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Adventures of the technologically impaired

[ 10 ] July 25, 2011 |

Carleigh Houghtling, Leader Summer Intern and website wizard

 

By CARLEIGH HOUGHTLING
Leader Summer Intern

In the short time I’ve spent at the Lake Leader, I’ve learned several things: news articles are nothing like college essays, Tuesdays are much more fearsome than Mondays, and Google cannot, in fact, solve every problem.

The latter was perhaps the most rattling discovery, which did not dawn on me until we began working on the website and several fruitless “how to remove that annoying bar thing between widgets” searches had transpired.

While the Lake Leader has had a website for the past decade, its layout was woefully out-of-date by the Internet’s rapidly changing standards, and a revamp was absolutely necessary.

So when I became an intern at the beginning of June, Faith informed me that most of my job would be spent overhauling .

Despite what older generations seem to think, I was not handed a mysterious invisible computer manual the moment I became a teenager.

In fact, I have a very limited idea of how these blasted things work and usually defer to savvier college friends in exchange for free food (a thoroughly dependable currency), or, of course, fickle Google.

Therefore, I probably should not have been surprised when it took Faith and me an entire morning just to log in to WordPress, the software we used to develop the website.

After surmounting this hurdle, we were dismayed to realize that this was only the first of several head-slam-inducing issues WordPress had in store, and Google was still being stubbornly unhelpful.

We had to go it alone.

About a week and many disgruntled growls later, we developed a shaky grasp on the inner workings of WordPress and the website finally began to resemble an actual website. It had pictures and everything!

Once the site had its basic structure, it was my task to circulate through the office and teach everyone how to post their own stories.

I have had plenty of experience teaching basic computer skills to my mother, a recent Facebook and Twitter addict. It is still an ongoing process, and memories of her panicked cries of “Carleigh! The screen is DOING SOMETHING!” echoed in my mind as the process began.

Fortunately, the staff learned their way around the new layout fairly quickly. Chris’s extraordinarily detailed cheat sheet was passed around the office; it included everything from opening Internet Explorer to how to copy articles from Microsoft Word and paste them onto the site.

 Within a couple of days, I felt confident each staff member would be able to access the website without major disasters or office-wide chaos.

I considered letting them know they could copy and paste without clicking “Edit” on their browser every time, or that typing “www” for every website is not necessary, but witnessing several of my mother’s information-overload headaches has taught me that some things are better left alone.

I check the website every couple days and I am delighted by how well it has developed (particularly my own sloppy settings being rectified by Faith).

Compared to the website’s five-year-old layout, the new site is stylish, professional-looking, and much easier to understand. No longer will links be buried underneath ads, or blend into the background.

Hopefully everyone will appreciate its slick new design and never realize how many frustrated keyboard-slams went into it.

Category: Opinion

Comments (10)

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  1. Leader says:

    We wouldn’t have made it without you

  2. Mitch says:

    The new layout looks great!

  3. Teddy Adkins says:

    I like the new website. It is easy to use. One question: How do you access archived news articles? I would like to reread the June 15 article on the Methodist church and was unable to locate the article or an archive search box.

    • Leader says:

      We only keep stories up for a week or two. To search the archives for all the stories that have appeared in the print edition of the Leader, you can subscribe to the complete online edition. It is $25.95 per year.

  4. Angela says:

    The site looks wonderful, great job!

  5. Christine says:

    I love this!

  6. Leader says:

    Our goal is 1,000 page loads today, and 1,000 page loads tomorrow. We have already hit 1,200 page loads today, with 10 hours still to go!
    Hurrah!

    • JohnC says:

      Just wanted to comment on how refreshing your new website is. I am moving to Oologah from Phoenix (yep the desert) and wanted to get acclimated to “the happenings”.

      Never saw the previous version of the news website, but this version is very useful, lets me get around fast, and the overall content is pleasant.

      The adverts are not obnoxious and I can follow them up if I want. Of which some of them will be needed in the near term.

      Thank you for your hard work, your efforts have not gone to waste.

      Retired computer tech from Phoenix PFD.

      • Leader says:

        Thanks for the kind words! We moved to Oologah in 1984 and have never regretted it. Well, almost never. Welcome to the community

  7. Craig says:

    Love the new layout! Very professional. Well done!