I’m sure most people recognize a Rubik’s Cube when they see one. It’s a six-sided puzzle game with nine colored stickers on each side. These colored stickers are moved to different positions on the cube when the face of the cube is rotated. The goal is to get each side to be all one color of stickers.
Like so many others (there have been over 350 million Rubik’s Cubes sold), I worked for countless hours as a child to figure out how to solve this puzzle. In many ways, launching 7hills’ new website had a lot in common with playing with a Rubik’s Cube:
While there are varied ways to solve the cube’s puzzle, it always was most effective for me to work column-by-column until I’d solved it. In much the same way as solving the cube puzzle, this website was like “eating the proverbial elephant one bite at a time.” Hundreds of hours of writing, photography, design work, and coding went into this site, but column-by-column we have gotten it this far.
Solving a Rubik’s Cube is often done side-by-side (in other words, in stages), you can’t move on to the next side/stage until you complete the current side/stage. We have completed enough stages on the website to make it public. Certainly there is more to complete, several board member’s pictures still need to be captured, the “donate,” “social media,” and “volunteer” tabs are not yet complete, but we do have some basic information there. That said, we have a site that tells our 7hills story from a unique and easily understood perspective, and I’m very proud of our team’s work in getting it to this stage.
When you rotate the face on a Rubik’s Cube a few times the arrangement of the stickers will look drastically different than before you made those moves. Each action and the evaluation of that action’s effects on your progress in solving the puzzle, greatly impact the choices that you make. This website had several different starts and stops; in fact, we designed three other completely different sites that were total flops before we landed on this design. We learned from the wrong moves we made in our first three website attempts, whereas the correct moves we made on those sites helped us design the site you see.
In order to solve the Rubik’s Cube puzzle, you sometimes have to make things temporarily worse by scrambling the colors on the cube’s stickers in order to ultimately make it better and unify the colors on an entire side. It was easy for us to be stuck in a rut and be content with our old website. There was always something else pressing to get done, and the website took a back seat in terms of priority. We were not happy with the old site, but not quite uncomfortable enough to risk putting out a website that was (design-wise) temporarily worse in order to get the function that we need. We’ve suffered through the process, learned from it, and are excited to hear your feedback on our new website!
I still remember the first time that I solved the Rubik’s Cube: I was at my grandparent’s house over summer vacation. The time, effort, and strategy needed made me proud of my accomplishment as a young boy. It changed my attitude about enjoying puzzles. As you explore our website, I hope it changes you. Find out more about who is homeless in our community and why, what 7hills does to help, and how you can join us in our mission.
A special THANKS goes to Brad Doss for the many volunteer hours and expertise that he continues to contribute to this project. We would also like to thank Ryan Riley for his help with some online forms he created for the site as well as many other volunteer projects he does for our technology needs.