A New D25 Website – A Labor of Love

A New D25 Website – A Labor of Love

by Chuck Mencke, DTM – District 25 Web Team Member

Do you know what goes on behind the scenes at District 25? Do you know what it takes to keep our fabulous district humming like a top? Hundreds of dedicated D25 members give freely of their time and talents to make all the magic happen. They make it look seamless!

Today, I would like to tell you about one of the teams of magicians – the District 25 Web Team. Did you even know District 25 had a dedicated web team? I’d like to brag about the major project taking place right under your nose.

For the past year, the web team, consisting of Michael Levy, Diana Patton, and I, have devoted over a thousand hours developing a brand-new website to be unveiled VERY soon, possibly by the weekend after our annual conference. That’s less than 2 weeks away!

Michael Levy, our resident WordPress guru, is the driving force behind the development. A dedicated Toastmaster, who also holds down a full-time job with the City of Grand Prairie, Michael has devoted his evenings and days off to bringing the new site to fruition.

Diana and I — retired from our real jobs — took on Toastmasters duties full-time. Diana is our current website’s guardian angel. She has enough historical D25 knowledge to make anyone’s head spin! Members’ needs are always the utmost importance in her input of the site navigation and page layouts.

I’ve been overseeing the project, and with Diana’s help, keeping our current website updated, making edits almost daily. I continually format and publish all the wonderful inspiring Hot Topics posts, submitted throughout the month. There’s always something to do on the website.

Why do we need a new website? To put it simply, the backend of our current site is broken and very touchy when it comes to updating content. We keep the front end looking nice and pretty while dealing with a pesky backend where all the editing is accomplished.

The new site will allow the web team to work smarter not harder in providing the most current information for you. We are developing systems that will push updates out automatically. Future updates won’t be so laborious and time consuming for the web team and District Leaders and staff.

Our current website was launched after a redesign in 2011, it is time for a facelift. The new website will have an updated look, while retaining a lot of familiarity that our D25 website is known for around the globe.

The new D25 site is sleeker, faster, and full of surprises for the user with updated graphics. The focus of the site is an event-driven calendar application which will update automatically within 15 minutes after a new calendar entry is made. All the event information a member needs will be found mostly on the new District calendar page. You’ll be able to explore all the unique calendars that pertain to what you, as a member need.

Worried about navigation, no need, Michael has created a video library to help the members learn how to navigate the new site. We expect some tweaking to be necessary after the launch, but the main functionality of the website will be available right after the launch.

Once the new site goes live, if you run across something egregious, something that isn’t functioning like it should or if you can’t find something you’re looking for, please reach out to the team at webteam@d25toastmasters.org. We‘ll whip out our magic wands and respond as quickly as possible. The migration from the old website to the new website will begin on May 19th. May 20 is the tentative launch date! There may be some brief outages, but they will be brief.

The new D25 website truly has been a labor of love. Sincerely, I can’t say enough about my fellow team members and their dedication to achieving excellence in all that they do. It’s been an honor working alongside of them this past 12 months.