“Faculty Commons, A Center for Teaching, Learning, Scholarship and Service coordinates all professional development, grants and assessment activities of faculty at New York City College of Technology. Faculty Commons adopts a programmatic approach to professional development and operates as a faculty resource and think tank where members collaborate on a variety of projects to shape curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.”
Starting out as an intern at Faculty Commons during my freshman year (2010) in college, I was presented with an opportunity to use my web design skills to help bring more features and functionality to the Faculty Commons website.
The old site (seen here) was a very functional site and reliable site for the audience intended but it lacked an easy and streamlined way of managing the content of the site. Everything had to be manually updated in the code. This was very time consuming as code was always being shifted around and duplicated.
I took this opportunity to completely revamp the Faculty Commons and bring it up to speed with design trends and functionality using WordPress as the CMS platform. I redesigned the site while keeping a familiar feel, so usual visitors will feel right at home. WordPress allowed me to build the site in such a way that if we needed features, there was a way of getting it on the website. One such example is the “Calendar” page, which was made possible by using The Events Calendar plugin.
The website got a fresh coat of paint with a new color palette that was bright and popped to the eyes. Everything on the pages became clearer and easier to look at.
Initially, custom fonts from Google Fonts was being used but upon research, those network requests added to page load to which I decided to go the route of system font stack.
font-family: -apple-system,BlinkMacSystemFont,"Segoe UI",Roboto,Oxygen-Sans,Ubuntu,Cantarell,"Helvetica Neue",sans-serif;
A custom template was created for the homepage. I built a custom widget for the “Upcoming Event’s” section, as well as the RSS feeds section.
By using WordPress, I was able to introduce lots of plugins that assisted with features of the site. One of the features like the calendar page, mentioned above, was made possible by using a plugin. This plugin allowed us to keep a record of events that was searchable and filterable for easy finding of specific events.
I was also able to use WordPress’ custom post type feature to code out a custom post type for the quarterly publication Faculty Commons puts out called Nucleus.
The website has many more small features that are implemented to help users with a better experience. I also have to mention that the Faculty Commons website was probably the first website on the City Tech network to be mobile friendly. I build the site with intent on it being used majorly on smartphones and tablets. During that time, everyone was now getting into the habit of responsive web design. I took this opportunity to put some new skills I had learned into making the best website I could at that time. The website is continually being worked on to this day with features and functionality such as accessibility, improved page load and responsiveness, and security!