For the last few years, I've been building Drupal sites for nonprofits with a remote, virtual, flexible team of colleagues. These colleagues are all over—California, Boston, Illinois, and Oregon. I've met almost all of them, in some way, through our connections to NTEN. I've known several of them for many years, and a couple of them for over a decade.
In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, I'm giving my blog some attention today. I recently re-themed it with a customized version of AdaptiveTheme Sky. It's finally responsive (go ahead... try it). Hooray! Which brings me to the topic of responsive, on which I've been brewing thoughts for a while. It's hard to do anything in web design and development right now without hearing the term "responsive design" until your eyes glaze over. Responsive is a great concept. An increasing number of people are surfing on phones and tablets, and they expect to be able to do almost anything on their devices that they can do on a desktop. Much of the time, building one website that can adapt to different screen widths, using media queries, is a very elegant solution. So why are so many nonprofits still building non-responsive sites?
The orgs I love to work with most are almost always on fairly tight budgets. I often find that people's expecations of how a website should be built is backwards, or it's generic andonce Drupal has been chosenthis generic approach does a great disservice to a project budget. In a typical scenario, the org and designer consider the content that needs designing, come up with a web design and sitemap, and then expect Drupal developers to map that vision of the site into Drupal, and perhaps fudge the places where it's not a perfect fit.
To nonprofit tech geeks: I bring glad tidings. There is going to be more to love at the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conrerence this year. First, a quick rundown of the Drupal content planned to date for the 2012 NTC in San Francisco. Then, some background on changes in the NTC that aim to improve it for those of us who are seasoned nptechies.
I’ve been working on a few new Drupal projects this fall, as well as a WordPress site, and they’ve led me to ruminate a bunch about standards and best practices, and why they’re extra important for the kinds of nonprofits I serve.
I just wrapped up my most recent project—a rebuild for Action Against Hunger (ACF USA)—and it was one of the most satisfying projects I've done in a long time. I was really excited for the chance to build a Drupal 7 site, but during the discovery process of the project, we tried our best to talk them out of it. We were concerned that too many modules wouldn't be ready for prime time, and that they'd have to compromise too much on functionality. And here's where the project got really interesting. Basically, we decided to cleanse their site with the fire of Drupal 7.
It's been a very busy and summery summertime for me. Lots of berry picking and being outside, swimming and picknicking. Work-wise, I've been building a Drupal 7 site for a great nonprofit org with whom it's been a joy to work. It's a sizeable site with a complex design. I was worried that Drupal 7 wouldn't be up to the task. But so far, so good.
There's Facebook and Twitter, and many of us spend a fair amount of time there, myself included. But I belong to many other smaller online communities. Some of them are particularly interesting places where there are tech-related socializing and resource-sharing discussions that I don't want to miss, and so I check in with them regularly. Here are my current favorite nonprofit tech geeky places to hang out online:
The "5 Things I'm Reading Now" block you see to your right is a feed coming from my new WordPress site, labs.johannabates.com. After migrating this blog to Drupal 7, I found I missed having a WordPress site to play with. So I set one up, and the next thing I knew I was using it as a kind of "cloud notebook", a place to store links and ideas.