Roadtrip! Explore Our New Facilitation Website

North-Star-Facilitators

Ok – four months of work and our new website launched today! This was the easiest project I’ve done in years and we have a very comprehensive website so this was not a small task.  Perhaps it helps to be a facilitator! Our job was to create an easy-to-navigate, resource-rich website that made facilitation understandable and intriguing to anyone remotely interested in process facilitation.

  • If you are curious about how and what it takes to build a new website, you will enjoy reading this short blog.
  • If you are interested in seeing how our new website looks, we’ll take you on a brief road trip to explore new and revised features.
  • If you want to learn about some cool features  we used to help coordinate website development, look no further.
  • If you want to know the names of some stellar website designers, developers and web hosting providers, come on the road trip now!

Our Team – The Who

We wanted a diverse team – generationally, racially and geographically, if possible since we work globally.  We found the best, IOHO (in our humble opinion). We did not have to use a different designer and developer. It just turned out that way.

Our Designer:

Our millennial son Gabriel, helped us find Kaori Price. Kaori recently moved to my city Portland from Japan. She has been helping him with his new food website. I work with a lot of Asian colleagues so I thought it would be good to have her understanding of the APAC community. She is a millennial.  She has an excellent eye for design simplicity and beauty.  She designs sites for the user experience which we were most interested in. I worked with her over several in-person and virtual meetings. She had me do all  kinds of cool exercises to help me really define my users and target audience.  It was a pure creative and easy experience to work with Kaori.  She exceeded what I asked for and delivered immediately.  Her name is Kaori Price, UX/Web Designer.  You can find her at kaoriprice.com or kaori.price@gmail.com.

Our Website Developer:

A website developer ensures that all the pages land in the right place, images show up correctly and does all the background stuff to ensure the design is executed closely. Tia Ribary, my colleague for many years helped us find Ramona Nichols, from Ohio. She has been working on website design and development for over ten years. She is from the same generation as me I think, Baby Boomer. She knows her stuff. Ramona is fun.  There is no other word for her. She is organized. She  set up weekly meetings virtually so we could go over certain sections of the website features. She always kept our workload light and manageable. She is an amazing team player. She worked well with Kaori and figured out when she needed to take over from the design tasks.  They transitioned extremely well and set up tasks and files to share on a joint “Teamwork” site. Ramona kept working with us well beyond my expectations also sending us short how-to videos so we could be in charge of website changes over the years. Today, she spent another 1.5 hours with us making sure everything had migrated well. We have a backup url for our old website so we can bring over other older stuff if we change our minds about adding it later.  You can meet Ramona here:  www.inspiredcreativestudio.com or ramona@inspiredcreatives.studio.  She did a lot more, but honestly I don’t know enough about website development that I wouldn’t know what to put here. I left it all up to her! 🙂

Errin Romayor, Gen X, my colleague of 13 years of course, kept the whole thing going. I was away a lot but she managed the project more or less, ensuring both Kaori and Ramona had what they needed, and fixed up dozens of pages in Thinkific and our website.

Our Website Hosts:

Ramona worked closely with our website provider Pair Networks, who also provided excellent and in-the-moment assistance and migration ease. She said they were absolutely terrific to work with – helpful, responsive and  knowledgeable.

Our new Online Academy host is Thinkific. Both Kaori and Ramona tried to provide us other sites to load all our course materials but we loved Thinkific.  After they both worked with them, they agreed. One of the best learning platforms in the world, and out of my home country by the way in Vancouver,  Canada.

Our Vision – The What and Why

Many people liked our old website. BUT, it was clunky – hard to find stuff and really hard to manage new content.  It was only five years old but the technology is changing so rapidly. We needed a new website functionally.  And, by accident, we decided we needed a new look and image also. Kaori designed all the images, graphics form scratch and logo, chose the banner, etc.  We first found a similar banner on Getty images but then we found a very similar one for free on Pixabay!  It pays to search around.

As noted above, we wanted an easy-to-navigate, resource-rich website that made facilitation understandable and intriguing to anyone, at any stage of interest in process facilitation. Specifically we wanted our site to be mobile and tablet friendly.  We learned this was a really high percentage of users. We wanted it to feel cozy, beautiful and above all, easy to find information about any topic related to process facilitation. Let us know how we did, please.  We wanted to have “tons” of interesting and diverse information to peruse and the ability to always add more.

Our Strategy – The How

The first thing we did was take a look at our existing website and made an Excel spreadsheet listing every page by category.  Then we decided visually how we wanted simplify the links to key pages.  We eliminated a lot of dead material.  At that point I started working with Kaori, our designer and she had me really explore, as noted above, the images and language I wanted to use with my ideal clients.  She found the starry night banner which I loved.  Many of you know that I love to look up at the sky day and night and my company name is North Star Facilitators so it’s appropriate to have a lot of stars in my images.  After we created the key thought processes on the home page we began to really work on our “academy”.  This is where we really want people to land.  Over the next 5-10 years, our goal is to help thousands of new and committed facilitators around the globe build their competency.

Come on the Roadtrip to See New and Revised Features

Here are some features that we’d really like to bring to your attention:

  • We’ve added some new pages to our Resources section: A “reading room” of recommended books from our library and our facilitation videos to which you can subscribe.
  • Had you ever found our facilitation poetry page? We welcome your contributions!

  • Is it easier to find blogs?  Try our search feature.
  • Did you know we have over 50 videos on facilitator content? Subscribe to our YouTube channel.
  • We’ve categorized all our training materials into beginner, intermediate and advanced. Look for Kaori’s sailboat images! 

  • We’ve made it easy to find the self-paced online courses, live virtual courses and face-to-face courses.

We invite you to look around!

www.NorthStarFacilitators.com

Barbara-8-2017

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Barbara MacKay

Barbara loves “everything facilitation”. She thinks BIG! She loves working with other facilitators around the globe to create transformational results for client groups. She loves teaching others how to do that. She loves presenting at global facilitator conferences. She loves certifying new professional facilitators. If you also love what process facilitation can do for the world, connect with her – virtually or in person. She believes facilitation processes, used well, will provide the roadmap to a more just and sustainable world.

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