If a society wants to thrive nowadays, it is important that they have a good website. It is by far the best way to promote what you do, and to encourage others to get involved.
The Northern Mine Research Society has recently introduced a radically improved website. In the course of reviewing it for this blog, I found myself exploring the various corners of it for an hour, and had to tear myself away to write something about it. Having visited quite a few similar sites over recent weeks in preparation for the 2017 NAMHO conference, I developed a simple picture of what a good website for a mining history group should include. The new NMRS site http://nmrs.org.uk seems to tick all the boxes.
Its structure is simple, but it contains a good amount of useful and interesting information. There is a concise description of the society, giving a brief history and a good idea of what the society does. There is a nice section on various British mines with a simple mapping tool. Publications are available, and there is a diary of trips and events. One feature I liked was that previous events were still listed, with a clear summary of the event and a photo.
The benefits of membership are clearly laid out, and the membership application form is nice and simple. One feature I found particularly irksome when browsing the numerous sites a few weeks ago, was the number of sites with very poor contact information. The contact form on the NMRS site is very simple and easy to use.
Favourable comments from colleagues include:
“Easy to read, clear, clean, modern, professional-looking, nice menu system. Altogether, a really nice user experience.”
“Clean site and some interesting reads.”
“It’s a nice clean site and deals with mobiles well (I’m sitting in a tent on my phone).”
Rather than read through a description of the site here, why not just go and take a look for yourself! I will conclude with a quote from the website itself, concerning the reasons for the update.
“Why a new website? Our previous one required that you understand programming to be able to make changes – our primary reason is therefore that we wanted something that could be easily updated by anyone; and here it is. We also had to deal with the increasing number of people using smart phones and tablets to access the internet; this new website is responsive and collapses the pages to fit these smaller screens. Finding your way around should be easier too and new items like this will keep you informed about what is happening. Visitors too, should find it easier to find out who we are and what we do.”
Other societies take note: If your site is old, fossilised, clunky, over-complex or just boring, and you have the means to do something about it, take the NMRS site as a model for what can be done.