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Redesign of BeWelcome

written by amnesiac84 - 2016/01/17 12:45

A small team is focussing on redesigning the entire website since some months. The current design of BeWelcome.org is a couple of years old. In the recent past some small design changes have been made but most of the design didn't change for a long time. You might think that this is no problem as long as the site still works. But it is in some ways:

  • Our statistics show that more and more people use tablets or smartphones to access our website. This is very logical as we focus on travelling and mobile devices are what people use nowadays to connect when away from home. Our website does not look good on smaller screens and the functionality is not as good as on desktop computers. Some even say it is practically impossible to use BeWelcome on mobile devices.
  • The code and stylesheets are quite tangled up. Things might look good on the surface, but behind the curtains there is a bit of a mess. Therefore it is time to clean up some code and stylesheets and use more of the well-documented bootstrap to rewrite our pages.
  • Rewriting parts of the code (both front- and back-end, but we'll focus on the design part in this message) should lead to the pages loading faster. It is a commonly heard problem that BeWelcome takes a huge amount to load, and we admit it's annoying.
  • Rethink functionality: internet behaviour changes, so we have to see what our members want and serve it to them as obviously as possible. With the introduction of touchscreens, the functionality of websites changes as well. The redesign will not introduce new features but smartly use existing ones or alterate them to manage some basic problems.
  • We want to make the website more search engine friendly to the effect that we will be ranked higher in search results and more people who are interested in hospitality exchange will know about BeWelcome.

 

How far is the redesign?

This is not easy to answer. Already designed are the opening page, the landing page and most of the profile page. The textual pages get a short-term fix first, as well as the admin pages. We are taking care of the map search at the moment and prepare some long-requested functional changes. The navigation bar is more or less ready and will include a so called 'hamburger' to show more pages.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Some parts involve a change in back-end code or have to be connected with existing code, and some pages need a lot of attention for detail, which will take more time to work on. We expect to have the new design by the end of this year. We will keep the community informed about our progress. If you think you can contribute, things might go much quicker than planned!

 

Can I see a preview?

Yes and no. A (working) preview can be seen at alpha.bewelcome.org. The most recent changes might not be included and it can be still very buggy. Here are some screenshots of the work in progress:

 

The navigation bar

The dashboard/landing page

Profile page

Please note that those screenshots are just to give an impression. Some details might have been changed in the meantime already.

Comments

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Impressed

written by dandoen - 3 years ago (i)
Wow, I am very impressed!
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written by artep - 3 years ago (i)
Ooooh, neat. Thanks for keeping everyone in the loop. :-)
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written by wind - 3 years ago (i)
It looks great to me!!! Great work! When can we expect implementation? But still I would like the tab "Activities" to show first instead of "Forum".
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written by amnesiac84 - 3 years ago (i)
Implementation is planned end of the year, hard to say when we can really put it on the main site (tests will be available on alpha and beta).
The activities will most likely not be first, as in many cases it will show none to little activity. 'Forum' always has the latest messages, so it would always show something. Perhaps later on, people could adjust the dashboard page how they like, so individually you could then have activities shown first. First step however, is to design and write it all.
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sad

written by pavi - 3 years ago (i)
I thought this year I would login into the login page. I was told this would be Xmas gift.

I understand its mostly volunteer work. Is there a way for the community to help speed up?

Personally I think a new landing page would give a super boost to the Bewelcome activity.
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written by Jesus82 - 3 years ago (i)
The landing page is already in the oven, but we would like to hear suggestions for it. What do you think should appear in the landing page?

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