FLAG Simpler WordPress Theme Project
This proposal was accepted by Mike Bruns on behalf of FLAG via email on 21 August 2013. However on 9 September 2013 Mike and Eric decided to pursue the cleanup of the current FLAG theme instead. As a result, I will be doing that project for the price outlined here, an effective discount for FLAG.
In July 2013 Mike Bruns asked me to take a look at the FLAG website and particularly at the WordPress theme developed for the Farmers’ Legal Action Group (FLAG) by a team at one of the Nerdery’s coding competitions. The “flag” theme is visually stunning and functionally quite stable, though it does have recurring problems presenting content to Windows IE8 browsers and some Android devices. The most significant problem, though, is that the theme embeds much of the content of the site in PHP code where it is difficult for Mike or others at FLAG to make changes. It turns out that some FLAG staff also find the dominating image on the front page problematic, especially on smaller monitors.
Mike asked me to create this proposal for replacing the current theme with a simpler theme that would allow more flexibility of content. Doing this would also require rebuilding much of the content of the site in standard WordPress pages and posts, since it now resides in custom content types like topics and publications.
The following changes would be made to the FLAG website:
The FLAG theme would be replaced with a theme from MySiteMyWay.com, most likely Construct or Persuasion, though pretty much any theme there besides Myriad would be fine.
Development of a FLAG skin for the theme.
Migration of content from publications to posts and from topics to pages and categories.
Implementation of Google Custom Search Engine to allow retrieval of PDFs and other file types from the site.
Development of a menu scheme that accommodates the activities of FLAG.
Development of a widget to summarize and navigate to publication types within any displayed set of posts.
Proper donations page. The current Donate menu item points to a form at givedirect.org, it should instead point to a standard page in WordPress with both a PDF form and an option for electronic donate. Consider using Razoo for the electronic side since the presentation is much better than givedirect.org.
Fix sorting of posts. Sorting of posts appears to be reverse chronological currently. However, since the date of posts is not evident, the list feel unsorted to most readers. Either sort by title or include post dates in a way that makes current sort order evident.
Support Google analytics.
I plan to meet with Mike in person or by phone before I begin any coding to make sure we have a common understanding of the deliverables above. I would then expect bi-weekly phone meetings with Mike and whoever else may be interested until the project is complete.
I would need full access to the current WordPress install, including the back-end filesystem and the SQL database.
I would create a temporary working copy of the flaginc.org site on my own server to use while editing the theme. Once the changes are approved, I would move those over to the live site.
Deliverable 1: precise definition of goals.
Timeframe: late August 2013
A conversation with Mike to make sure the goals accurately reflect FLAG needs. Select a theme from MySiteMyWay. Mike will purchase this theme.
Deliverable 2: generate a temporary site to test new theme and structure.
Timeframe: early September 2013
The primary FLAG site has to continue to serve the community while we are developing the new site, so a temporary test site must be created. This will be done using either the current host of the FLAG site or a private server directly under my control.
Deliverable 3: install and configure the new theme theme.
Timeframe: September 2013
Once the site is in place, I will install the chosen theme from MySiteMyWay and develop the appropriate FLAG child theme and skin.
Deliverable 4: move current content to development site and develop widget.
Timeframe: September 2013
Content will be exported from the existing FLAG site and imported to the development site. Some content, such as publications and topics, will be moved to new areas within the site manually. FLAG staff will be welcome to participate in the migration tasks and review this work at any time, but I will also notify them when I consider it complete and ready for critique.
Deliverable 4: revise test site and move to permanent URL.
Timeframe: late September 2013
Gather feedback and discuss issues with the test site, make revisions, and review.
Once ready, test site would be moved over to replace the permanent site.
Deliverable 5: four months support.
Timeframe: October 2013 to January 2014
WordPress is relatively easy to manage and has been getting simpler to work with as it matures. However, the theme will be relatively new to FLAG. I would be available for tasks including:
- limited theme changes to accomodate evolving practice
- availability to answer website related questions by phone and email
- occasional troubleshooting of content issues (fixing HTML in posts or pages)
Note that the current FLAG theme appears to be using GIT for version control. I would not be using GIT and the new theme would therefore not be tracked for version control.
Note that though this will be a new theme for FLAG, I do not propose to produce any new documentation of the theme. MySiteMyWay offers extensive documentation. If FLAG would like me to create an introduction to the new site, that could be provided at an extra cost of $500.
Note that the current theme makes use of custom post types and taxonomies via a specialized plugin. The new theme will not be as sophisticated in this regard, using only standard WordPress data types.
Note that the current theme makes use of special tools to present PDFs inline on appropriate pages, and even facilitates the browsing of multipart PDF documents. The new site will simply provide links to PDFs, relying on the user’s browser to figure out how to handle these documents.
As a consultant, I do not charge by the hour. The services above will cost $4,000. I would send an invoice for the first $900 at the start of September 2013 and the next $2,500 at the start of October 2013. If you decide you would like to include the four months of support, I would bill $300 bi-monthly at the end of November 2013 and January 2014.
Eric brings over 15 years of library and 30 years of technology experience to his consulting. At MIT Eric shepherded the creation of DSpace, open source digital repository management software developed with HP and now deployed at hundreds of institutions worldwide. At the University of Minnesota Libraries he encouraged the development of the UThink blog service, a wiki-based staff intranet, LibData, and the University Digital Conservancy. He works with non-profit institutions on appropriate uses of technology for informing, communicating, and collaborating with their constituencies.