PRSA officially unveiled its new Web site , which is something we’ve been eagerly anticipating for more than a year now. Redesigned with the help of extensive member input, the new site is clean, modern and presents information in fresh and easily accessible ways. You should find it a welcome change from our previous site.
What benefits does the redesign offer you? First, the new site architecture makes it easier to find news, information and learning resources, as well as other PRSA members. Updated navigation categories and submenus are now more logical, context-specific and interconnected; for example, we integrated three previously distinct member directories, so it will be quicker and easier to find someone — or be found.
Another important benefit is the new site’s advanced search technology. Searches are now powered by a customized Google Search Appliance, which enhances filtering within search results to return the most relevant resources from across the entire site. As a result, we’re able to eliminate the use of silo databases, such as PRC Search.
We’ve also built new customization options into the site, replacing the “MemberNet” section with an exciting new member area called “MyPRSA.” In addition to delivering proprietary content, MyPRSA allows members to create and manage their own user profiles, set up contact lists and indicate preferences that will be used to deliver news and information that appeals to their individual expertise and interests. MyPRSA also can be used to keep you up-to-date on your event registrations and membership status.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll watch and listen as you and other members settle into the new site, and look to incorporate any further thoughts or suggestions that you may have. You may offer your feedback by completing our online survey, or by sending your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(If you’d like to learn more about our process and objectives as we redesigned the PRSA Web site — something that might interest anyone similarly involved in a site rebuild — check out my Sept. 2 ComPRehension blog post, when we offered a preview of the new site for PRSA leaders.)
So, now what’s next? Aside from the new Web site, PRSA has a number of other projects in the pipeline that will benefit our members. Shortly, we’ll formally introduce “The Business Case for Public Relations™,” an industry advocacy effort intended to foster more accurate and better-informed perceptions of the value and role of public relations within the diverse organizations that use it.
Also before the end of this year, we’ll launch a revamped Issues & Trends, which will incorporate additional organizational news to further reduce the volume of e-mail you receive from us. It also will reflect our new site design for a more consistent look and feel across our communications.
In the first quarter of next year, we’ll deliver Chapter Web site templates, giving our Chapters the opportunity to replicate the look and feel of our newly designed National Web site, if they elect to do so. Also next year, we’ll update and refresh the PRSA logo, making it more compatible with our new Web site design.
Undoubtedly, 2009 has been a challenging year for many of us. Here at PRSA, we’ve worked hard to stay focused on creating and delivering tangible member benefits — while sticking to our longer-term strategic goals and priorities — as staff and volunteers work together to build a stronger PRSA in support of the profession and its professionals.
William M. Murray, CAE, is PRSA’s president and COO.