SEFA WebsiteSubmitted by kidconcept on Tue, 06/05/2012 - 13:40
Working With a Good Organization
San Francisco's South East Food Access (SEFA) is a great organization that serves the BAYVIEW Hunters-Point districts of S.F. Their mission is "to ensure that healthy, fresh, sustainable, and affordable food is accessible to all residents of Bayview Hunters Point." They run food awareness, gardening, distribution programs getting local residents involved in bettering their food supply. Pretty cool.
Often most the work is before you get started
They asked BAYCAT to help them build a website, which is where I come in. SEFA had almost nothing online, a single page hosted on a government site with a long list of links to various documents. So we started with a on paper work session to find out what was most important about their organization and what they needed the website to communicate. Being a collation of organizations volunteers they hadn't yet thought of their organization in a descriptive, complete way. So most of the important work became the information architecture. We had to determine what the information was and what was a sensible way to organize it. With this project, we had to constantly steer the conversation towards a decrese in entropy, which meant the players had to make decisions about the organization structure they hadn't thought of before. This took some back and forth, but by referring to visuals and breaking the project into discrete tasks, we were able to get through it happy with our work. Eventually we produced a sitemap:
While making the sitemap we starting thinking about the best way to organize content on the screen. I wanted a way that was going to give them the flexibility they needed to organize their types of content and work easily with wordpress, which we had already identified as our CMS. I thought that if I kept all the content as posts and pages it would make it easy to build and easy for them to manage. We also had a microsite within the site, to cover a separate volunteer program they run called the food-guardians. Eventually I built all of the wireframes into a clickable framework so they could play with how the site might work. This helped them visualize the site and see the practicality of our earlier organizational work. I think a usable, html based wireframe is especially important for a client who doesn't have a clear vision of their website.
And some branding, oh and development
Because we were stretched thin on resources, I opted to wrap the branding and identity work into the visual design for the website. They didn't have an existing logo or visual identity so the risk was that they wouldn't like any logo I produced in the visual comps and we would fall into a full fledged branding project. I kept clear the boundaries and scope of work and luckily they liked what I made with little revision. We produced three comps and SEFA chose the least conservative which always makes me happy. Though I always feel like I should do something with the discarded alternate designs. Maybe there is someway I could open-source them as themes.
After we got the visual design settled I made the theme. I used twentyeleven as a base theme, which I'm beginning to think is a mistake. It seems like it's always a hassle to work around it's existing extensive functions.php file. If I knew a bit more PHP I could just start from scratch. Add an item to the learn list.