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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.

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Happy New Year! Plans for 2016

written by amnesiac84 - 2015/12/30 16:42

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Outcomes GA2015 and New BoD

written by amnesiac84 - 2015/11/24 21:21

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Coming up: General Assembly 2015

written by amnesiac84 - 2015/11/04 22:32

Every year, BeVolunteer, the mother organisation behind BeWelcome, organises a General Assembly (GA). This year, the GA takes place in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Saturday November 7 and Sunday November 8.

 

Who joins this GA?

Theoretically, everyone could join the General Assembly. In reality, a part of the active members of BeVolunteer comes together. Some members chose to follow the GA and participate online. Although everyone may join, only active members can participate in discussions and vote on certain topics.

 

What's the purpose of a GA?

The main purposes of the GA are to control the Board of Directors (BoD): they have to send out both an annual and financial report, which will be checked by the members of BeVolunteer. In the end, at least 3 members should receive a mandate to form a new BoD, which is the executive organ of BeVolunteer for a period of a year.

 

If needed, important topics are discussed and agreed or voted upon. This is where some decisions can be made, for example on official documents, future strategies or the budget for next year. Those topics are so important to BeWelcome, that a decision should not be left to the small number of Directors. This is one of the reasons why it's highly unlikely that BeWelcome ever gets sold: it would need a 3/4th majority of active members of BeVolunteer.

 

Why can't I decide over those topics?

You can! BeWelcome tries to include all opinions, and where possible, let members participate in decisions. However, to not risk a hostile takeover or influence, the most fundamental decisions are taken by the volunteers working on BeWelcome. The idea behind this is that those members who care about BeWelcome so much that they dedicate their time to volunteering and running BeWelcome on a day-to-day basis, decide about the way BeWelcome takes.

 

Every member of BeWelcome can volunteer and become a member of BeVolunteer. Then you can participate on decisions in the General Assembly or candidate for a role in the BoD.

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Who are the BoD?

written by amnesiac84 - 2015/09/27 18:04

Everyone can find the basic information about the Board of Directors (BoD) of BeVolunteer and what it does. Not so many have actually encountered one of the board members to get an idea of who they are.

That's why the board decided to interview themselves, as active members of BeWelcome, to show the persons behind this entity. If you have any interesting questions to ask the board, feel free to write them here!

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