Using the new web for good things

I’ve been the webmaster for the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities for the past 2.5 years. It’s one of the only clients I kept after accepting the fulltime job at C3. It’s not that difficult, and I enjoy working with the Council staff. As the parent of a child with a disability, I appreciate the importance of the work they’re doing.

What I don’t appreciate is the CMS the State of Connecticut uses. It’s clunky, it’s slow, it’s mind-numbingly dense and not at all user friendly, and it requires IE 6+ to do anything.

So whenever possible I’ve been encouraging the council to take advantage of the reliable technologies outside of the domain. When they wanted a way to have more active feedback from readers and I found the message board on the site to be unusable, I set up a blog at (now I would have just done it on

They wanted to show off pictures, so I set them up on Flickr.

They wanted an easy way to update a calendar of events in the community. I set them up with a Google Calendar account and embedded it in a page on the site.

We mostly use the site itself for meeting minutes, budget and council member lists, upcoming meeting announcements and other items that are text-based and need to be on the main site for whatever reason.

One of the Council’s biggest projects is “Able Lives,” a series of short pieces that air on Connecticut Public Television. A couple of months ago, the Council spoke to me about how we could embed video on the site. Ugh. Wasn’t even going to go there with that CMS. I suggested that they work with CPTV to allow the clips to be uploaded to YouTube. They’re short clips, and on YouTube they have a better chance of being seen by a wider audience. Then I can simply embed the player on (if it’ll let me).

I was thrilled to see this morning that’s exactly what they did (and apparently it’s on MySpace, too):

I love when it’s not technology for technology’s sake.


2 responses to “Using the new web for good things”

  1. I have been doing similar things with my school. I am their “parent volunteer” web administrator. I use Google calendars and recently taught the teachers how to blog on Blogger (just because their Google accounts will work) and how to use Google Calendar. Hopefully at least ONE will create a blog or calendar as a way to communicate with parents. The new web can be extremely useful.

  2. Hello very nice blog, not many people get as deep into subject, you should really be happy. I also really like the design of this blog. Nice article as well great writing keep up the good work.