The Northwest Dharma Association is set to launch a new website, an entirely different kind of site than the current one.
The new site’s style will closely resemble that of Northwest Dharma News, which you are reading now. The Member Group listings and Calendar of Events will be greatly augmented, and will appear prominently on the home page. The site will be much more intuitive to navigate and, therefore, more user-friendly. In addition, it will automatically adapt to display on mobile devices, such as phones and notepads, as Northwest Dharma News does now.
A team of volunteer staff and board members have worked with our Web designer, Stephen Schildbach, to develop the new site. Most of the design work is done, though there are quite a few technical details to resolve, and content to migrate from the old site to the new. We are hoping to launch before the end of the year.
It has been four years since the current website was launched. In the fast-changing, impermanent world of the Internet, this is a long time.
Technology has changed tremendously since 2009. How people navigate around the Internet, how information is displayed, what sorts of tools are available for development; all these are markedly different. One of the most significant of these changes is that more people now access online information from their mobile devices than via computer.
The Northwest Dharma Association website is one of the most important ways in which the organization fulfills its mission of supporting Buddhist teachings, practice, and community in the Pacific Northwest.
Through listing Buddhist groups throughout the region, and the events these groups sponsor, we offer people a place to learn about the diversity and breadth of the dharma community here. About 3,000 to 4,000 people visit the site each month, even though our current site is not that easy to find on the internet.
Improving our online visibility is another reason for the upgrade. One enhancement to the site will be the integration of search engine optimization features, which will allow Internet users to find the site easily.
One of the most important aspects of the new site is that it will integrate Northwest Dharma News with the Member Groups and the Calendar of Events. From the home page, a user will be able to easily access the full content of the News, as well as the Member Group Directory and Calendar of Events.
This new design is an important step forward for the Northwest Dharma Association, and reflects our aspiration to make Pacific Northwest dharma resources available to everyone.