My name is Shelleena Thornton and I am Coordinator to the CAO for the Town of Windsor.
We, my husband, two daughters and me moved from BC five years ago. Prior to our move to Nova Scotia, I only had about 4 years administration experience; before that I was a drilling foreman in the Specialized Workers' Union.
I work full-time, am taking courses part-time and live at the ice rink, soccer field, or gym courts the rest of my time.
How would you describe your comfort level with technology?
Ha Ha Ha, I am technologically challenged. I know my way around computer software programs; to me, they're all easy enough to figure out. But as for the "behind-the-scenes" stuff to make it all work; no way. In other words, I have NO comfort level; at home I'm still trying to figure out how to use our universal remote to switch from HDTV to DVD.
What were you thinking when you were asked to maintain Windsor's website using the content management system, Joomla?
My first thought, "you've got to be kidding," then I kept trying to recall where in my resume or interview process I claimed to know how to do this sort of thing.
In all honesty, at first, I was not that impressed…it definitely put me out of my comfort zone. I had never done anything remotely close to updating websites; my thought was; that's what IT people are for.
How did you find the training sessions?
I found the training sessions very difficult at first (and now, looking back, it's because I had "my back up." I was intimidated; therefore, I don't think I wanted it to be easy, nor did I want to understand).
The best thing about the training session is that it was hands-on; I'm a hands-on person, especially if it pertains to something that I know nothing about.
What was easy or difficult to do when you started using Joomla?
Easy…well, I'd have to say working in Joomla from the "front-end" that I seemed to grasp on to fairly quickly. I also found it easy to put events on our calendar; but only from the front-end.
Now, for those reading this and not familiar with Joomla yet; you're probably thinking, HUH; what is the front-end - - - oops sorry; but trust me, it'll all be clear after a training session.
Difficult…well, that would have to be the terminology. Me …I'm a say-it-like-ya-see-it person. For example, if I wanted to upload a document, I'm all for a visual of the words, "upload a document" so I really struggled with the terminology process of "components", "DOCman", etc., etc.
Now that it's been over a month since you've became the municipal webmaster, how have things changed?
It's EASY & FUN. I was so stressed out about "messing" up the website and doing something wrong. The one key thing I had to remember was that if I messed something up, Les could fix it - - - so that kept me somewhat stress free and it gave me the opportunity to "play around" with the website; which really helped me learn quite quickly. (By the way, the Tutorials helped a lot).
What advice would you give to municipal administrators starting in Joomla?
Keep an open-mind, practice & experiment (especially using the Tutorials), and when in doubt, get clarity from Les. Don't be afraid of the computer, after all, it only does what YOU tell it to (and if you mess-up, it's okay, no one has to see it - - that's what "unpublish" is for).
Could you say a few things about Windsor's new website and the kind of feedback it has received?
The feedback has been remarkable. Everyone is commenting on how appealing and user-friendly it is.
Our CAO had a vision as to how it should physically look, while I, being technologically illiterate, envisioned what someone like me would like to see while trying to navigate through a website; literally, a website for dummies approach. Because nothing was "obvious" to me, I took the step-by-step approach to our website and the feedback has been VERY positive.
How has Windsor benefited by becoming a partner of the Municipal Website Venture?
It has the advantage of deploying new website technology….and now, for the installation of the upgrade module - - - -AHHHHHHHHHH !!
Are there any plans in place for Windsor's website?
Yes... - the upgrade module (allows more interactive communications with our citizens) - intranet