OHA’s New Website Design & Directory Tool

From OHA Associate Director Steven Sielaff:

The Oral History Association is very pleased to present to its membership and the world at large our brand-new OHA Website! When I considered wider goals for my first year as AD, a modern and responsive design upgrade to our web presence was at the very top of my list. What eventually coalesced as the end product is the result of months of discussion, planning, review, and execution throughout OHA’s organizational leadership structure. I personally would like to thank OHA Council for approving and funding first the evaluative work of assessing all of OHA’s online offerings, then the actual redesign contract that made this vision a reality. I would also like to thank OHA Past President Tomás Summers Sandoval for creating the OHA Website Redesign Advisory Task Force to aid us in this endeavor, and its members (Rina Benmayor, Shanna Farrell, Catherine Mayfield, Ryan Morini, and Jessica Taylor) for all their hard work these past few months in providing valuable feedback and direction. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the two individuals who diligently worked throughout 2023 to assure that this launch would happen by year’s-end: OHA Program Associate Bethany Stewart, and our contracted Web Designer Rachael Gilg of Gilg Works.

The new design utilizes a popular theme in the WordPress ecosystem, ensuring its long-term viability and security. The site itself is now hosted on WP Engine, allowing for an additional layer of stability and responsiveness. A majority of the feedback regarding the old site centered on the daunting expansiveness of menus and pages, so we strived for simplicity in most design elements while still focusing on ease of discovery. Our news, event, and job listings are now integrated into reactive posting structures which allow for a variety of filters and sub-categories. Also, the site is now responsive by default, meaning that browsing its pages on either a mobile device or a tablet is a much more pleasant experience.

With the launch of our new website also comes the debut of a much-anticipated new tool: the “Find an Oral Historian” interactive directory, which members can use to promote their services and their research. Through this directory, detailed member profile pages are searchable with advanced filters. To be added to this public directory, please use this link and fill out the form found within the member portal. You can select which details from your profile to publish online by checking the appropriate boxes. We will push another update to the directory at the end of January and will update the information periodically thereafter to match the most current additions from the membership. We’re grateful to the Advocacy Committee for leading this project, at the request of the Independent Practitioner’s Task Force, and with support from the Membership Committee. The tool itself was designed by Seth Kelly of Helmet Studio and adapted into the new website theme by Rachael Gilg. We hope this resource will support members in growing their creative and professional networks and help strengthen our community.

And just because we have now officially launched both the site and the tool, that does not mean we are opposed to new ideas! We would love to hear from you regarding both design elements and potential errors/omissions. Also, once the 2024 committee assignments are set, we plan to reach out to every organization within the association to make sure they are properly represented on their pages. Finally, the visual design evolution continues as well, and our Call for Photos is still active! If you have images of oral history in action you would like to share with us for potential use on the site, please consider describing and uploading them via the form.

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