New project: website design for OpenMRS

openmrs, website, open-source

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Have you ever been at an old website which is nowadays out of the time and trends but a few years earlier it was really good? And probably you got angry or mad because the website didn’t suit to your screen, it loads really long and it was hard to find anything on it? Oh and these old stock photos with random people. Horrible.

Time flies, things changes and the same are with trends. Websites built a few years ago are now old and hard to use for customers. It shows how a huge step we made in creating websites, developing codes and discovering new better technologies. Nowadays sites are build in a modern way using the newest technology and trends. It’s not as hard as it seems to build and prepare a well-looking friendly to clients website with an easy menu. But you have to know how to set up such a website, where you can do it etc. and that’s the hardest thing. And here is a point where we start with our little story.

OpenMRS works since 2004 and for years, the framework works around the world in the most remote places. Their website is old and very messy. It has a lot of unnecessary stuff and duplicate sections. During the years they have added a lot of content and subpages, but they couldn’t do a lot of with the background (I mean the site where it is) because it needs a lot of work and rebuilding the whole website structure. It looks like the page hasn’t been updating for a really long time. And now is the high time to update it and build a new one with the best practices. 

To do this, at the end of the 2019 Jennifer (she is the main coordinator in most non-technical or mixed projects in OpenMRS) announced that she is looking for people to participate in a new project which has an aim to rebuild and totally update the current website. From time to time, the community offers the opportunity to participate in several different projects conducted by one of the leaders in open-source. The purpose is to connect different people with a wide variety of skills and offer them different projects so that everybody can choose whatever wants and fill the gaps between others.

I hadn’t known about this project since Jennifer asked me if I want to help build the website. She asked if I even want to participate in it because she knows that I have the knowledge and could be the right person in the right place. I was totally shocked because I didn’t believe I can help anybody and my work means something for them. From the other hand, it was very exciting because you know that you are doing something bigger which will show for several years. And of course, I agreed. I was curious what time will bring and with what challenges we will have to face up. 

OpenMRS’ Website Re-Vitalization Squad

Website Re-Vitalization Squad (actually it’s a name of our group) meets in every Monday to discuss progress in work and talk about next steps. Group is open for everybody who would like to meet with us and give us some help.

We started work with discussing content on the website and mapping what exactly we have there. It was important to know what subpages we have and what is there because there is really a lot of stuff. We also described personas which visit our website or we want to encourage them to visit it. Here is an update after one of the first meeting and here especially in comments.

What’s next?

It was an introduction to the next steps which included building the menu, organize information, content and sections. As I said before the website has a few duplicated pages and we have to decide which we keep, what we change and what we want to add. When we finish organizing pages and the whole content we have to think about how we want to communicate with others. I mean it’s important to use the language which is easy to understand for everybody but at the same time, it has to be proper for Ministries of Health, contributors and implementors. So it’s a lot of different people with other purposes but looking for the same product. That’s a hard but important step. When we will have it done we focus on changing info, content and writing everything in a new, better way to be sure that everything is suited to our new audience.

And then it will be time for designing a website, from my side the best part of work. I can’t wait to do this.

As you see that’s a lot of work. There is also a lot of behind us, many problems and surprises. I hope we avoid as many problems and mistakes as we can and smoothly end the project. Keep fingers crossed

If you want to help us you can do it whenever you want. We’re very open to new people and every new person is very welcomed. If you want to learn more about OpenMRS and their project we described a few and you can read them here.

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