Meet APA staff: Web Strategy and Content Office

Division Services Director Sarah Jordan spoke with Garrett Ducker and Micheline Meyers of the APA Web Strategy and Content Office (WSCO) about their work.
 Micheline Meyers and Garrett Ducker of the APA Web Strategy and Content Office (WSCO)Jordan: Can you tell me a little about your backgrounds?

Ducker: I have been working on websites since I was in high school and even did a little freelancing in college. I came to APA in 2008 as they were overhauling the entire site at www.apa.org and transitioned to working on division sites on www.apadivisions.org in 2012.

Meyers: I started working at APA in 1999 in the Journals Dept. In 2004, I moved the Division Services Office, where I worked primarily on print division newsletters and a handful of division websites. In 2010, I moved to the Web Strategy and Content Office to work on a project to migrate division websites to APA’s content management system, and to administer division spaces on APA Communities, a private, members-only social media site.

What types of services does WSCO provide to divisions?

We host and maintain sites for any divisions interested. We also take care of migrating from any existing sites to our servers, working with the divisions to create a logo if they don’t already have one, select a layout and color scheme, etc. In addition, we are happy to help divisions determine how to effectively present their content and to share web best practices. Also, we administer APA Communities sites for interested divisions.

Can you explain how Communities are being used by divisions?

Each division that uses Communities is using it in their own way. Some use it to collaborate with fellow members on documents in progress. A few use their discussion boards as an informal Q&A forum where they can post issues that have arisen in their practices or studies and seek feedback from colleagues.

In addition, some divisions use APA Communities to conduct committee and board work, including sharing and collaborating on documents, facilitating discussions, etc. A couple of divisions also have asked us to set up free-standing groups (e.g., not affiliated with a particular division), which can be configured to be Open (Membership is open and non-members can view content and participate), Members Only (membership is open and non-members can view content, but must join to participate), Private (membership is by approval/invitation only and only members can view content and participate) and Confidential (membership is by invitation only, only members may participate, and the group is not listed in the group directory). Groups are ideal for interdivisional ventures because they can be accessible to members of various divisions, unlike division spaces, which are accessible to members of that division only.

I’ve heard that the presentation of division “news” is being done differently on the APA division websites. Can you tell me about those changes?

The presentation of newsletters will only change for those newsletters that are more than 20 pages in print form. To balance the workload of website staff with the communication needs of divisions, such newsletters will be posted online in PDF format. To drive attention to these PDFs, four to six articles from each issue will be converted to HTML and featured on the publishing division’s site. It’s also our hope that doing so will keep content on tables of context short, which is important in an age when so much online content is accessed through mobile devices. 

Newsletter issues that are 20 pages or shorter will still be completely converted to HTML, as we’ve done in the past. However, we ask that all newsletters be submitted using the template available on APA Communities.

Can you show us an example?

Division 28's summer 2013 issue uses the new format. If you compare it to the format of their winter 2013 issue, you’ll notice how much easier it is to scan the table of contents while still having the full issue available.

How can divisions contact you?

The best way is to email us at updates@apa.org, a shared inbox accessible by several members of the Web Strategy and Content Office (WSCO), including both of us. By emailing this address rather than either of us individually, messages are guaranteed to be seen by a member of our office even if one of us is unexpectedly away from the office.