Dear e-voice community
I have just started working for an organisation called SoCAN (Southampton Climate Action Network) www.sotoncan.org.uk and getting to grips with their website which is built/ hosted using e-voice. The main function of the website is a directory of organisations/ businesses and projects that support Southampton becoming a more sustainable city and help the fight against climate change. Part of my job is to improve the accessibility of the website.
The list of organisations, businesses and projects are at the moment just listed on simple website pages that are categorised into different headings. On these pages we hand type the information, which is obviously quite laborious particularly keeping all the pages updated. There also isn’t any way of searching an organisation, business or project you have to trawl through the different pages/ information.
I’m not that familiar with e-voice yet, so I wondered if more experienced e-voice community members could help with a few questions linked to the above:
- Are there any existing website templates that include a database? Or is this something we would need to commission bespoke?
- Can you set-up a form on that would allow our users to create their own entry on our website for their organisation, business or project? We would need to review the entry, but once accepted then the entry could go straight on the site without us having to enter the information. Again is there an existing template for this or would we have to commission it bespoke?
Would be grateful for any information.
There's no built-in general database that you can use right now - but that doesn't stop us thinking about it!
I see that you're currently using CMS pages for this, though currently with one page per category, within each category it's a bit of a mess, and there's no way for entries to be in multiple categories. This can easily be improved just using the CMS.
By using content categorisation, and one page per entry, each entry could have:
- A picture (optionally)
- One or more Categories
This would make the whole thing much prettier and easier to use/manage, and it'd be easily searchable (though there's the initial faff of adding all the existing items as individual pages!).
However this doesn't support having users submit entries directly into the directory - it would require an admin to do this.
To make submission easier, you could create a form using the Surveys app with all the relevant fields (including an image) and embed it onto a page, and have the public submit things via this, which would then be easy for you to add into the directory.
If you want to have a go with this, then I can give you a hand getting it initially set up - let me know!
The idea of a general "directory of things" app is something we've mulled over but not created. It could take the better bits from the Classifieds/Jobs/Useful Links apps and let you create generalised listings, in categories, that can be searched/filtered, and also allow members to add new entries (as they can with the photo album and events calendar etc). It would require interest from a few groups to make this worthwhile creating "free" for the community. Though if you are in a position to commission it then I'd of course be happy to discuss it further!
Another thought - if you wanted to have a more detailed entry for each business, you could use the Contact Information includelet on each listing page, which shows a map with the location and all the contact details nicely formatted.
Again, this is a bit of effort to add initially - though once you've created the first one you can Copy/Paste to create new pages and just update the details.
Thank you for your comprehensive response to my query around databases. I particularly like the Refugee Advocacy Forum example where you can have contact information and a map.
If we were to commission a database with search facility + form that our members could fill out how much would this cost?
We don't have very much budget but it would be useful to know how much something like this might cost.
Otherwise, I might need to take you up on your offer of help to get initially started using some of the examples you provided.
We can talk off-forum about costs, though to develop a fully customisable and searchable database facility is likely to be beyond the budget of a single group :-/
If you're keen to go ahead with the CMS based approach, like the Resource Hub and Members directory mentioned above, then I'm happy to give you a bit of help to get started.
If you're OK with it, I could create a section on your website with an example listing which you could then add to. (or I could send you some details about how to create this yourself)
Joe - Voice admin
So sorry for not replying sooner its been a busy month of delivering events. It would be wonderful to get your help with the database. Happy to try the CMS based approach like the Resource Hub and Members directory. If you can give me some help that would be great.
Best for now Katie