As many of our regular readers may know, our long time editor, Jim Naughton, decided to step down to concentrate on other (especially paying) projects. I was honored to be invited to step into the role of editor of the Café, and did so on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Before agreeing, Jim wanted to make sure I had some idea of what I was getting myself into:
- several of the newsteam members were also ready to step aside, as well as many contributors to the Daily Episcopalian and Art Blog
- the site’s platform (the software we use to actually create the site) was no longer supported, wasn’t working properly, and needed to be replaced
- the host (the servers where the website actually lives) had to be changed as well
- there’s no money to pay for any of this.
Fortunately, I love a challenge.
We spent the last month or so planning for the transition, which included recruiting new team members, choosing a new host and a new platform, and developing a new site. It also included time evaluating the then-current site, which hadn’t changed much since 2007, to determine where there was interest and energy. It was a lot to do by many people in, essentially, their spare time. I am very proud of the work that the team was able to do, and given the complexity of the transition I’m pretty pleased with how it all turned out.
The site switched over around 9:00pm on November 30, and the majority of things worked as we hoped, but not everything. Many readers said that the site was loading very slowly, and we have upgraded our hosting services in response, which hopefully has helped. We’ll be looking for any other issues that may be slowing us down and addressing them as well.
I am especially thankful that readers have been willing to make donations to keep the Café running. Everyone here is a volunteer, giving of their time and talents, but we exist in an environment that needs treasure as well to make things work. So again, thank you to those who have already donated – and I hope others might be willing to donate to keep the lights on into the future. I especially want to thank my parish, St. Stephen’s, for being willing to be our financial agent until our own 501(c)3 status is approved.
A surprising bit of feedback had to do with the accent mark on the ‘e’ of the Café. Many eyes looked at the mock-up site before we launched and no one caught that. We’ve asked the logo designer to send us an updated version soon, so we should have a logo with an accent within a few days.
I and others spent a great deal of today addressing issues of operability and accessibility. It’s also grocery night, so I may take a little break soon, but I promise we will work through as many issues as we can as fast as we can so that you can access our site from all your devices. I would ask your patience as we work through these and as our new team members work out their roles as well.
And lastly, we’ve also received feedback on the look and ‘feel’ of the new site, both positive and negative. I would ask your patience there too. Live with it a while and see how feels in a week or a month. As we all live into it, we’ll know better what works and what doesn’t. It’s gratifying to see how many people feel as passionately about the Episcopal Café as I do and as everyone who works to make the Café possible does.