Associative Trails

Old Arupians Community Website (2019)

Freshening community fellowship

A thorough refresh of one of our most venerable and successful projects. Now fully responsive and even easier to use.

This vibrant community of retirees continues to use the website as the focal point of their social relationships with ex-colleagues. They also enjoy keeping tabs on their successors' attempts to continue their legacy.

The challenge

Our original community website for the Old Arupians had done fine work for 12 years, but the time was right for an update.

In consultation with the client, we decided to retain much of the functionality of the original system. They also wanted to ensure that their investment in a new website would ensure it was low-cost to host and easy to maintain in the future.

Interface-wise, a complete rewrite of the front-end to improve the visual design and make it responsive would ensure it was usable across a broad range of devices.

Home page

The solution

An extended HTML prototyping process before the main development began allowed Old Arupians administrators a large amount of input into the visual and information design of key pages - something that then informed the rest of the system.

The client has a skilled team of administrators who were happy with the way the previous site worked - our focus was to present the existing information and workflows in a better way. We used the Bootstrap framework and a modular front-end coding approach to build a rich interface that is responsive across all screen sizes. Some functional enhancements (e.g. automatic thumbnailing of PDF newsletters, profile image cropping) allowed us add additional layers of gloss to the new interface.

The new system retains all of the rich functionality of the previous one, with some handy additions:

  • A sophisticated rich text editor to write page body text.
  • Granular administration privileges meaning author access can be restricted to certain sections of the system
  • Image cropping and optimisation
  • Automatic thumbnailing of PDF uplaods for gallery-style display
  • Gamification of profile completion - encouraging members to fill out their profiles more fully
  • Granular privacy of member profiles - users choose exactly what personal information is shared on the site
  • Event and RSVP management with bulk emailing
  • User subscriptions to new content email alerts
  • Weekly digest emails keeping members abreast of new content
Latest news RSVP management
Event page with RSVP list and member comments
Committee members

“I think this is a splendid piece of work... It's clean, intuitive and a fantastic resource for us elderly types. Bravo.”

The outcome

The hard work rewriting the entire system in open-source technologies was rewarded when the website went live. Hosting costs have dramatically reduced, and the range of hosting providers is much greater and more competitive. The site is currently hosted on Amazon Elastic Beanstalk, making it easily scalable and deployable with a single terminal command.

The new design has gone down well with users:

  • "I think this is a splendid piece of work... It's clean, intuitive and a fantastic resource for us elderly types. Bravo."
  • "New website is user friendly and offers great features."
  • "Congratulations to all for their hard work, it is much appreciated, much easier to navigate around."
Publicatoons with automated thumbnailing
Member profile Stock photo gallery

Technologies used

Python, Django, PostreSQL, Bootstrap, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Amazon Elastic Beanstalk, Jekyll (HTML prototype).

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