Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Maya Paradise Redesign

For the past year and a half, the Maya Paradise web site has been undergoing a complete redesign. The changes have been tested and made visible gradually and unless you were paying attention to the URLs of the pages you may not have noticed any change.

The last step in the changeover has now taken place. Maya Paradise is no longer focused directly on Rio Dulce but is designed to cover all of Guatemala. The site is now structured as a hierarchy of "mini web sites", each focused on a particular area, whether it be a department, city, town, or other point of interest.

One of the goals for the redesign is for Maya Paradise to be expandable to cover hundreds of areas but be maintainable by people with average computer skills. For Maya Paradise to grow and cover hundreds of locations in Guatemala a vast amount of material and thousands of web pages must be made manageable. It's not feasible to have a team of 10 expert web designers maintaining the site. So as a part of the redesign, Maya Paradise is now driven by software rather than simple HTML pages. Certain fixed information pages are simple HTML but the majority of the pages are generated in software from template files and a content database. The templates and content database are straightforward and can be maintained by clerical staff who have no knowledge of HTML. All of the content you see on the index pages, all directories, maps, photo galleries, slides, even the ads that appear in each section, are controllable via a simple user interface that does not require any knowledge of web design.

Thus far, Maya Paradise only provides coverage for parts of Izabal. Gradually this will grow and cover more and more of the country.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you consider a platform like Wordpress to manage MP site ? It gives you a lot of features and widgets to customize it..

Regards neavilag

ShutterSparks / KW2P said...

Would be nice but Wordpress cannot even begin to handle what Maya Paradise is now set to become over the next couple of years, able to support thousands of ads in hundreds of sections, securely managed by dozens of salespeople over private backchannel. What it lacks right now is the content that the structure demands. In the past, Maya Paradise always appeared content rich, and it still is but it doesn't look like it. Right now it looks like an empty closet with lots of hooks but no clothes. Haha. The new structure requires vastly more content and it's going to take time to build it. It's very easy to insert content now because it's all software generated from databases but the content has to be researched, written, and translated, hundreds of documents, thousands of photos, and all the rest.

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