The Plan B website – DRAFT BETA – is available for review. I consider this stage of the site to be my wire frame state. The pages have the correct content but it has been sourced from existing resources. I will be writing new content as my experience developing an emergency plan for my home and neighborhood takes shape.
I have experimented with plugins, news feeds, embedded video, PDFs and photos. I’m excited that I’m learning how to use these new tools and look forward to experimenting with WordPress and new media. I’m particularly interested in creating my own short videos for this site.
Thank you for your comments. I know that I can learn from them and make this site the best it can be. – MM
Plan B Pages
- Homepage: Plan B Blog
- Resource Page: Curated Links
- Natural History and Science Page
- Shopping and Online Store Page
- Government Resources and News Page
- Community or Bulletin Board Page
- Plan B Planning Tool Box or Plan Book: Worksheets Page
- Plan B About Page
Homepage: Plan B Blog
The Plan B blog is located on the Homepage. It’s the primary user contact point during the first phase of the project launch. During the six months post launch the blog will be updated weekly with posts averaging 500 -700 words including a photo or infographic related to the post’s content. The early posts will track the development of my personal natural hazard emergency plan. The initial phase is designed to build brand and establish Plan B’s online credibility. Post content will vary – one guest writer each month, one profile/interview each month. Including a strong visual or series of visuals in each post will engage visual learners and provide a secondary reading pathway through the content.
Homepage sidebar: Blogroll and Resource Links (Curated Links)
The Blogroll and Resource Links will appear on the right side of the page:
- Blogroll: Hyperlocal/neighborhood and regional blogs focused on natural hazard preparation
- Resource Links: City, County, State, Regional, National Government Agencies websites related to natural hazard planning. (partial list)
Visual Storytelling I will create a metadata policy for visuals in order to track image use, credits, technical information, camera settings and GPS locations. Some posts may have more than one image – especially for step-by-step instructions or a series of event photos. These images will assign captions, credits and complete metadata fields. The template design should all flexible placement of captions. It’s important that captions stay anchored to their images and need to find a plugin or widget that supports some kind of caption control. Dyerware software offers a Gallery and Caption plugin that connects caption to image and allows the user to zoom in on a single photo or group the images and click-through. It’s interesting but doesn’t provide the granular caption control I want. I would prefer caption placement control similar to that found in InDesign. Further research is needed.
Resource Page: Curated Links
Users will select the Resource Page when searching for government resources – planning forms, planning service information. They’ll also find links to an array of current, tested and approved articles about natural hazard planning. This page is an important Plan B page. It’s proof for users that Plan B is unlike any other natural hazard-planning site available online. It consistently leads users to trustworthy information rich stories and honest and reliable organizations.
Users will no longer be forces to slog through redundant government information sites riddled with broken links. Users won’t be stranded on suspect sites selling dubious products. A posse of rabid revelationists preaching doom, gloom and Aryan supremacy won’t corner innocent users. The Plan B Resource Page is great news for the whole family.
Natural History and Science Page
Natural hazards are often infrequent or distant and so we tend to avoid learning about them. Understanding the science, mechanics and natural history of natural hazards ensures that Plan B users know what to expect when an emergency occurs. They’ll understand media updates because they understand the possible outcomes of an earthquake or flood in their neighborhood. The Science Page is an anodyne to the unknown and a catalyst for understanding and self-reliance.
As Plan B develops science content may find its way onto all of Plan B’s pages. If that’s the case an icon or design treatment will be used to highlight science content and live links will be included with the post.
Shopping and Online Store Page
Natural hazards create billions of dollars in damage. One storm can level a city and demolish infrastructure. Residents of an affected area might be powerless for weeks after an emergency event. Recognizing that natural hazard emergency plans require a wide variety of supplies and products in lieu of rapid response from local 911 emergency services. Plan B is investigating products and supplies useful to endangered people and reviewing supply suggestions from accredited planning professionals. We will develop an approved emergency-product shopping list.
Possible products include: crank-powered flashlights and radios, backpacks, heavy duty clothing and shoes, water storage devices, prepared food, first aid supplies and books about natural hazard planning and self-reliance. Plan B will not stock or ship products. Providers and manufacturers will prepare copy and visuals for the Plan B shopping page. The manufacturer will handle warehousing, billing and shipping. The manufacturer will manage returns.
Plan B will carefully craft our sales language to protect ourselves from any legal action. Product suggestions are offered as a convenience and not an endorsement. A statement will be crafted to indemnify Plan B against all legal fees, damages and other expenses.
Government Resources and News Page
Plan B is disconnected from panic. Users visit Plan B to educate and empower themselves. In order to stay informed about natural hazards locally – and in the larger world – Plan B provides natural hazard news feeds. We will aggregate and curate news stories from various online sources including United States Geological Service (USGS), national news outlets, content specific agencies and Google Alerts. The goal is to create a mostly automated and hands-free news feed page. Development of this page depends on WordPress flexibility, compatibility and available plugins and widgets related to managing content feeds. If possible this page will harvest and embed videos from YouTube and Vimeo and possibly link to a branded Plan B page on either or both of those sites.
Community or Bulletin Board Page
Plan B builds community. It’s a natural outgrowth from users visiting the Plan B site and discovering resources, asking questions, sharing answers and building understanding. The Plan B Community Page is robust and flexible. Is it a blog? Is it a database? It’s some part of each. Ideally, Plan B community members complete their Natural Hazard Worksheets online and develop a digital Tool Box or Plan Book for their unique needs and location. Users will have the option of keeping their Plan Book private or may share parts or all of it with their Plan B community. In order to protect brand and control access Plan Books cannot be shared with the general public. This option requires further thought. Users might want to share their info with a wider public and it might be a good way to grow Plan B. However I don’t want to give away the Plan B Worksheets for free.
Plan B Planning Tool Box or Plan Book: Worksheets Page
Posts shared during the first six months of the site will introduce users to Plan B Planning Tools and Worksheets. Each of these instruments will be a PDF available for user download. Users will first encounter specific worksheets while reading a related post. Live links within the post will let users click on and view each worksheet. The worksheets will be available in the “Plan B Tool Box” or “Work Book” page. It will display the worksheets I used to create my plan as an example for users to create their own. Each registered Plan B user will have their own Tool Box/Work Book page to store, organize and use their worksheets.
- How Much and How Long?: How to Estimate Duration of Emergency and Amount of Supplies Required (This will be the first form. It explains Plan B’s unique message – a 72-hour plan is a plan that doesn’t work. You need to have a one-month plan.)
- Food and Nutrition
- Water and Sanitation
- First Aid
- Clothing and Rugged Weather Gear
- Tools and Supplies
- Power and Electricity: Generators, Solar Rechargers, Other Recharge Options
- Understanding Utilities: Gas, Electricity, Water
- Fire Suppression: Fire Extinguishers and Fire Fighting Tips
- Family Emergency Plan: A shared “contract” reviewed each year
- Practice Makes Perfect: Making Emergency Drills Fun
- Family Business: Important Papers, Family Photos, Heirlooms, Inspiration, Fun
- Creating a Communication Network: Family/Friends, Local/National
- Planning for Your Pets
- Twitter to the Rescue: 140 Characters You Can Depend On
- Social Media and Natural Hazards Planning
- Building Community: Growing Skills, Trust and Self-Reliance
- Working Together is a Pain in the Ass: Managing Small Group Relationships and Expectations
- Hiking Out: Map Reading Skills, Wayfinding
- Making Your Home Safe and Sound: Preparing your house or apartment thoughtfully
- On the Road: What to do If You’re Traveling or In Your Car
Plan B About Page
I’ve written this page several times and I’m still not sure that I’m getting it right. This page tells my story. It explains why I’m interested in planning for natural hazards. I will talk about growing up on the Massachusetts coast and experiencing blizzards, nor’easters and wild weather. I’ll discuss my earthquake experience and the feelings I had when friends suffered during severe earthquakes thousands of miles away from where I lived.
My story explores how over the last few years I’ve become interested in taking responsibility for my own safety and that I’ve realized I don’t want to be rescued – I want to rescue myself and become self-reliant. I may also explore the connections between my need for community, beginning to attend the Unitarian Universalist Church because I’m interested in social justice and creating communities that care for everyone.
I’d like the About Me page to be a feature page as well. Generally this page is static and doesn’t get much use. What elements could be included on this page to make it more interesting?
If the page is called “About” then it might also be a place to learn details about natural hazard planning. Facts, figures and numbers, biggest earthquake, tallest wave – demographics and statistics could find a home on this page. For instance, to date FEMA has distributed $669 million dollars in Public Assistant grants to various local, state and tribal governments and eligible non-profits.
I want my message to be authentic and clear. However, I don’t want my About Page to be an overly emotional confession or rant. I need to find the right balance between sharing an engaging story and scaring off my users.