Week 10: The Big One-Oh

IN THIS WEEK’S POST: It’s time to reveal a few things.

When I came on as an intern, my boss and I talked about how I would have an outsider’s point of view in how the operations of the Arkansas Conference Center for Technology ran, and how part of that view would translate into me sharing my ideas for how things could look and operate, in my own honest opinion. Well, this is the week that all of that has been building up to: the week I presented a couple of my ideas to the body of people that is the Center for Technology staff. These ideas were ones that I’ve been tossing around in my head and worked on for any amount of time from the start of my internship to a week or two ago. So, in no particular order, let’s cover those ideas here for you, the reader!

The New ARUMC Mobile App

The mobile app for the Arkansas Conference has always been something that existed in one form or another, but due to maintenance issues never took off in the ways that the office liked. Therefore, one of the things that I set off in the very beginning of my internship was how to improve the mobile app and make it something that anyone and everyone would want to use, as well as making it easier to maintain and add to as necessary. My conclusion?

Start fresh.

Over the past month, I’ve been building up a concept app, based on HTML5 and JavaScript, that is not only easier to maintain but can be entirely built in-house and updated almost instantly. It features a lot of things already present in our existing app, with the added bonus of expandability and better integration into our website, social media and other content networks (from Facebook to Vimeo, Twitter to Flickr, and others in between). It also has some great behind-the-scenes features like targeted push notifications, and in the end it gives us full control over the look and feel of the app.

In the end, this is one idea that I actually hope to be a part of the launching of it before I leave. And that’s something that I’m quite excited about. I’m already running a beta version on my phone as a fully-built, native app test, and it works quite wonderfully.

The New ARUMC Website

Screenshot of dev site as of AC2016
Screenshot of dev site as of AC2016

Now, this idea comes as a result of a few things, including the broad implementation of new web standards after our existing site was launched, as well as a general wish to shift the focus of our website into an outreach, “front door welcome mat” information site where the focus is less on administration and more on “what we believe” and “our faith in action”. Therefore, I came up with this idea focused on targeting the four key elements of the conference: the conference office itself, the churches that make it up, our numerous conference-level ministries, and the working campaigns we are active in (such as our childhood hunger initiative “200,000 Reasons”). Each one holds equal importance in the menu, and the page itself is overall designed to focus on in-flux content (such as events, our bishop’s daily postings, and a general content-highlighting slider). This idea, while well-received, is something that will take a lot, and I mean a *lot* of tweaking and evaluating by various conference groups, so it’s incredibly unlikely that this will be the final design, and definitely unlikely that I will be a part of rolling anything new out. However, this idea is a good starting point for discussion, and that is something I can get behind.

The Connexion

The blurry image, revealed!
The blurry image, revealed!

Now, this is the most interesting one. I won’t actually be sharing much about what The Connexion is, simply because its purpose is very much in flux as to what it will end up being. I can reveal that it is a new site idea from the Arkansas Conference, and the best way to describe its current state is that it is a “public intranet”. However, even since my meeting, I have had an idea about how to take The Connexion in a much different, but much more useful direction, so this is all for now. Keep your eyes peeled, though, because you may see this logo again someday!

And with that, I believe that covers all of what I’d like to share for now. I still have a few things left on my idea agenda before I leave, and we’ll see what happens with those, but for now…

Until next time,

BONUS: Even my boss plays Pokémon Go!

And people say Methodists aren't cool.
And people say Methodists aren’t cool.

Published by Jacob Turner

An individual passionate about exploring and further developing efforts at the intersection of the areas of technology, knowledge, research, and accessibility to better lives and the world.

One thought on “Week 10: The Big One-Oh

  1. I’m very proud of your dedication and hard work, Jacob. I especially love the new icon and splash screen! (And listen- next time I see you, you have to give me so Pokemon Go pointers- I’m at a standstill!)

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