Web Development

My Uncle’s New Website

Over the holidays my uncle lamented that his old HTML Angelfire website was not functioning properly on his Internet Explorer browser and that he would have to recreate it on another platform.

He didn’t know that I had been taking deep dives into front-end development, and I decided this would be an interesting opportunity to work on a project that was aimed at someone that didn’t need or want to pay for hosting or a domain name, that

  • didn’t need or want to pay for hosting or a domain name, that had
  • had visitors that didn’t mind typing and using a longer sub-domain, and
  • had to stay relatively simplistic because the users were mostly over 60 years old and had minimal Internet experience.

The Old Website

If you are on a browser that can see the old version of the site, it is pretty clear that updates were made over the course of a decade, but that these updates made the site more confusing.

47th A&E Squadron Home Page_old

I felt that visitors wouldn’t know where to go first to find the information they needed quickly.

Before the days of blogs, my uncle constructed this site and then updated on the pages that seemed appropriate.

But old sites are static and, updating used to be challenging because it was hard to convey the newest information while also keeping archives on the site for visitors to look back and see older updates.

Because my uncle didn’t need or want to buy domain and hosting, I decided to build the site on WordPress.com, which I actually found more difficult to work with than WordPress.org because my choices in design were severely limited and I also am not as familiar with WordPress.com’s dashboard, which is similar but has different offerings than WordPress.org.


For example, WordPress.com offers a limited number of plugins that will work for basic users, but does not seem to have a marketplace like WordPress.org.

The goal was to organize the information that was on the old site in a way that would allow the users to find what they are looking for more quickly, but also for my uncle to be able to use the dashboard and make additional pages and posts in a logical way.

The Updated/New Website


The first thing I did was try to break the information and pages down on the old site into different categories, which would end up being in the main navigation bar.

Everything pretty much fit logically except for a few pages, which I easily placed in the navigation bar as a subheading under the About page.

I debated making the old reunion pages Posts or Pages, but I went with posts for two reasons. One was so that I could give this site to my uncle with a few blog posts already posted.

The second reason was because, in the future, my uncle could make a new post to the blog with additional pictures for reunions that have yet to happen as of this writing, but then he could add the page easily as a subheading to “Past Reunions” using WordPress’s menu tools, or by adding the category “past reunions” which would add the new post as a subheading to “Past Reunions” automatically.

All the other pages were transferred to new pages, aside from some “news” that was no longer news, like what they were serving for dinner at the reunion in 12014.

But I figured if my uncle still wants that information on that page, he could put it on there himself and that would be good practice for using and learning a new system to maintain his website.

That is also why I left a couple of widget with the filler text. I wanted to show that he could put something there if he wanted to, but also make it imperative to change it or delete it, which would force him to explore and figure it out on his own, which I believe he can do successfully.