for our members, and eliminating risk of error.
  • Event photo galleries.
  • Mobile responsive — meaning it will adapt to your devices, whether it be a tablet, a smart phone or your desktop.
  • And more…

At this stage, we will be starting the process of updating and moving all the content from the old site to the new site, while also determining, does it need to go at all. The transition of all the data could, in itself, be a 4-6 week project. In addition, there will be a learning curve for all involved – including our members. Much of our website will be “members only” so as members, once you receive your login and password, you’ll need to keep it in a safe place in order to gain access to our website.

However, the first sneak peek will be at the Installation Dinner on June 19th, when outgoing president, Diane Cecero, gives you a preview of this much-anticipated, and did I say, cool, new MCBA website.

Thanks for checking in,

Mary

 

 

 

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