The department of the Association of Hispanist's is a professional association of academics and researchers working in all areas of Hispanic Studies across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Ireland. The Association of Hispanist's represent a very diverse discipline, in terms of both geographical coverage as well as objects of study. As an association we promote research and advanced study in all areas, and represent the interests of our scholarly community at an national and international level.
This project was handled in several different meetings. One for project scope, one for design and one for development. Each of the meetings took place at the University with Mike and his AOH team. The association had an older site that had been built by mike himself. Something that was very basic built in HTML tables but most certainly had done them the job for the three and a half years they had been using it for
The old website also came with a very large database of registered hispanist users which were stored in a Microsoft access database, so this is also something else that we had to contend with when it came to redesigning and developing the website. The website and database were two separate products which needed to be merged together in some way into the new website.
Myself and a colleague had several meetings to discuss converting the access database to SQL, which did have several challenges. As a designer and developer I knew it was important to get these challenges ironed out from the off and be up front to the client on these challenges and how it is best to over come them. As for design and development, well this was all documented and handed to the board to finalise before work started on the design's and functionality.
The best part of this project was freedom. The association had given us a great colour palette to work with for the new website and because they still had the old site we knew the exact content and exact features they wanted to built into the new website. At the end of this project post you can see a visual of the old website, and a visual of the new website.
As well as a redesign of the website, I was also was given the job of re branding the website. This is not something I normally handle but did have a close contact in Vic Bell who is an excellent illustrator. Vic was given a specification for the re brand and without and doubt she came up with an incredible re brand for the Association of Hispanists.
The development stage for this website was quite complex. The new website was built on a Wordpress content management system with a custom integrated login system built in PHP to manage association memberships and sign ups. The whole custom system is manageable by the website administrator and at this point in time (April 2015) holds over 1,000 association members. All data from the Microsoft Access database was exported and converted to SQL, ready to import into the newly built database system. The custom user area adopts a strong cryptographic algorithm for tight security as the custom built user area contains a lot of personal membership data.