IDSA's new web site

I completely agree!! This is a much bigger undertaking than giving it to a recent grad that may or may not know much about web design. Also who manages this site? Is there someone that is in charge of daily management? This was one of the biggest problems with the last site given that content came from many different sources.

BTW, I know you guys are thinking we are all cynics and only come out when you are doing something wrong, but I was really hoping for this to be a hit, because I think you had more people than you think you did routing for you. I had all intentions of praising you with the new site design.

At the least I think we all hoped for some involvement, participation, etc. Isn’t that why this section was set up in the first place? How can you attempt to represent a profession without consulting with you very membership/potential membership?


Hey guys,

I know there’s a lot of unhappy folks out there right now and personally, I share your disappointment and frustration. But we are all well aware of the current state of the website and all of it’s being addressed. This continues to be a mammoth undertaking and in a perfect world, it wouldn’t have been released just yet. But the reality was that we needed to launch the site in support of the announcement of our IDEA award winners and our commitment to Fast Company. It just didn’t make any sense to invest additional effort in an old website that would soon be inactive anyway.

So here we are, working on a website that wasn’t really ready for primetime, warts and all. We have invited our Chapter and Section leaders to start compiling their won lists of what’s broken (some is more obvious than others) and everything will be addressed in time. Eventually we hope to involve all of them in the refinement of the site as each of them will take ownership of their respective areas of the website.

The bottom line is this: keep it up with the criticisms, suggestions, observations, etc. (We can take it, just try to keep things constructive and professional as opposed to launching personal attacks on IDSA staff and/or board members.) Just because we don’t respond to every comment doesn’t mean they aren’t being heard. It seems more logical to spend time working to fix the problems as opposed to just discussing them here on Core.

That’s not to say that your comments are valuable (they are), it’s just that we’re picking our battles. I’m sure you can understand that.



Thanks for the repl, Warren. Helps put things in perspective. I’m sure the dialog here will still continue and of course we always welcome your participation


Sorry you haven’t had more direct response, but we’ve all got a lot on our collective plates…

Thanks for understanding.


  1. Also as mentioned before the navigation is not really intuitive. This was the biggest problem with the old site so I would have thought it would have been the top priority of new site. I don’t get what you are trying to communicate, where links are trying to take me, and there is so much really old material on the home page that I don’t really want to look at it. Maybe I am still just struggling with why I even go to the IDSA website. Nothing really entices me other than to find out where and when the next conference is and that I could find out on the old site. I need reason and value for being there. What are you providing me that I can not get at the other sites that I have been going to for many years? Why should I be a frequent viewer of your site?

Yup, and thanks for chiming in Warren, that makes sense. It’s tough putting out something unfinished.

I give the recent grads who worked hard on this site credit, good job. I have worked with Drupal and it is a bear, IMO. There is a comment made about the huge undertaking of the site overhall, it has 3500+ articles. It seems like in an effort to transfer all the legacy content and shoehorn existing meta data into a new, but equally complex, organizational structure, the real valuable goal of a redesign (making the site relevant and accessible, not simply updating the appearance) was lost. And in the storm of old content, I’m lost.

Maybe, the IDSA should start over. Reboot. Start new, simple, small, intuitive and add old content as needed if it is relevant. Right now there are too many arbitrary sounding, seemingly duplicated tags/categories/etc. with everything interlinked and scattered about. Too much clicking. Give me 5 well designed, content rich pages, and then you are starting somewhere:

  1. Designbytes: is like a blog. Designbytes is a good newsletter, the web version could be more up-to-date, could integrate a twitter scrape
  2. Innovation: about the magazine, and maybe a featured article or two. The IDEA would be here with decent photo galleries.
  3. Events: A running calendar of national and local events, maybe links to flickr photo pools from past events.
  4. Education: Student resources, list of chapters, schools, connect with Facebook, featured students that link to coroflots?
  5. About IDSA: Firms, Cities, Members(+Fellows), IDSA history. Distill everything in the about section here.

We can do better.

(I’d also like to throw in a suggestion for the some type of continuing education webinar/resource in the future as mentioned in Yo’s sister thread. That’s a role I could see the idsa filling, short of accreditation.)

I’ve said before that the problem of how to get busy professionals, or some of these highly offended posters up off their own keesters and contributing to the solution seems like an exercise in futility.

I’m not complaining, but…until IDSA isn’t a volunteer based non-profit any longer, I don’t see how these criticisms can possibly be addressed.

I don’t completely disagree, but I think the idea is to allow more volunteers to take some ownership of the content as opposed to a few at IDSA National merely pushing it out. It’s just too expensive to hire a team of designers, writers and researchers to do that… How do you think Core77 does what it does? Very few contributors to Core77’s content are actually paid. All they get is visibility (which can sometimes be more valuable than money given the traffic Core has).


I think this is the key here. Everyone in the industry knows Core77 and travels through it everyday. IDSA, not so much. I still think the organization could do with a fresh start. I still get the feeling every time they do something it focuses more on the past and great the good ol’ days were rather than keeping up with the times. The days of only getting together at conferences is over guys. And yes we need deign history, but we also need relevant information to current times. One issue I brought up to Clive is how does IDSA help new grads and the unemployed find jobs? This is an issue that is hurting us as a field as great designers are going unemployed and giving up.

Are there currently any barriers preventing volunteerism?

Core is only one aspect of the content issue, most of what gets written here is just hot air.
I don’t think IDSA content should be left to those volunteers with the gift-of-gab. (myself included)

I think the education conference is different in that $$ is replaced with prestige as the motivating factor (someone has a better methodology in education - it may get published, not so in the mainstream).

bottom line - We are not going to give away any competitive advantages in the name of providing content. It’s the major complaint of IDSA and DMI. If you want the expertise, it’s going to cost more than a membership fee.

Yes but we are volunteering for something that is awesome, and fun, and not a drudgery… I’ve volunteered for IDSA before… I know…

I’m sorry but I give absolutely NO slack on the site, and the fact that it is for a Fast Company deadline makes it all the worse. We are visual people, it would have been better to have a simple page with IDEA winners and very little else but have it be visually compelling.

I totally agree Yo, that’s the bigger issue with it aside from all the technical issues. It’s templated to the point that after !5! clicks, landing on the list of IDEA winners, the page looks like everything else. No hierarchy. I’m not a member, but I’m embarrassed. :frowning:

The only downside with volunteers building content is that you lose some focus and control.

Warren: I share the frustration. I’ve redone my own little website. It’s a huge task. I think IDSA would have been better off slowly unveiling the new website. Start with a few core features (member diretory, events) and then add the blogs, forums and chapter info later on.

I’m with Yo about the excuses and need for things to happen. Core77 can remake it’s website and likely has as many if not more articles, archived posts, etc. Core AFAIK is funded on ads. If IDSA can’t do the same quality of site with a paying membership, to me it’s a sign things are really broken.

I guess what we’re all saying to date on the new site is that a lot of content done bad is worse than a little content done good.

There are a few other great sites/blogs out there that I think would be a great starting point. The heart may be at the right place, but it seems like a case where the brain is in the wrong one.

As a starter I would question “what is the point of the IDSA site?” To me it seems unclear. Is it a membership recruitment tool? A resource? A daily offering of news? An archive? A tool for current members? Being all things to all people is the first step to fail. Not even getting into the UI issues…


I was reading back through this thread and I have to say this “we are listening but not responding” stuff is really starting to get aggravating. This is truly annoying given the fact that things continued to be done half way. Warren you are an exception to this as you post pretty frequent on these boards.

here is a great example of what could have been. Props to Sam Aquillano and Derek Cascio for working night and day on this. Full disclosure, I’m on the board of directors, and proud to volunteer my time here:

Yo! that is great website. Very simple, easy to see the different avenues to content. However, it has 10% of what has.

As a template though, that would have been a good jumping off point for

It has 10% in away that is 100% more readable. What good is all the content if I’m not going to look at it?

As mentioned, I’d guess Core has about the same amount of content. I also get a bit lost finding it sometime, and if you recall wasn’t so happy with the most recent revamp, but it is still way better than the IDSA site. I don’t even know where to start when looking at it, and the nav titles make no sense.


This is the same old IDSA. Clive and his team have worked on this web site for more than 7 months. And as I’ve been able to tell from Warren’s post, it sounds like they never sought input from chapter/section leaders or other volunteers, they just did the site the same way they do everything else–showing it to one or two “yes men” who aren’t willing to criticize or rock the boat despite the fact that it’s sinking. I heard from the leader of my chapter that they were recently told they’ll have to move their web site–which chapter volunteers create and maintain–onto IDSA’s platform, and change to IDSA’s design. That is not the way you treat volunteers! It’s one thing if you have a glut of people knocking on your door, but IDSA needs help, big time, and yet they keep cutting off their nose to spite their face.

Oh, and one other thing–the excuse about the Fast Company deadline–how long ago did they announce Fast Company’s partnership, like in late 2009/early 2010? Don’t you think they knew when they’d need to have their web site up?