Custom Website for Uplift Iowa

The words "Uplift Iowa" inside the outline of Iowa


Uplift Iowa started as an Instagram account highlighting art by female, queer, trans, non binary and disabled artists across Iowa. It began as a way to promote performances and exhibitions for people who do not use Facebook, but Instagram lacked some key features for promoting events.

The operator of Uplift Iowa wanted a place where she could blog about local art and music, as well as keep a calendar of upcoming performances and exhibitions. I used PHP and CSS to develop and style a WordPress site that would serve these functions.

The Challenge

The goal of this project was to provide a full-featured platform for promoting local art. It had to have an easily editable calendar for upcoming events, as well as a blog and a way to display an Instagram feed.

It also needed to be accessible to people with disabilities, meaning extra attention to keyboard navigation, HTML structure and color contrast.

My Process

Since the client needed to be able to dynamically add and change content, I decided to create a WordPress site. I used Period by Compete Themes as a base for the site. It was developed with accessibility in mind, and offered a well structured starting point.

I created a child theme and used PHP to add and change templates in order to display the plugins. Using CSS, I ensured that all content added by me, my plugins or the parent theme had a cohesive look that matched Uplift Iowa’s aesthetic.

The main challenge in creating this site was creating a consistent look across different plugins, each of which had several different states. It was a challenge both to identify the states that required new styles, and then to figure out how to choose a specific enough CSS selector to override that item’s default.

It became easier as the project progressed, however. Since styles were shared between so many elements, I was able to add more selectors to pre-existing styles. This served the secondary purpose of keeping my CSS clean and well-ordered.

The Result

The finished product is a sharp looking, accessible art and music blog. It offers the client a blogging platform, event calendar, and a front page with a live updating Instagram feed.

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