Yeaaaah, I can’t believe in that too. After more than a one year of hard work, dozens of discussions, meetings, versions and unkeeped deadlines, we’ve ended the design of the new OpenMRS website. If you are curious how the previous version had looked like and what problems we had to face – read our articles which we wrote some time ago 🙂
Designing the website was really a long trip and unfortunately it hasn’t ended yet. The old version of the website is still the primary one and that means we need to work more to make it public. The optimistic plan assumess publication of the new website until the end of the current month, because we need to show it the head, the community and then switch it. If everything go well in August we could see a fresh, new website alive! At the moment you can see it at beta.openmrs.org, the site is working and you can scroll, click, check the content and find out if you like it.
Why it did take a year?
The answer for that question is not so obvious and easy to answer. OpenMRS is an open-source organization, that means that people who work there are volunteers so they work for OpenMRS only in their free time, after work and other duties. So automatically the organization works slower than a typical company. The problem is more complicated because the community is very big, as they want to being open, fair and welcome for everybody they take under consideration opinion from hundreds of people. But designing a website is not only trusting our tastes and what people think is nice and what not. It’s a good taste of a designer but mostly adopting trends, the newest practics and everything that makes website more customer friendly and easy to navigate.
Before we started designing the website we had to choose the template (theme) which we use to build our website. I took that task and chose 3 or 4 themes which WordPress offered for free. One of them was Zakra (template was called Proffesional). That one comes with a Elementor – it’s a plugin, so you can download it from WordPress even if you are using a different template, but what I like in it, is the fact that Elementor allows you to build your website using demos, ready-to-use blocks and already created sections just to make your job easier and faster. If you have a Pro version of Elementor you can build menus, use pro schemes and options and many more which is really great! I love that plugin and in every next website I’ll be using it. It’s also not so expensive, because the cost for one page is about 49$ for one year. So if you want to build your page by your own it’s a very good option for you.
But, between us, the key milestone was the day when I decided to build the website by my own, not waiting for the community. I had a few free days during a winter holidays when I could sit and just start doing that. Jakub set up a subdomain for the openmrs website and I could start working on it. And between us, if I had not started working on the website then, we would probably still be discussing templates and what we like and don’t like wasting our time. So remember to discuss but what’s more important work and do your job!
One more about the content… In previous articles we said that it had taken a few months to prepare a content for the website. That’s true. It was good until we’ve started building the website, adding the content and designing the pages. Then it’s occured that we have to change it a little bit, delete duplications and cut it because nobody will read long paragrahs. So once again we need to prepare a new content and democratically decided if we like it or not.
The website is almost ready to publication. It needs a last revision, decision of OpenMRS head and voila! We can publish it. If our calendars allow us I and Jennifer meet with the office in that week and probably decision will be positive. So keep track, stay tuned and wait for our beatiful website! Here is a thread to track our progress: https://talk.openmrs.org/t/new-openmrs-website-is-almost-ready/34003