Our website, which was designed and is updated solely by team members, is powered by WordPress and hosted in-house with BU. Although it is a WordPress site, we have heavily customized it with our own HTML as much as BU will allow us. We have chosen WordPress because it allows very easy collaboration amongst web masters and bloggers. Additionally, it’s friendly user interface allows us to add new bloggers with minimal training.
Hosting our website with BU ensures both short and long term stability, and allows easy user management using every team member’s BU Login Name.
This website went live in January 2011. Prior to that, we used the domain www.burobotics.org, which we still own, but have set up to redirect to this new website. Our old websites phased in and out of maintenance as team members either lost focus or graduated. By using BU WordPress, every team member can be easily added to edit the website through use of their BU Login Name. As a result, this webpage should be kept up and running with much more consistency.
In 2012, we received the Website Excellence Award:
We did the following since 2011 to improve our website to one worthy of this award:
- We have completely rewritten our About FIRST page from scratch.
- We have added a team members page, with a photo and bio for every team member and mentor.
- We have added a new, greatly improved About Us page.
- We significantly improved our compatibility with web standards, as checked by the W3C markup validation service.
- We greatly improved the organization of the pages of our site, condensing and rearranging pages to make the website much easier to navigate.
- We added a “Member Area” link for team members to FirstClass, our school’s mail server and the location of our team’s conference where we post all internal updates and messages.
- In our efforts to publicize the work of FIRST as much as possible, we have and will continue to publicize our website with increased vigor, through the use of QR codes, adding links to it on every team publication, and increasing our SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
- We improved our social media integration by adding all of our events to our Facebook page. We also increased the frequency of updates to our Facebook and Twitter pages, which we also linked together.
- We shortened the length of the sidebars relative to the content of the pages on the site, thereby significantly reducing the amount of white space on every page.
- We improved the cutout of the FIRST logo in the footer of the site
- We increased the integration of AdSense ads as part of our strategic Business Plan
- Added the word FIRST to site header – Dean’s homework 2011
- We went through the FIRST website checklist more thoroughly, in the hopes of improving our website’s ability to promote not only our team but FIRST as a whole.
We continue to add content conscious of the fact that many of our website visitors may have never heard of FIRST. Our homepage explains who we are through the use of text, multimedia, and social media integration. Our blog updates are frequent and update the community on both public outreach events as well as internal happenings. We also continue to maintain our team store to allow visitors to get involved through the purchase of a FIRST Green e-watt bulb.
In 2011, we received the following feedback from FIRST in reply to our application for the Website Award:
This site has a lot of great information that would be helpful to a
visitor who has never heard of FIRST. The slideshow and the
image-mapped graphic on the homepage are very unique and add to the
first impression of the site. I love the links on the bottom to social
media and news articles. Great resources for other teams. Would like to
see more recognition of mentors and team members. The FIRST logo on the
very bottom of the page is not a great cutout; there are versions of
the logo without backgrounds that would be useful there. Would like to
see more about Logo Motion as a game. Great use of the team store to
sell the FIRST lightbulbs!
Info at bottom of page overlaps each other. No mention of
volunteers/mentors. need pictures…multimedia
There’s so much white on here. I just feel like I don’t know what I’m
looking at half the time.
Fantastic site. Validates everywhere. Lots of care was taken in
modifying WordPress. I never would of guessed WP if I did not look
under the hood. Jquery is a great choice. Nicely used. Congrats. Great
To contact the web design team, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
We appreciate all feedback!