A pastor in Pennsylvania approached me with an ambitious project. He and his wife were going to visit missionaries all over the world, give them Flip video cameras, and teach them how to set up a video blog about their experiences.
He hired a designer and we all met in PA to map out our ideas. I ran everyone through a few exercises to prioritize user groups and come up with the content they wanted for the main site. Then the designer went to work on the visual design for the main site.
I installed WordPress 3.0 and used the newly core multisite feature (formerly a separate product called WordPress MU) and we created networked blogs for each of the beta stage missionaries using a WordPress child theme of the main site’s theme.
YouTube Manager Plugin
The client was concerned that the upload video/blog process would be too complicated for non-technical users. I looked through the WordPress plugin repository but nothing I found was complete enough, so I built them a YouTube management plugin that allows them to upload their videos from inside of their WordPress blog account as seen in Figure 2.
In addition, the plugin allows the users to manage their videos from inside the site, deleting them or linking directly to the YouTube edit page for further editing, and to link a blog post to a specific video making that post a video post which is styled uniquely using CSS. Management and video selection are shown in Figure 3.
Responsive Design, Sort Of
The site also uses a semi-responsive design. The images and videos are flexible, but object and embed tags have a hard time scaling without adding strange horizontal bars to the video player at inconsistent times. I opted to hardcode the heights and let the widths expand at media query intervals. I think Ethan Marcotte calls this “switchy” (see also: his follow-up explanation).
At any rate, the site shrinks and expands to different resolutions, but it’s not fully mobile-ready as it isn’t built for mobile first, so any older mobile device that doesn’t understand media queries might have a difficult time with it.