The new web face of The Grand Lodge of Texas

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Bro. Brad Marrs, Dec 15, 2012.

  1. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    Brethren,

    The Grand Lodge of Texas Internet Committee has launched a new web site for The Grand Lodge of Texas!

    We've been working on this for the last 6 months, and are proud to present it to you. Almost every change to the site was based on what we've learned after four years of experience with the existing site. Examples include things like having all content sit in a queue to be examined before it is added to the site; having the various forms from lodges, committees and events have an expiration date so they automatically expire and thus eliminate confusion in the future; having major upcoming events prominently displayed without obscuring other events; and making it easier to find things without having the front page appear busy to the point of creating frustration.

    Blue Lodge content has also been moved to another section of the site, called Lodges, which will hopefully make things easier for you to find and navigate. The Lodges section is where your events and stories will reside. Grand Lodge updates will be easy to find here as well, but the Grand Lodge has its own section.

    This new design will allow us to move toward a more user friendly environment for both our public visitors and the various committees and groups that respond to inquiries. We chose a book type design that guides users towards content; a good example of which is the Freemasonry page, which explains our Fraternity, and then walks them through the process of petitioning. Please keep in mind that our goal continues to be to make the site better, easier, and more user friendly for all involved.

    We've also implemented a Help Desk, which gives us the ability to track problems, and get the right folks involved. We are also working with a more cohesive integration with the other Grand Lodge committees and offices, so we can all keep things updated with the most accurate information.

    The Lodge Locator has been redesigned to get results to you quickly and easily. We're still investigating robust integration opportunities with other GL offices, so this database gets updated out of band. To that end, if you see something in the Lodge Locator that is out of date, ask your Secretary to use the new help desk tool and request the desired updates.

    Please take a moment and navigate through the site. Some content is still being gathered for the new Masonic year, such as appointed officers, and new committee members. We'll get that content updated as soon as we get it. Your feedback is welcome, and we hope you are as proud of the new site as we are.

    Sincerely & Fraternally,
    Brad Marrs
    WM, The Colony No. 1451
    The Grand Lodge of Texas Internet Committee
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  2. Bill Hosler

    Bill Hosler Registered User

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    I like the look of the new site. So far it has been much easier to navigate. I notice there are still some things that need tweeking ( eg the photo gallery). I like the white background versus the black.

    Im curious, did you custom build the site or did you use a Content managemeny system?

    You guys did a great job!
     
  3. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    Thanks for the kind words Brother. The gallery is a separate system, and we will be re-skinning it soon. We will also be moving image content to flickr, which has more robust integration. The site is based on Drupal.
     
  4. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    It looks really great. A big step forward and excellently done.

    What I would love to see on there is more relevant masonic content. For instance the GLoTX laws electronically, the investigation manual, any form that a secretary might need, lists of the books and merchandise one can by from Grand Lodge etc. Make it a resource to go find anything you as a Texas need about Texas masonry.
     
  5. Bro. David F. Hill

    Bro. David F. Hill David F. Hill Premium Member

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    Looks good. I have been using Wordpress for mine. How was Drupal? No distracting elements to clog up the works.
     
  6. bupton52

    bupton52 Moderator Premium Member

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    The site looks great!!
     
  7. crono782

    crono782 Premium Member

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    I like that it got a makeover. I've never been a fan of Drupal or Wordpress sites, but it does look sharper than the old site. I'm finding lots of broken images throughout the site still. It would be nice to have a more robust lodge locator (with google maps integration perhaps) or at least with zip code lookup. Looks like it still needs some tweaking, but it's off to a great start!
     
  8. Benton

    Benton Premium Member

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    It's significantly improved over the old site, thats for sure. It looks like its moved into the 21st century finally, which I think is important. As a young man myself (25) its a pretty big turnoff to see websites that look like they were built in 1991 and haven't been updated since.

    The old site wasn't that bad; I exaggerate to make a point.

    All that said, though, its a significant improvement, and I think a worthwhile investment. Great work to everyone involved. :)
     
  9. robert leachman

    robert leachman Registered User

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    I'd like to see an up to date telephone number for a point of contact for each lodge.

    Mailing addresses are ok for somethings but if I'm trying to find out about something in the next week or two the USPS ain't gonna cut it!

    S & F,
    Robert
     
  10. Kenneth Lottman

    Kenneth Lottman Registered User

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    Looks good what I would like to see is a mobile version of it with lodge locator tab calendar of event and recent news feeds but all in all it's 100 times better then the old and much better on the eyes!
     
  11. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    Great points, Brother! We're working with the Grand Orator and Education Committee to do just that. Keep an eye out for monthly updates.

    We're also working on the other manuals, and some additional forms.
     
  12. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    You're right, and we're working in that direction. Stay tuned for more robust integration with Lodge data!
     
  13. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    Thanks, Brother! Mobile content and accessibility is on our roadmap, for sure!
     
  14. Bro. Brad Marrs

    Bro. Brad Marrs Premium Member

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    A little more cumbersome than WP, but has better integration for what we need.
     
  15. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    LOOOVE IT! So much cleaner! A huge thanks to the GLIC for all their hard work! Now linked on this site and our facebook page.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  16. bro jimmie

    bro jimmie Registered User

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    Website

    Nice new Web site
     
  17. Mac

    Mac Moderator Premium Member

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    To the GLIC: Well done! The site looks much cleaner now. I agree with two previous points raised: Google Maps integration with the lodge finder, and the ability to access download GL law, etc. $10 for a CD is... acceptable, but download would be preferable. Even if I had to pay for it (but not $10). ;)
     
  18. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

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    If you haven't checked it out yet, do so! Vast improvement from the previous one.
     
  19. Txmason

    Txmason Registered User

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    Can any brothers help me out with designing and me learning how to maintain a website for our lodge?

    We have a template design through one and one and would love to find a place that is less expensive then them. We are paying about $80.00 a month. Any help is graciously appreciated.

    Best,
    Jerry


    Freemason Connect Premium App
     
  20. chrmc

    chrmc Registered User

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    I've used one.com for years for my personal space without any problems at all. Otherwise I think godaddy.com is one of the other good ones out there.
     

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