Leslee Mahoney was born and raised on the island of Maui. She graduated from King Kekaulike High School in June 2009 with valedictorian honors. She will be a sophomore this fall at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. While Leslee is planning to major in Management, she also intends to focus on the fields of environmental studies and Web design. During her free time, Leslee enjoys creating websites, bike riding, and spending time with family and friends at the beach.
Home Island: Maui
High School: King Kekaulike High School
Institute when accepted: Gustavus Adolphus College
A Tsunami of Information: Organizing and Enhancing the PDC’s Natural Hazard Web Content
Project Site: Pacific Disaster Center
Mentor: Christina Finch
When the state of Hawai‘i issued a tsunami warning in February 2010, the Pacific Disaster Center’s (PDC) website (www.pdc.org) received more than 20,000 hits—far more than expected. The high level of traffic ultimately crashed the site, and a subsequent assessment of the existing website identified problem areas across the site. The “Resources” tab, which links to detailed information about natural hazards, had multiple problems such as old content, inconsistent organization, and difficult navigation. The goal of this project is to improve the “Resources” section in three ways: (1) develop the “More Information” links for each hazard type; (2) research and gather information on Hawaii’s natural hazard history; and (3) create sample webpages that organize the new content effectively. After familiarization with the current PDC site, research for the “History” and “More Information” sections was compiled from professional organizations such as FEMA, USGS, and NOAA. Adobe Dreamweaverwas used in combination with cascading style sheets (CSS, a Web-design language) to develop a set of eight interactive sample webpages. Since CSS-styled webpages require less code and load faster than HTML tables, CSS was used to build a model of the proposed PDC website redesign. This simplified version contains new organizational ideas for the “History” content, such as using interactive timelines that display links and enlarged pictures. The webpages also include a short summary of each historic event and source all content, so that users and educators can obtain more information. The sample site’s design and/or content may be used in the final PDC website redesign.