Website

I’m curious as to who manages the main website to ask some questions.

I see a lot of potential and curious if I may be able to volunteer some of my expertise in web design and dev.

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Yes, please!

I can’t really say that anyone actually ‘manages’ the website currently. I occasionally fix things when they break, and every once in a while someone updates some of the information. Other than that I think it has largely been stagnant since it was deployed ~5 years ago.

I am fairly familiar with our system so I can probably answer some of the questions you might have and get you hooked up with any access you might need.

I can see that it’s wordpress, the host and registrar are google. I can do a lot with this main site. The third party wild apricot and forum would probably require a bit more effort.

I’ll give it some thought, I can make a demo site to have people scope out. I’m open to hearing suggestions or ideas for a new site.

For some street cred, here are a few local sites I coded recently (all design credit goes to my talented coworkers)…

https://2ndsatict.com/


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The main issues I have with the current site:

  • Doesn’t scale well to mobile devices
    • Certain elements run off the page
    • The pages that embed other sites (like the calendar page) are especially bad.
    • You can’t dismiss the menu after you open it
  • It can be hard for people to find important information
    • Not sure if it’s just not organized well or if we have too much information (or too little). UI design is definitely not a strong point of mine.
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I think the forum is pretty solid, but if we wanted to theme it to be consistent with the website that might be nice. It is open source and very customizable, so we could do pretty much whatever we want with it.

Wild Apricot on the other hand is probably much more difficult to work with. I haven’t really messed with their site editor at all, but based on what I’ve read from other users it’s a pain to use. There is the option of doing a custom frontend and accessing WA’s database using API calls, but that would definitely be a bit of work. I am currently working on re-writing the software for our badge system and I’m considering making an attempt to implement the features we currently use WildApricot for (member management, billing, and events). In that case we could make it look however we want, but I’m still evaluating whether or not that is feasible.

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I agree on your suggestions, responsive is pretty necessary.

I have some ideas how the membership/payment could be integrated and managed from the same wordpress website perhaps using buddypress and woocommerce which start off free but we may run into a feature we want that is premium and it’d add some overhead in the cost of the website.

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@heathernew09 thanks for stepping up.

Hey heather! I do a lot of website updates here and there. I will admit our main page lacks a bit so I’d welcome new ideas - maybe we can work on a login for you. There is so much on the website it gets lost sometimes.

We pay a LOT of money for wildapricot. Like, $160/mo or something, I’d have to check. It makes us sad. But we haven’t found anything else better to track all our members, handle class registrations and payments, etc. plus we’re scared if we asked 400 members to switch where they pay we’d lose some. So we feel held hostage. I would love to talk alternatives though.

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Wow, that seems excessive, its not even a mobile friendly portal. I do believe I could help keep that money in the organization.

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This might be industry jargon but do we have a brand standard for colors/logo usage? I generated these colors from the logo, curious if these are the ones to use in the design.

58%20AM

The logo guidelines are here: http://makeict.org/wiki/Logo_and_branding
The display is kind of messed up, but all the files are good.

WildApricot is actually on the low end of the stand-alone membership management software that we’ve looked at. I did start evaluating some WordPress options that looked interesting.

I started on a spreadsheet to compare necessary features between different software options. This list is not complete, but should give you an idea:
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1HFkM51RMfQJhEeNDYF1tQeEGU5H5njm97pAL8uw1o6Q/edit?usp=sharing

Exactly what I was looking for, thank you Christian! I requested access to the google doc, my email is heathernew09@gmail.com

Woops, you should be able to see it now.

The money we pay to Wild Apricot is really for the membership management capabilities. It does include some limited web capability, but keeping track of payments, classes, and memberships is where its utility lies for us. If we were do get rid of WA, we’d still need to replace it with an entire back-end for handling all of the aspects of running an organization with paid memberships and classes. It is our intention to replace WA with something else at some point, but we’ll either need to find an off-the-shelf replacement that is suitable, or write our own backend, which isn’t trivial. We have a number of members capable of writing a database-driven backend, but few of us have the ability to donate the hundreds to thousands of hours it would take.

Too true at one point there was domesticated apricot. But the impression I got was a volume that was sufficiently small enough to be cut by the incisors, but was too large for a continued dental process.

There are a number of people wanting to learn the tools needed, it almost seems like a part by part replacement plan could be enacted.

Sorta don’t build the car, build the parts approach. I can program popup error messages in tkinter with an above 50% success rate.

Makes sense, I worked on a project that was similar a few years ago that was for an organization who hosted events that could be registered for and payments accepted it allowed reoccuring charges for membership dues, had individual profiles that listed events etc. and certain content was private to members only. I generally take the off the shelf options and customize further. I’m in the process of researching to make recommendations, see what it would take and what costs may arise meanwhile considering the ease of use for members as well as the people managing the portal.

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…you have officially lost me

James speaks English, he just uses different encoding than most folks. I think he’s saying that at one time we had started on a project to replace Wild Apricot with our own homebrew software, and we had been calling the project Domesticated Apricot. Since it is such a huge undertaking, no one person can be expected to write it all, but we’d be better off splitting it into functions, tackling them in small chunks.

Is that even close, James?

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Yeah, if you understand more than half of what James says that’s a sign that you need get your head examined. :upside_down_face:

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Ahhhh, thank you for the translation.

I have a plan, I’ll split it out into two phases to be more manageable.

  1. Main website - design > prototype > test > modify > take live
  • This is the easier part, we have a lot of great content on the current site to work with it just needs a facelift and some design help to reflect the awesomeness of this organization. The navigation is pretty clear and probably doesn’t need to change much.
  1. Membership site - add into the prototype/development site > test > modify > test again > then take live
  • This is where the integration fun begins, a lot of very important details will need to be accounted for.

At this time, I think the best route to take would be wordpress, use buddy press for the membership portion, in conjunction with woocommerce for processing payments mostly because I’m familiar with each of these after vetting through options and using them in the past. (I will revisit it more again to make sure it’s still best fitting solution as phase 2 begins)

Possible Costs:

  • Woocommerce premium plugins, the base woocommerce is free, add-ons are usually a one time fee
  • BuddyPress is also free but operates in the same manner, the base is free, add-ons for some features may add cost

Some Requirements:

  1. Some sort of merchant middle man like authorize.net or paypal, they take a % of processing with special rates for non-profits
  2. Looks like we already have SSL in site so thats good, encrypting it is definitely a security must
  3. Online Privacy, we probably need to look at a customized privacy policy and way of removing user content upon request to comply with GDPR and protecting users data

When I get functionality pieces in, I will probably need some volunteers to help with content population and data entry, but that can be addressed when we get there. We can also come up with a migration plan for current members to the new system when it gets closer to the finish line.

I work pretty fast, and this is a beast that I find exciting and challenging at the same time. I’ll track my time and take note of questions I have as I go. I find its best to have website discussions when people can actually see something so my next step is to work on a design and / or prototype for phase 1.

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