After 14 years of activism, the dated website for ActiveMSers has been entirely redesigned and reimagined for 2020. This refresh was made possible in part by a $5,000 grant from the HealtheVoices Impact Fund, which was established by Janssen to assist health advocates in their outreach. This article details notable changes and improvements to the website, and provides tips to maximize your ActiveMSers experience.
Highlights of the Redesign
Change can be challenging. Like when grocery stores change where they keep the fiber supplements—they were on aisle four LAST WEEK. So frustrating, especially when you just want a little help pooping. But when it comes to websites, change can be wholly unsettling. Everything is so new and shiny, and you don’t know where to look! So we’ve prepared a little guide to help make the transition easier. Don’t freak out, it’s infinitely better.
Secure connection. The old ActiveMSers’ website relied on software and technology that was over 20 years old. HTTPS and SSL were incompatible with the former website builder tool, which was discovered after a failed attempt at an upgrade that immediately angered all search engines and web browsers, inspiring ominous warnings of doom. The new site is fully compatible and features all the latest security features and protections.
Mobile optimized. The original website was released before the advent of the modern smartphone. Before Facebook was a thing. Before Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube were things. Back when people used landlines and Myspace was actually popular. As such, many features that worked on desktop computers cratered on little mobile phones and often became unreadable. With half of all web traffic being driven by mobile today, that was an issue. The refreshed site is so mobile friendly you’ll want to give it a hug. But hugging websites isn’t advised because they don’t typically hug back.
Improved organization. Trying to distill 14 years of advocacy (and enough content for multiple books!) into a cohesive package took some serious effort. The website is divided into a number of broad topics that you can drill down into to get specifics. With the exception of guides, each individual story or video is featured once, while DON’T MISS items may be repeats from stories in other areas that we want to call your attention to. DIG DEEPER items are non-essential bonus reads if you have time… or not. Still overwhelmed? Click on any one of the primary categories—The MS Life, Fitness and Travel—and you’ll find a detailed site map for that section. A search bar has been added so you can more easily find what you need in a jiff.
Expanded guides. Our MS guides have always been popular, but now they are truly industry leaders. Each exclusive ActiveMSers guide—from exercise to travel to cooling—has been revised, updated and expanded. As such, they are beefy, big reads, chock full of great tips and advice. Member of ActiveMSers? Even better, because you will get pdf versions e-mailed directly to you, so you can read our guides offline at your leisure. Or print them out, professionally bind ’em (or staple), and peddle these awesome guides on street corners to make a little extra cash.
Emoji enhanced. Sometimes you want to know at a glance what you are getting yourself into. So for each major article, feature, blog, or video, we’ve included one to three emojis. The first one refers to mood (is it serious, funny, shocking?) while the other emojis give you insight (is it educational, motivating, full of bright ideas, an all-time favorite?). A key is provided for those who do not speak fluent emoji.
Read and watch times. Time these days always seems so fleeting. Heck, TV shows that are only ten minutes long are getting traction. Even TikTok can have you glancing at the clock, wondering how many seconds until you get to the good stuff. To respect your time constraints, ActiveMSers has included estimated times to read/watch/listen on all of our pieces.
Have suggestions for improvements? Want to express your deep, deep gratitude to this project that took months of effort and likely caused irreparable hair loss? Feel the urge to say something snarky and semi-anonymous? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
This redesign was also made possible by a significant assist from website developer Kathryn Kean, the youngest sister of the founder of ActiveMSers. She runs Bighorn Racing when she is not doing the heavy lifting of managing this website, a husband, and three children.