I’m part of a discussion at the Pendle Hill conference center outside Philadelphia next month. Everyone’s invited. It’s a rare chance to really bring a lot of different readers and media producers (official and DIY) together into the same room to map out where Quaker media is headed. If you’re a passionate reader or think that Quaker publications are vital to our spiritual movement, then do try to make it out.
Youtube, Twitter, podcasts, blogs, books. Where’s it all going and who’s doing it? How does it tie back to Quakerism? What does it mean for Friends and our institutions? Join panelists Charles Martin, Gabriel Ehri and Martin Kelley, along with Quaker publishers and writers from around the world, and readers and media enthusiasts, for a wide-ranging discussion about the future of Quaker media.
We will begin with some worship at 7.00pm If you’d like a delicious Pendle Hill dinner beforehand please reply to the Facebook event wall (see http://on.fb.me/quakermedia). Dinner is at 6.00pm and will cost $12.50
This is part of this year’s Quakers Uniting in Publications conference. QUIP has been having to re-imagine its role over the last ten years as so many of its anchor publishers and bookstores have closed. I have a big concern that a lot of online Quaker material is being produced by non-Quakers and/or in ways that aren’t really rooted in typical Quaker processes. Maybe we can talk about that some at Pendle Hill.
The Tract Association is venerable Quaker publisher dating back to the early part of the Nineteenth Century. They had a website but wanted a new one built with a content management system that would allow for easier editing. The new site is built in WordPress. Befitting the organization’s ethos, the site is relatively plain but there’s a lot going on underneath the surface.
Many people use the site to print out copies of the tracts. There’s a special print stylesheet–created by the template designer and customized by me–that means print-outs of these pages will be very clean and uncluttered, perfect for personal photocopying. There’s the ability to make tracts available as PDFs through Scribd and there’s a interface in the WordPress dashboard to allow embedding of these in the sidebar.
Discover Thyself is a “discernment” site for Quaker teens. Sponsored by Earlham College, it features resources, videos and the all-new “Discer-o-Matic Quiz.”
The design is all original. We went through six rounds of the concept design mockups made up on Adobe Fireworks. Because the site is built on WordPress used as a CMS, Earlham College staff was able to add and arrange content even before the design coding began. The site uses the excellent Thematic theme, a blank template that allows for quite sophisticated designs using Action Hooks and complete CSS markup.
The most exciting element of the site is the “Discern-o-Matic” quiz, which takes users through a series of questions. At the end the questions are reorganized and presented to the user to help them understand what it is they want to do. The quiz is powered using the open-source LimeSurvey. Results are outputted via a custom PHP script that polls the LimeSurvey database and outputs in a nicely-worded and formatted WordPress results page. The templates for Lime Survey were altered to mimick the look of the rest of the site; the average user won’t notice the pass-off from WordPress to Lime Survey and back to WordPress.
In hopes the quiz might go viral, individual results are saved on a unique URL. Users are invited to share their results page via Facebook.
Catherine Lockwood is a therapist in the Los Angeles area who had built a site in the since-discontinued Google Page Creator service. It had a nice design but she could never get her domain pointing to it and she was frustrated that Google had closed the service. She wrote me saying “I would like to have a website address that WORKS. I have never been able to give anyone my address because apparently the address is not connected to my website. So instead I have to tell people to google me!“
We rebuilt Catherine’s site using the ever-trusty WordPress. The colors and content were brought over into a fairly standard design. And now Catherine can print CatherineLockwoodMFT.com on her business cards!