Albany High School barely had an Internet presence nine years ago, when we launched a website using a product from Google called Sites. The platform limited our creative freedom, but it was free and provided a range of functionality that we were looking for. It served us well, but Google hasn't supported the product in years. Its integration with our AHS News Update email system was broken. And the site was not responsive—a term used by web developers to describe pages that adjust to varying screen shapes and sizes. Even so, 40% of our visitors regularly tried to view the old site on a mobile device. Today we are happy to unveil the new, and very mobile-friendly, ahs.ausdk12.org.
Redesigns often happen for their own sake, but in this case, a total overhaul was useful. Looking at analytics data from the past decade, it became clear that some of the most desirable information on our site was really hard to get. The homepage of our old site was filled with news items, but users aren't browsing our site in an unprompted manner like they might do on nytimes.com or ESPN; they come when they need something. (We are talking about teenagers, after all.) The new homepage forgoes flash for functionality. A majority of its real estate is dominated by elements we're calling "Quick Guides." Some Quick Guides will be permanent, while others will be swapped in and out during the year. For example, there is a "Schedule Changes" Quick Guide up right now that will likely become a "College Apps" Quick Guide in a few weeks. NO ONE can remember our crazy bell schedule, so that Quick Guide will likely stick around ;)
To start, we focused on transitioning content from the old site to the new one. In the coming months, we'll post more videos and photos and really flex the muscles of our new platform. We're excited to have a better tool with which to share all that our students and teachers accomplish.
Thanks for reading. I hope everyone had a relaxing summer and is ready for a great year,
Teacher, Graphic Design | Film Production