Los Angeles Chapter — California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter — CAMFT
We need to do something about our website. It’s gotten so slow! Or words to that effect, spoken by soon-to-be LA-CAMFT's past president, Shelley Pearce, just before the 2018 holiday season. And she was right. Like so many things in this brave new world of information technology, a very well-designed website had slowed to a crawl, the victim of newer systems it could no longer keep up with, much less meet the needs of an active membership. (Why do you think new computers now only come with a two-year warranty?)
So, after the holiday activities, our website project began in earnest. A little background is in order here. The previous website was built using WordPress, the popular blogging platform (though we never actually used the blogging feature). Building the new website again on WordPress seemed like a good idea, except for one thing: we would sooner or later (think sooner) find ourselves in the same dilemma. Thus, we turned to Wild Apricot. Wild Apricot is the background software on which our membership and events run. It’s where you go when you need to renew or update your member profile, or register for, say, the LA-CAMFT May Networking Event. And included in the annual fee we pay, is a web platform on which many associations construct their websites. The beauty of using Wild Apricot is their constant updating of their systems, saving LA-CAMFT the time, and the expense to do so, on our own. That ensures our site will always keep pace with new developments in the world of the Internet.
Yes, there were challenges. The Wild Apricot platform doesn’t provide all the features you would expect to find in WordPress, so we needed to find workarounds to create the ones we wanted. There was a lot of “phone” time with Wild Apricot tech support, looking for “hidden” solutions to visible problems (nothing’s perfect). But in the end, we were successful in building a website that would accommodate even the busiest of therapists.
Our newly-updated website is fast. Make that very faaaast! We used the same color scheme and kept style changes (including the menu — well, sort of) to a minimum, so that members and visitors, alike, would feel pretty much at home. There are also a few added benefits to using this new web platform. Wild Apricot goes to great lengths to ensure the site works and looks the same on all computers and Internet browsers. The website is extremely mobile-friendly, making it perfect for viewing it on your iPhone or Android cell, or any of the various tablet devices currently on the market. And on nearly every web page you will find an icon that allows you to download a mobile app, an app which gives you access to your membership profile, as well as the ability to register for LA-CAMFT events. Without needing to access the website, directly. What I like about this mobile app is I log in once, and it retains my login credentials so that I don’t have to log in again. To the right of this article, you will see the icons, one for iOS (Apple) and one for Android devices. The icons are linked so that you can download the apps from this page.
We’re not stopping here. It’s part of our web project to regularly update and improve our new site. As new features come available, we will make them accessible to you. Whenever we make changes within the LA-CAMFT chapter, you will see those changes reflected on our site.
Stay tuned. Send us your comments and ideas on how we can make our website even better. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike Johnsen, MFA, BSBM, MCP, plays a number of roles with LA-CAMFT. He is the Webmaster, IT Admin and Chapter Administrator. Additionally, he publishes the Voices newsletter. He has a deep background in business management, and is a Microsoft Certified Professional. Mike holds a masters in creative writing. His company, Your.Virtual.Admin, works with several CAMFT chapters. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists
Los Angeles Chapter