CFCC Foundation

Over the last month I have been working closely with the  Cape Fear Community College Foundation. The Foundation is CFCC’s non-profit fund raising organization. Their existing web pages are a part of the CFCC.edu website  and designed within the CFCC web template. The web pages display announcements of news and events, scholarship information, faculty grants, student ambassador applications and a whole lot more.

I became interested in the Foundation site when I had an opportunity to see how other schools where presenting their counterpart organizations on the web. This gave me the idea to redesign the Foundation website. I decided that reorganizing the existing content within the CFCC.edu web template wouldn’t be good enough. I felt that a total realignment of the Foundation’s web presence was needed. They needed a bold new face, a focused message, and improved accessibility of their content.

I cleared the project with the Web Master and presented my ideas to members of the Foundation.  I don’t think I’ve seen anyone so excited by the prospect of a redesign. With greenlights from all parties I got to work.

The website is still under development and will tentatively launch in late April. But, I’m in a sharing mood and want to give you a sneak peak.

The Foundation Landing Page.

The Foundation Landing Page.

This website has been developed as a WordPress theme. (Pause for effect) My decision to do this has been based on much debate as well as the need of the Foundation to have  a way to update and maintain their website. It was clear by the type of content on their old site that the Foundation had a need for announcing  news and events, for posting press releases and for archiving the older content. These are all features easily handled by  WordPress.

An Example of Internal Page

An Example of an Internal Page

After discussing it with the Web Master it was decided that a custom WordPress theme would be appropriate for the new site. We were already running WordPress MU and support several faculty and staff blogs.  I figured this would be pretty much the same thing but on a larger scale.

I knew the Foundation had some static pages that would also go into the new site.  I just didn’t realize how much static content would be going into this. I know some other schools have used WordPress as  a “light” CMS to some success. I’m also aware that many argue that using WordPress in this way is inappropriate. It is, after all, Blog software.

All arguments and debates aside this site uses WordPress as a CMS. It has presented some unique and engaging challenges, but not insurmountable ones. (more on that, and my thoughts on WordPress as a CMS in a future post)

I’m confident that this site is going to be very successful though there are still many unknowns to be addressed in the weeks to come. WordPress or not I feel that the ultimate success of this site depends on the end user’s ability to create and maintain content. And, of cource the site visitor’s ability to find and access that content.

We’ll see what we can see in the post launch analytics.

J-