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One year later: looking back, and looking ahead

30 June 2017 | by Andrew Walmsley

It's been just over a year now since I took on the role of Online Content Manager here at The British Psychological Society, so I felt it was about time to put together a round-up explaining some of the work that has gone on behind the scenes over the last twelve months, as well as letting you know about some of the upcoming developments we have in store.

Currently the major part of my remit involves the management and oversight of the ongoing project to transfer the old, or "classic", BPS website over to the new format.

Although this project was initialised prior to my joining the Society (and, indeed, prior to the creation of my role), I have been granted quite a bit of autonomy when it comes to the organisation and planning of the process, which has allowed me - in conjunction with representatives from several of our internal departments, with whom I work very closely - to rework and reorder our priorities and procedures in response to changing circumstances and changing requirements.

But the central aim itself remains unchanged - to create a brand new website which is cleaner, clearer, and more coherent than our previous one, which better represents the goals and aims of the Society, and which will hopefully serve as the "go to" destination for both practicing psychologists and for the general public.

Initially of course the focus was on getting the foundations of the new site - the new homepage and the major sections - firmly established and linked to our already published content, while also mapping out a more streamlined structure and layout for our online resources, with the ultimate intention of doing away with a lot of the clutter which had built up on the "classic" site over the years, while also reordering/restructuring things in a way that was more user-friendly and more intuitive to navigate.

Some of the new resources which were put in place during this first phase included:

  • a new home and new format for our BPS News stories
  • a more detailed, and more easily searchable, database of upcoming Events
  • a brand new platform for weekly Blogs designed to provoke further discussion, and increase awareness, of ongoing Society activity
  • the public-facing Discover Psychology page, where members of the public can access some basic information and advice
  • our regularly updated A-Z of Psychology which provides simple and straightforward definitions of a variety of psychology-related terms, as well as links to further information

While, more recently, there has been a major push (involving a lot of work by myself and by my colleagues behind-the-scenes) to create and publish brand new pages detailing:

  • how to Become a Member (or a Subscriber) of the Society, including information about the various grades and benefits available, as well as a brand new sytem for handling online applications
  • how to Become a Psychologist, which includes in-depth advice about what qualifications you will need, where to find them, opportunities for postgraduate study, and future career options
  • the current structure and Governance of the Society

Over the next couple of months you'll see several more new/updated sections come online, including a new hub for Professional Development information, a new area dedicated to highlighting our Member Resources to make them more visible and accessable, and a fully up-to-date and searchable database which will enable you to Find a Psychologist, filtered by location and specialism.

But that's not all - the Policy and Guidelines section is already set for a major overhaul, as are our Press Centre, and History of Psychology, pages and, by the end of the year, we will be consulting with representatives from all our Member Networks with the aim of providing each of them with a new, semi-autonomous area of their own on the new website (which should also, if everything goes to plan, include some exciting new features).

Obviously there may be problems and further frustrations yet to arise. That's simply the nature of the beast. And I don't want to promise the moon, and then fail to deliver. But I was always taught that honesty is the best policy, and it only stands to reason that increasing transparency in a situation likes this, where many of our members might be a little unsure about what is happening, or when, is good for all concerned.

So I hope that, after reading this, you'll have a much better understanding and appreciation of what a vast (albeit worthwhile) undertaking this is - currently I have several hundred webpages to analyse for future transfer/archiving/deletion, on top of developing and editing content for several soon-to-be-published sections of the new website - and how much work is involved in keeping everything running during this transition.

And I hope that with this understanding will come a willingness to bear with us a little longer while we work on making sure that the brand new BPS website is the best it can possibly be.


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