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Forward, not backward, upward, not forward

11 December 2017 | by Andrew Walmsley

From where I'm sitting the above title (drawn from one of my favourite episodes of The Simpsons) quite accurately sums up the laudable, occasionally maddening, and frequently contradictory goals and aims of our ongoing project to upgrade our online content and resources.

As you may have seen we’ve finally reached a point where the majority of our online content is now being presented in the new format, with only certain pages and features still existing in the old style.

What you may not be aware of, however, is just how much of a relief this has come to those of us who have been working behind the scenes, trying to keep all the plates spinning and all the balls in the air.

Running what were, essentially, two separate sites – simultaneously testing and implementing new features, upgrading old ones, adding new pages, editing old content, fixing errors and consulting with stakeholders on ongoing developments – has demanded a lot of careful thought and constant maintenance, and I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks to our internal IT team and our external developers, for all the long hours and extra effort they’ve put in, particularly in the last few months as we geared up for the big rollover.

Their efforts, largely invisible until something goes catastrophically wrong, far too often go unsung and unacknowledged, and I think it’s important that all the users of the site – new members, old members, and members of the public alike – are made aware of all the hard work involved in its day-to-day upkeep.

As to the site itself, there are quite a few new features which I’d like to point out to you, all of which have been carefully reworked and redesigned so as to make them easier to use and easier to understand.

  • The new Member Resources page has been put together as your “one stop shop” for all the various rewards, advantages, and opportunities which are available to our members, with links and instructions as to how to access them all now centralised in one place. This has been a particular focus of mine over the last several weeks, and one which I plan on continuing to improve and expand, so that our users are more aware of everything which Society membership can offer them.

  • Our Accreditation pages have been stripped down, streamlined, and rewritten so as to provide information that’s cleaner, clearer, and much easier to access.

  • The new Society Qualifications pages should also be easier to use and navigate, with more details now available on the variety of courses available and the processes of enrolment and assessment involved.

  • We’ve improved the information we offer in our Become a Psychologist section, with guidance now provided for all stages of your career, from undergraduate to postgraduate study, to joining (or rejoining) the job market in search of a rewarding career as a psychologist or in a related role.

  • We’ve also spent a lot of time upgrading and updating our Professional Development pages, allowing you to find, plan, support, and offer CPD no matter where or who you are.

  • Our ongoing attempt to increase transparency means that we’re continuing to add and improve the information we offer on Who we are and How we work as a Society, and we plan to keep updating these pages as time goes on.

  • The History of Psychology Centre now has a brand new home, which should make it easier than ever to access the archives, events, and publications which it oversees.

  • And, speaking of Publications, information on the wide variety of Journals, Books, and related publications available to both members and non-members has now been centralised in one place.

What are our/my plans for the future?

The next big stage of this ongoing process will involve moving our Member Network microsites over to the new format, which will first involve meeting with representatives from each of them to discuss what their members want, and what we (or, to be more specific, I) can offer them as part of the big move.

In the interim however I’ll soon be moving the Awards and Grants pages over to the new format, and working closely with our Press Team to provide them with a new and improved Press Centre page.

We’ll also shortly be transferring our Searchable Lists – the List of Chartered Members, the Directory of Chartered Psychologists, the Directory of Voluntary Careers Speakers, etc – over to the new format, which will not only make them more accurate and easier to navigate, but also more secure.

And, of course, we’ll also be continuing to tweak and improve the current pages and services we provide, in response to both internal and external feedback.

I know that change is often difficult. And there’s no way that the new site will be able to please all our members and all our users. But I would ask that you give the new format and the new layout a bit of time to sink in, and get to know it a bit better, before leaping to judgement.

Hopefully you’ll grow to, if not love it, then at least appreciate the many improvements which have been made in our ongoing effort to provide the best possible online experience.


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