Website Redesign Committee Report: A successful website upgrade and launch

Dear colleagues,

MELA launched its new website on June 11th, 2016 after about six months of work from the Website Redesign Committee. The new site has numerous improvements on both the front and back ends.

User-Friendly Design

The new web platform, WordPress, will make the duties of successive Webmasters much easier than before.

The previous site was constructed using static HTML pages. This means any change we wanted to make to a page had to be done within the coding itself. If we needed to change something, it looked like this:

HTML coding

With WordPress, we now have a user-friendly dashboard that requires no coding expertise:

WP dashboard

We are also able to make global changes to menus on the site. Since the old site was a collection of individual static pages, it was difficult (and somewhat risky) to use SQL to make global changes to the menus. If we wanted to safely change the menus, we had to change the code on each individual page.

Now we can easily make global changes to the menus from a single space in the dashboard:

WP menus

Improved User-Experience

The site now features the new MELA logo in the header with a brighter color palette on the site as a whole. Many of us miss the old green color, but it was decided that a bright “clean” design would be optimal in today’s web environment.


The site has a much easier navigation architecture than the previous site. The main navigation is our drop down menu that includes links to all of our pages. We have included “breadcrumbs” so that users can quickly jump back to a previous page in the hierarchy. The committee pages also have a sub-menu that lets users navigate within each committee’s page. As mentioned, these menus can be edited in one spot so that they are always consistent.

The accessibility plug-in will help our handicap users better make use of the site. The blue square with the little man inside (on the top right side) allows users to manipulate the size of the font and color of the site, and to highlight links (for the color blind).

The cache plug-in has greatly improved the speed of the site by reducing download times.

Enhanced performance security features were included with our hosting account upgrade, including SiteLock website security service and backup and restore functions. Additional plug-ins were included to prevent spam. These features protect our site from hackers and spammers:


The site has better integration with our social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter. We also have an improved blogging platform for MELA NOTEPAD, where we intend to post book reviews, committee reports, and blog posts of general interest. Do you have anything you want us to post to Facebook, Twitter, or MELA NOTEPAD? Let us know at


The Committee would like to thank our web and graphic designer Madeleine Fix and all of our members who contributed to the success of the project. It was truly a team effort for which the Committee is grateful.

Website Redesign Committee:

  • Justin Parrott, New York University in Abu Dhabi
  • Jaleh Fazelian, John Carroll University
  • Joan Weeks, Library of Congress
  • William Kopycki, Library of Congress