written by M. Favreau and A. Murray
The beginning of a new school year is always a chance to start fresh and step up your game. It is in that spirit that the RSU 18 website was given a significant facelift over the summer, just in time for the kick off of the 2017-2018 academic year.
While the old website served its purpose for a long time, its current design and content management system limited the ability to showcase our learning environment. Since the old platform was facing a costly update that still might not meet the district’s needs, the most logical choice was to find a new platform that offered more options and greater adaptability.
“It’s hard to believe that we had been on the same website platform for over 7 years,” said Technology Director Adam Murray, who lead the search in consultation with members of the Administrative Team, Communication Coordinator Mandi Favreau, and school web coordinators.
The group quickly settled on Orono based RainStorm Inc, a web consulting and design firm that uses the WordPress platform to develop websites for businesses, schools, and nonprofits around the state. A few notable websites in their portfolio include RSU 22, Bangor Schools, and the MDI Biological Laboratory. Rainstorm’s SchoolFlex product is designed to offer features specifically for schools including Google Calendar integration, social links to Twitter and Facebook pages, and an easy way to create an alert for school cancellations or emergencies.
“Now, more than ever, our learning community and culture is highlighted through continuously updated content and news articles with large scale images and a more modern layout,” said Mr. Murray. The new redesign highlights upcoming events and recent news, while providing clear navigation to commonly accessed information, and the overall experience is much more user friendly.
The website launched in mid- August and will see several more adjustments and updates over the next few weeks, but the difference is already striking. “Our website now looks great on mobile devices; it is more accessible and built on a solid foundation that will last us for many years to come,” said Mr. Murray. “I really think people are going to like the changes.”