I am very excited to debut a completely redesigned Institute of General Semantics website! Having outgrown our prior website design (which dated back to 2008), the Institute of General Semantics has changed website platforms to allow us many more capabilities to inform people interested in studying and learning about general semantics, not to mention meet and discuss with others the subject of general semantics.
The new features are too numerous to exhaustively detail, but here are some features I regard as “standout.”
A Redesigned Homepage
The homepage looks attractive, fresh, new, and sharp. Notably, the homepage has 4 animated panels for displaying images and linking to featured content. We will be highlighting special information in these panels, and over time their content will be shifting, rotating, and changing.
Navigation of the site is simple with the clean and descriptive navigation bar, which I’ve organized in what I find an inuitive way. A lot of the information that was on the old site has been carried over from the old site (or is still in the process of being carried over). The organization should seem pretty familiar to you, but if you can’t find something, use the powerful search box in the masthead of the website.
The homepage also features a membership button for becoming a Member of the Institute of General Semantics, a section for displaying upcoming events for IGS, another section for displaying the most recent news, as well as sections for displaying our YouTube and Twitter content.
If you hunt around, you may even find a secret hidden on the front page!
A News Blog
We now have a true blog on our site!
Our blog (simply click on News in the navigation bar) will be the repository for news from the Institute of General Semantics. News can be categorized, tagged, and featured in different parts of the site. For example, we’ve linked to news categorized as “Upcoming” from the News navigation menu so that you can easily find what’s upcoming for the Institute of General Semantics. We’ve linked to news categorized as “Press” from the About Us navigation menu.
We have activated comments on our blog posts, so you can ask a question about our news, converse about a topic, or just give a shoutout. Gravatars are enabled so if you have a Gravatar (“globally recognized avatar”), it will display when you post a comment. Want to get one? Visit Gravatar.com.
If you simply want to go straight to our news page, you can use this link: http://www.generalsemantics.org/news
An Improved Online Library
While a small handful of articles still need to be carried over, the new, improved Online Library houses our articles in a database which can be speedily sorted and searched from its slick table. If it’s in the database, it will come up in the Library.
Photo Galleries & Animated Popups
Where there are photos in the new design, there is probably animation! Most images and photographs will quickly pop up and center on your screen. Using either controls in the popup or your keyboard’s arrow keys, you can move between photos in a gallery. Many photos also include captions. (If you know someone in an uncaptioned photo, send me an email using the new IGS Webmaster contact form.)
Here’s an example of a gallery, with photos shot by Mariusz Han, SJ, during the 2010 symposium at Fordham University:
Take a look at the Photos category for some images, and other images you’ll find in the sections rounding up our past conferences and symposia.
A Social Networking Ribbon
Look in the upper righthand corner of your web browser. Do you see the end of a ribbon? Click it!
What folds out are social networking buttons. Our Facebook account (managed by IGS Secretary Vanessa Biard-Schaeffer) is linked from there, as is our Twitter account (managed by me). Quickly navigate to those accounts from that ribbon!
Tweet This & Go2.gs
Now News blog posts can be Tweeted! Look for the “Tweet This” button that follows a blog post and click it. A short URL will be automatically generated in your “What’s Happening?” box on Twitter.
You’ll also see buttons for Facebook and Gmail. I haven’t tested them yet, but I hope you find value in them.
Instant Audio Playback
I’ve added an audio player for instantly playing MP3 recordings we have on the site. For example, here’s audio of the eminent Allen Walker Read giving his Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture in 1983:
[audio:http://www.generalsemantics.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/read.mp3|titles=Allen Walker Read AKML]
The web addresses for content on our old site are nearly all different now. The URLs are now descriptive, or “friendly”–or even “semantic”!–but sometimes they can get a little long. Below are a few short URLs I’ve created for content regularly visited, in case you want to direct others to the content.
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/news – for the IGS News blog
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/etc – for ETC: A Review of General Semantics
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/gsb – for the General Semantics Bulletin
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/tb – for our Time-Bindings newsletter
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/akml-2011 – for information on this year’s 59th Alfred Korzybski Memorial Lecture & Symposium
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/hayakawa-prize – for information on the S.I. Hayakawa Book Prize
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/membership – for the Membership section of the IGS Store
- http://www.generalsemantics.org/store – for the IGS Store proper
Coming … Soon?
In addition to all of these improvements, there are additions being considered.
I have a stockpile of audio and video recordings from IGS history that I aim to convert. Some of it may be made available electronically for download in the IGS Store, while some of it may be available for free on the IGS website. The Media page in the General Semantics Learning Center will serve to display some of that material, as likely will our YouTube account.
Also, we may be bringing back discussion forums to the IGS website. If you’d like to serve as a moderator, let me know via email and I’ll keep you in mind. However, keep in mind that as yet, there is no date or guarantee we’ll add the forums back.
A special thank-you to Assistant Professor David Walcyzk of Pratt Institute, whose students put together a usability study of the old design of the website that revealed some of its flaws to me. That study was an inspiration that change needed to be made on our website. In that vein, another special thank-you to IGS President Martin H. Levinson who gave the go-ahead on the redesign project. Marty has been supportive of the major website improvements that have happened to us in the last six months–this redesign, a shift in web hosts, as well as the creation of the impressive IGS Store.
This redesign has been largely a solo effort on my part, so a mistake on the website is probably my own oversight. I’ve tried to be thorough in the countless hours and overnights I’ve spent working on this redesign, but if you find a broken link or typographical error, send me an email and let me know where to find it. If your browser isn’t showing something right, send me an email about that, too, and let me know what browser you’re using. (I’ve primarily tested the site in Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3.6.17. IE7 displays things a little off, but not terribly so.)
I’m still working on some parts of the site, so if you see an alert box saying a part is being remodeled, don’t worry about telling me about that.
In improving the IGS website, I’ve taken the code and organizational structure of our content from the old design and greatly cleaned it up. Now, there is more consistency in how content is displayed from page to page–large headings precede smaller content (as in this blog post).
But more obviously, in improving the IGS website, I’ve given IGS a brand-new look. Let me know what you think of the new design for the IGS website. I hope you enjoy!