Some projects just feel right and we appreciate when they do.
I have been lucky enough to work on the Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s new website, which was such a great experience I wish I could bottle this magic formula of project joy and save it for future use. So what is this formula? Good people, great content, clear communication, and excellent execution. Some of these elements are often present on a project, but when they all come together satisfaction flourishes exponentially.
PAAM’s previous website was clearly underserving the vibrant art community of Provincetown. In order to get PAAM’s new website over the finish line, we would need to start with a strong strategy. Brandon Walsh, Dominus of Digital Media, constructed an information architecture that was able to coalesce the broad and deep content of the previous website into a easily navigable structure. PAAM offers a lot! Exhibitions, Education, Collection, Events, Membership and more. PAAM is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and their are plenty of special events to go along this remarkable occasion. Brandon really did a great job balancing these elements so website users can easily discovery all that PAAM has to offer.
This project would not have happened without Joerg Dressler, who delivered a stunningly beautiful web design. Balanced, clean, colorful, classy, fun, with the perfect amount of room for PAAM’s art and photography to shine. I don’t know how Joerg managed to combine all of these virtues of design so perfectly, but that is why we love Joerg. Joerg has his own paintings on display at PAAM, so his influence will continue to be felt for many years to come.
It was my job to develop the website. I wanted to emphasize an extremely friendly user interface for the site administrators and WordPress is the perfect tool to accomplish this. My goal was for the site admins to not only find the site enjoyable to use, but to provoke them to want use it everyday and feel gratified in doing so.
As the site development was taking shape and the PAAM staff got up to speed entering content, it was natural for me to also take on the role of project manager. This helped work get completed quickly and efficiently as communication relating to functionality, performance, client expectations, and product delivery was streamlined. Brandon and Joerg shored up my weaknesses as necessary, but overall this process worked extremely well.
The Workshops portion of the Education section was the most fun to develop. Each season is a Workshop ( except winter ) where classes are offered in various disciplines of art education. Each Workshop class has a date, price, subject, teaching artist, etc. Since these classes often reoccur over time it made sense to give PAAM the ability to create a class that lives permanently in the “back-end” of WordPress, which could then be assigned to a Workshop season when necessary. Teaching Artists also can be created in this way and assigned to a class in a Workshop.
The beauty of this is that many of these parts are reusable allowing PAAM to create workshops easily. The Workshop classes can be filtered by category or by date and there is also a view of all the teaching artists involved in a particular Workshop. The entire Workshops section is handled by one very smart WordPress template. Here is a view of the Workshop creation in WordPress, then a snippet of the code looping through the course data, and then the output on the front-end…
It was also important that any page can be assigned any of the following modules: accordion ( collapsable drawers ), page list ( excerpt, image, and links to other pages on the site ), image gallery, adlobs ( Advertisement Like Objects – seven different variations ), forms, sponsor section. This is the flexibility site administrators dream of.
I have yet to actually meet the PAAM staff in person, but I hope to have the opportunity this summer! The distance from Boston to Provincetown was an impediment, but with the terrible weather we had this past winter it significantly reduced our opportunities for travel. Luckily Joerg was able to make some personal visits to PAAM due to his part-time residence in Provincetown, but the rest of our communication was exclusively through conference calls, online meetings, and Basecamp.
The PAAM staff are really responsible for making this project a success. They worked so hard on content, messaging, details, organization, learning all the technical knowledge required of them, but most importantly the PAAM staff is an absolute pleasure to work with. Check out paam.org and if you are in Provincetown then definitely take the opportunity to visit the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.