If you have visited the YPARD website this week, you will notice a new look to the site.If you haven't, I am referring to the look above.
The reason for this new look is an upgrade of the YPARD website content management system from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. Despite being solely a website upgrade, we have done some few adjustments on the site to make it more responsive and user friendly. But before we dwell into the details of the new changes, here are the two-fold reasons for the upgrade.
Why the Upgrade?
The YPARD website operates on the Drupal content managemnet system (CMS). For a long time, we were using the Drupal 6 version whose lifespan, unfortnately, came to an end in February 2016. This has resulted to the some website security issues as well as a bunch of outdated features that were not able to reflect the dynamic nature of today's online communications.
If this is still unclear, let me graphically break down these reasons;
Reason #1 To deal with the spam issues
Given that the lifespan of Drupal 6 ended last year, our continued use of the same version brought with it a lot of security issues. On average we had twenty spam users registering and posting on the website. The numbers clicked a note higher during the weekends and hence, we had to develop a joint task force to clean and delete these spams on a daily basis as their continued presence on the website could lead to the website crashing. Thumbs up to the YPARD communications team for the diligent work you did cleaning the spams. You rock!
The Drupal 7 version comes with added security features which means that the website is free from spam up to a certain point unfortunately. We are exploring more options to curb spam users on the YPARD website.
Reason #2 Responsive design
Drupal 6 version was released way back in 2008. Back then, the features were adapted to the websites of that time period. As a result, the inital website was not fully optimized for the handheld devices and some features would not display well on the handheld devices. We reckon that most of the YPARD members log in from different devices and as such , we owe it to them to have a platform that allows them to log in from wherever they are and from whichever devices they are using at the moment.
But, that is not all. Let's look at the some of the features that the upgraded website comes with;
The profile completion
As soon as you log in, on the left hand side, the website will display a percentage based on the level of completion on your YPARD profile. The ideal level is a 100% . Please fill in all the stipulated fields so as to get to the 100% level. To complete your profile, you can either click on the fill my missing fields page or the tab my page.
My CONTENTS page
My CONTENTS gives you a snapshot of all the materials be it news, blogposts, events, jobs and funding opportunities that you have published on the YPARD website. It also shows you if there are any materials that you are yet to publish as a contributor to the site. Additionally, you can create new content be it news, opportunities, blogpost or event by clicking on the tabs on the right hand side.
The published content
Every published posts not only shows the author but also the author country and the YPARD objective that the post lies on. This helps in categorizing posts into different countries and nodes. You can see more of this by clicking on each published posts.
The visible tags
These are located towards the end of each content type. They help in aggregating content dependent on various keywords hence making it easier to navigate related content. Additionally, this improves the ranking of the website on the search engines.
Call for participation on the opportunities section
The initial call for papers was too broad and at times confusing. Currently, it has been replaced with a call for participation and this tab features any opportunities that don't lie in the jobs and funding categories.
The new feature clearly distinguishes resources that you can download from the website versus the read only resources e.g monthly newsletters
We hope that the upgraded website will serve you better and have ease in navigating iot wherever you all. Also feel free to channels in any comments or observations you might observe.