Finally, we have lift off!
It’s been a long time since the Her Zimbabwe site has been updated and we are really glad to introduce you to a site we hope will be more fun for you to interact with.
One of the issues with the old site was that it gave a lot of problems when content was initially updated with movement of the template and other issues that made it unstable. We don’t quite know why that was the case as troubleshooting the issue never quite yielded a satisfactory answer. But we hope this problem will not be experienced on the new site.
To get you acquainted with the changes, here’s a list of things that you will find different about the site;
1. A new visual look
The first thing you will probably notice with this site is that the look has changed. While there have been significant modifications, we have tried to keep elements of the old theme, including the old colour scheme and a similar visual layout of content.
We have changed things a bit to reflect the maturity that we want the site to be taken with. This is not to say that Her Zimbabwe has not been taken seriously in the past, but more to point to the future direction of where Her Zimbabwe would like to be seen; among some of the sites offering the most dynamic and alternative content about Africa.
In order to maintain our edge – and to show a progressive appreciation of our craft – we feel that this site better reflects Her Zimbabwe’s commitment to professionalism and progressive creativity.
2. Links to Youtube and Flickr pages
One of the things that Her Zimbabwe has been lagging behind on is providing multi-media content; that is written content as well as audiovisual material.
Our Youtube channel has been dormant over the last year and we are working to rectify this, as you will see from our video uploads there. Our Flickr account will be used as a more central repository for visual stills, as opposed to posting images directly to Facebook.
Do bear with us, particularly with the Youtube channel, as uploading video in Zimbabwe can still sometimes make you want to pull your hair out!
3. Commenting via Facebook and other social media
Previously, the site could only accept comments from registered users. Now, commenting is easier as you can now do so via Facebook and WordPress. We feel this will make it easier for people to get engaged in discussion.
4. More content categories
The site previously had just five content categories, which were sometimes not reflective of the dynamic content that we have. So we’ve dropped a few and added a few more. We hope that categories such as Her Rights and Her Culture, among other new additions will stir up some noise about where women – and women’s rights – stand within Zimbabwe’s various cultural contexts.
We are also particularly excited to introduce the ‘Her Africa’ section in which we will give voice and space to the women of our vast and beautiful continent.
5. A more prominent RSS feed button
While the old site did have an RSS feed, this was not prominently featured, making it difficult for those who wanted to get automatic updates about new content to keep abreast of new issues.
This has since changed and an RSS feed button can now be found quite visibly in the top right corner of the site.
6. A rethink of the our content strategy
We offer quality content that is reviewed and edited at least twice before being published. This means that a lot of time goes into maintaining the high standards that we aspire to for this website.
As such, this means that we have had to become a bit more rigorous in the criteria that we employ to gather content, choosing to focus on quality rather than quantity.
In the absence of full-time staff capable of committing time to the work of editing, Her Zimbabwe will seek to update content at more spaced intervals to allow the team enough time to gather, edit and review new content that maintains the quality of what we do.
Calls for articles around thematic topics will be disseminated as and when they arise.
NOTE: We will, however, endeavour to update the site with any content that loses its currency over time.
7. Her Zimbabwe on social media
Deep and emotional conversations can be extremely taxing to moderate on a daily basis. Furthermore, the verbally abusive backlash that they tend to elicit can be destructive in the absence of self-care mechanisms and/ or coping strategies.
We are currently working on trying to find a balance between maintaining our discussions on Twitter and Facebook, while ensuring full empathy to the situations we discuss, the people we engage in those discussions, and ourselves.
It is our hope that despite the emotive topics we may cover from time to time, we will all learn and grow through discourse that seeks to get to the heart of the matter on each issue. These topics are gathered from what you, our following, have previously expressed interest in. And we at Her Zimbabwe will endeavour to give these important issues the adequate analysis that they require.
We are also thinking through how to extend our conversations beyond the now and take them into other spaces. This may seem an ironic thing to say considering that we have just announced the addition of new social media platforms to Her Zimbabwe presence. But this is, and always has been, an exploratory project that is learning through trial, error and success.
These other spaces also apply to new depths of discourse and dialogue,so as to better understand the issues and their root causes ourselves, and also for our readers, as well the need to be challenged to think more deeply and critically.
8. WordPress-based backend
This one is a bit more technical, and not visible to most, but we have migrated the site from a Joomla content management system (CMS) to the simpler and more stable WordPress CMS. This will make updating the site much easier for administrators as Joomla is a far more complex system.
Long time coming
This new site has provided more than a few technical glitches along the way which have provided some stressful moments. But a big thanks goes to all who have gotten their hands stuck into this, namely the staff at Zimbo Jam and Internews Europe.
Over to you!
We welcome your feedback about the new site and your impression of its look and feel, and content.
We’d be happy to receive your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s to more lively debates and conversations!