February 2018 Tech Team Meeting

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The Tech Team met for their monthly meeting on Sunday, February 18 2018, from 1-3 PM. This was a joint meeting with the Web Team.

Persons present

Mike Smith (Technology Officer), Brooke Hazard, Aaron Levine, Chris Greiveldinger


Ongoing projects

  • New Website (2.9/3.0) - Current design is an improvement, but we need better functionality (described below).
  • Credentials Committee Solution - Currently a mix of spreadsheets and VAN. George Yolland working with DLs to collect use cases at a high level.
  • Fundraising Committee Solution - Target is VAN, but needs work. Mike Smith taking over management of this project, which has been stalled.
    • We might possibly merge the two efforts, if the use cases indicate that we really need to move everything to VAN.
  • Web Application Portfolio - Committees and district organizations are demanding more functionality out of website. Consider a small portfolio of solutions - pages on multdems.org WordPress site, but also wiki, Drupal, and Wordpress pages with the right look and feel.
    • Possible downsite: number of inodes used is getting scary.

March meeting

Many of us will be at the DPO Platform Convention on March 18th. We should reschedule for the week before or the week after.

Website 2.9/3.0


Website 1.0 sucked.

From 2006 to 2016 the site actually devolved in terms of how it presented information, with no improvement in overall design. Why and how this happened is unknown, but we worked very hard to fix it. The old site was hosted at DPO, and ran on Drupal. By 2017 it had been neglected for two years - MCDP had no technology officer and DPO had no Drupal expert to assist us.

In order to fix the site, we made the decision to buy our own hosting and migrate the existing site from Drupal to our own WordPress installation.

Website 2.0 is a better website than Website 1.0.

In addition to being prettier, 2.0 is also mobile friendly, and anything you want to find is easier to find. We pay for the hosting, which gives us God power

Website 2.0 has limitations

Despite these improvements, 2.0 still has some limitations. The focus of the site, similarly to site 1.0, is Precinct Committee Persons, and not voters. Contrast this against the King County Democratic Party website, where the first focus is on energized center-left voters, with an ask to get engaged by asking for their email address.

A more serious limitation is the Inkblot theme we are using. It has been over 30 months since any code changes have been made, and could be considered abandonware.

Website 2.9 guidelines

We should use the following guidelines in our design of 2.9:

  1. Mobile first!
  2. Voter focus instead of PCP focus
  3. Accessibility matters!
  4. Collect email as first ask
  5. Committees able to get their own static pages - no comments, and not a great deal of content (although we can link to Google Drive resources or to other applications that we host
  6. Better content organization than Website 2.0.
  7. All done except for: colors, fonts, banner, other branding touches.

Target date: May executive committee (May 3rd)

Website 3.0 guidelines

We should use the following guidelines in our design of 3.0:

  1. All Website 2.9 guidelines
  2. Incorporates new branding

Target date: May 3rd, or the tech team meeting after the branding effort is complete - whichever comes later.

Suggested themes

Important note: The sandboxes are not meant to show proofs-of-concept for later designs. They are so that we can get a chance to play in the themes and make them work.


Astra is a freemium theme that supports mobile-first, tabbed designs. Creating a static front page is a matter of hand-crafting HTML. This means that, for some of the mobile-friendly designs we want (i.e. three columns), we actually need to use some hand-crafted CSS.

(Note: see 12 Column CSS Notes for information on the CSS schema for our static pages.

Astra Sandbox


Make is also a freemium theme that supports mobile-first, tabbed designs. Unlike Astra, Make comes with a drag-and-drop page designer for static pages. Unlike Astra, however, static pages will always come with no sidebar in the free version of Make. We have the option to turn sidebars on or off in the paid version of Make.


  • Website will be for static content
  • We will use Astra. We can get the look and feel we want with Astra with only some additional CSS - and for free.
    • Mike will make sure that Chris and Aaron can access the Astra dev site
  • Mike will craft a very rough front page for 3.0
    • Three column format with main event on top and three columns of other events below
    • No sidebar
    • Separate out blog posts: news, events - accessed by menu
    • Events in a one-column element
    • Menu in header
    • Copyright statement, contact us, and mission statement in footer
    • Basic colors: green, blue, black, white
  • Brooke will look over other political websites for ideas of information organization

Next meeting time has not been decided yet.

Further communication on web effort will be through web team list.