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The Society for Historical Archaeology Website Redesign

Categories: Company News

Posted by: Carrie Smaha

Visual Harbor is pleased to announce the launch of the new

Society for Historical Archaeology website re-design

Formed in 1967, the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) is the largest scholarly group concerned with the archaeology of the modern world (A.D. 1400-present). The organization represents several thousands of individual members, corporate sponsors and academic institutions from all over the U.S.

In late 2014, SHA selected Visual Harbor out of several vendors that responded to SHA’s Request for Proposal. SHA’s old website was designed many years ago, contained 1,000+ pages of static content, and was difficult to navigate. In addition, the website had a custom “members only” area, and Historical Archaeology Journals archive for the past 50+ years, that was not functioning well. The archive was not searchable and even website administrators sometimes struggled finding information. Usability of the website also suffered due to poorly designed navigation. Site information architecture needed to be redesigned since the website has grown to 200 Gigabytes of pages, files and other data.

Visual Harbor started the process by identifying a list of website key performance indicators (KPIs), building a list of typical user tasks and user personas, and optimizing the website’s navigation and information architecture. From that, the creative team designed a new and engaging look for homepage and a few secondary pages of the website. In addition, the backend of the website had to be programmed on a new CMS to handle SHA’s membership database, members’ only area, ecommerce features such as online membership payment and renewal, as well as others.

With such a large archive of Historical Archaeology Journals, the new website was migrated to a top tier Google Cloud infrastructure making the site work a lot faster from anywhere around the world.


The newly redesigned SHA website was launched in summer of 2015. Various site improvements and new features included:

    • Responsive (mobile friendly) design

    • WordPress CMS

    • Homepage features (touts) area and featured blog posts that can be updated by the client

    • Newly developed Publication Explorer that allows users and members to search through Historical Archaeology Journals archive, searchable by keywords, year, topics, geography, era, etc.

    • E-commerce capabilities allowing SHA to sell journals, documents, and accept online member registrations and renewals

    • Secure members only area that integrates with e-commerce features, e.g. allows current members to have free access to publications that are normally paid for general public

    • Member Management – ability to manage members’ information, account status, order history, and communication portal.

    • Custom Job board - job posting for members and job openings search engine.

    • Advertising Management – ability to rotate sponsor logos and banner advertisements through the website, allocate certain number or % of ad impressions to a particular sponsor and statistics on ad impressions and click-throughs.

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