Message from the Chairman, October 2014

Change is coming for the IJA. Not just a few small tweaks here and there, but a substantial change that has been in development for quite some time.

One of the biggest complaints that I hear about the IJA is the website. Sure, it serves its purpose and is a great source for content, but it is difficult to navigate, cluttered with dead links, and has an extremely outdated layout.

A redesign has been discussed for many years, but this process is not as easy as it seems. It’s not simply a matter of designing and posting a new website, we have both a complex front end and back end to deal with. Our membership data, store, and integrated data storage is a very important element, in addition to the content migration and image of the front end. Because of not just the time commitment required for such a large undertaking, but also the cost and finding the right solution for such a project, this has led to quite a drawn out process. For years, updating the website was seen as a high priority, but with no easy way to approach it, no action was able to be taken. That is, until now.

We recently received a donation from an anonymous donor who wishes to be referred to as “Unna Med” (unnamed) to help fund this project. This generous action has allowed us to finally move forward. Starting in November, we will gradually be moving over to an Association Management System (AMS). This new system will not only give us better front end look and navigation, but also streamline our backend substantially.

The IJA is also taking this opportunity to update its overall image; this includes the possibility of a new logo for the organization. This is not a decision that is being made hastily, nor is it a project that is being spearheaded by a single individual. When I first came on board several years ago, I heard discussions from both the general membership and current officers about updating the logo to a more modernized design. For the last few months, the IJA Board and officers have been working hard on different prototype designs. Our current logo has served us very well over the decades. However, organizational branding is a very important thing, especially in the digital age. It is common for organizations to modernize their images every generation or so, and it is something we are approaching with great consideration and we very much welcome feedback from all members. Are you in favor of a new logo? If so, what sort of traits do you feel would make for a good design? Feel free to drop us a line. Ultimately, we want this decision to be made not by a few select individuals, but by the general consensus of the IJA membership base.

Though we are moving forward to push the IJA into the current generation, this is not to say by any means that we are planning on focusing exclusively on the “now.” We are still very much about preserving the history of juggling; David Cain continues to write phenomenal articles for our online publication eJuggle on the history of various elements of juggling, and we are going to be moving old IJA content and historical information over to our new website in a way that allows them to be much more visible and easy to navigate.

The goal is to keep the IJA current while also continuing to make it a great place for all jugglers. I’m optimistic that we can continue to do just that.

Juggle on,

Nathan Wakefield
IJA Chairman

Nathan Wakefield

Nathan is a juggler from Southeast Michigan. He first learned to juggle in college, and has written for the website Streetjuggling.com. Currently, he is The Chairman of the International Jugglers' Association. When he is not frantically trying to learn new manipulation skills, he enjoys producing music, acting, and watching horror films.

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