By Nicholas Higham
SIAM launched a new website in early June, though you may not have noticed. Unless you have had to visit a conference web page or look at prize specifications or committee memberships (as I frequently do in my role as president), you probably have not had much reason to regularly visit the SIAM website. But now you do.
One of the site’s new features is a grid near the top of the homepage that displays 17 research areas. Clicking on any topic (for example, “Computational Science & Numerical Analysis”) directs you to a page that curates all relevant activities, events, and publications in the area, such as upcoming conferences; recent papers from (in this case) the SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing, the SIAM Journal on Numerical Analysis, and Multiscale Modeling and Simulation; and pertinent job opportunities, prize deadlines, SIAM News articles, and related SIAM activity groups (SIAGs).
In the future, the new site will also offer options for personalization through its integration with the SIAM membership system. Logging in with a SIAM member password will provide users with personalized content based on past conference attendance, book purchases, SIAG memberships, and journal subscriptions.
The previous version of the SIAM website dated back to 2005. While it served us well for 13 years, it had become outdated and bloated. The old site was designed for full-sized screens and had grown to 17,000 pages, only about 5,000 of which were active. The new site is responsive—automatically reformatting itself for viewing on handheld devices—and houses only essential content.
Initial thinking about a new website began in 2011, when I was vice president-at-large. The process has been lengthy for several reasons. Developers and SIAM personnel put much effort into understanding the website’s provisions for different types of users. The site coexists with other SIAM IT infrastructures, such as the conference management system and the membership database, changes to which had to be coordinated. Putting SIAM News online (and integrating SIAM Connect and SIAM Blogs into that site) took priority and provided valuable experience with new web technology. Auditing the old website, designing the new one, working with a vendor for implementation, generating content, and iterating based on feedback from alpha testers was a huge task. Tremendous credit should go to participating SIAM staff, led by Becky Kerner (digital communications and brand manager).
Although the content has been greatly reduced (to about 800 pages), much of the old website is still available at archive.siam.org, which preserves important historical information, including the conference archive.
Here are a few less obvious features of the new site that I particularly like.
The website is not perfect. Developers continue to iron out remaining bugs, and various improvements are planned for a second phase of development.
SIAM now has an easy-to-maintain website that meets modern web standards and provides a much better experience for all classes of users. Go to https://www.siam.org and give it a try. If you would like to offer feedback, click the “Feedback” widget pinned to the left side of each page.
To learn more about additional features of the new website and view before and after screenshots, please see the corresponding article.