Along the way, a lot of static sites were produced that provided basic information, but lacked any significant benefit to visitors.
Since that time websites have been joined by blogs and many of the other social media platforms that compliment the information traditionally available through the .org or .com offerings.
Background to AMFAS and our website
When the AMFAS project started in late 2008 the original objective was a full-featured website that could answer all the questions people had and show all the available resources and options available to all military families, regardless of their perspective on care, their backgrounds or what service they are in. This was the first effort to try to do this monumental task, with the emphasis on total support for families, not special interest. This purpose was to emulate the selfless work Scott Campbell had provided for years helping families through briefings, Yahoo groups and others, without personal gain or notoriety. Look through archives of the AMFAS Update to see our transparency along the way.
In a very nontraditional fashion AMFAS was without a website for a long time. The original plan was to field the site by May 2009. A lot of challenges, from TDYs to PCS moves, deployments to personal family issues for the team (we are Autism Warriors just like you), further delayed development. Technology advanced, platforms upgraded many times, and information needs expanded. Use of blogs and Social Media became our focus while the site was stalled.
It was important to do it right and do it by military families, not just buy a site without personal investment in the project. The difference between AMFAS and other autism support organizations is that we do not use interns or contract out creation of the sites to outside agencies. Our families put their heart and soul into creating and maintaining something that we, ourselves use. Additionally, unlike other sites out there where you have to register, AMFAS will never use your personal information for commercial gain.
At the core of development was meeting our objective of the base resource; we developed the AMFAS Wiki, which was meant to be one part of the site. It went online in Feb 2010, delayed months by military issues. We’ll talk more about this in a review of the resource.
We were able to launch the new iteration of AMFAS.org on Veterans Day 11-11-11 at 11:11.11 p.m. and based on feedback took it offline before the New Year for some critical updates. We relaunched on March 28 as Phase I of the website schedule, focusing on initial operations. Subsequent large scale phase roll-outs will improve content, feedback, layout, graphics and connectivity options. As a Web 2.0 endeavor, we are constantly soliciting feedback and making changes as needed to update and improve support on the site.
The website is broken into several distinct sections that cohesively add to AMFAS’s mission of providing news, information, community and support to all military families dealing with ASD.
Major sections of the site include News, videos, Information, personal blogs, myAMFAS, Events listing, AMFAS Answers Question and Answer, AMFAS Groups, AMFAS Forum and finally the Worldwide Installation Resource.
There is a lot to the site and may be a bit overwhelming on first look. One thing for families visiting the site and feeling a bit intimidated: Don’t be! Jump right in and participate. This is your site and it was designed to support your needs. Every portion of the site has been made from real world experiences of our families and the types of questions and information our families are seeking. If something is missing, it won’t be for long.
You are AMFAS
You may be asking, “How can I contribute?” The simple answer is to participate in making it better. There are an abundance of areas, but the most important thing you can do is Register, post and participate. Also, if something is missing that you feel is important, please contact us to help add it. This is a collaborative effort to directly support. Remember, this site is about our families helping our families. We need to support each other and this is your vehicle to do it.
Over the next few posts we’ll highlight the various parts of the site and give some recommendations for how to get the most out of the experience
See our other Tour of AMFAS posts: