Responsive Web Design

Trinidad and Tobago has a thriving Expat community, and members frequently network to help each other as they adapt to living in a foreign country. The client had successfully administered two Facebook groups, the first being a marketplace where members could list and buy used cars, furniture, household items etc., and the second being a platform where members could request and refer housekeepers, nannies, handymen and so on. Over the years, membership grew exponentially, and the client decided to incorporate both groups via a website, as administration was becoming very time consuming. The client needed a website that would function as both a marketplace and a forum for the expat community.

Research and Analysis
The website would need to be replicated for any countries the client’s family would be relocated to in the future.
The client intended to administer the website herself, so CMS functionality had to be incorporated.
In addition to the forum and marketplace, the client also wanted to use the site to provide information on real estate, education, shopping, dining and leisure activities.
The client wanted to generate some form of income to cover the costs of building and maintaining the site.
Technical Solutions
I decided that a WordPress enabled website would be the best fit, given the client’s budget and brief.
The website is responsive, and was successfully cross-platform tested on various devices.
Because the client intends on administering the site, minimal graphics were used, focus is given to the wealth of information available on the site. CMS capabilities were coded into the site.
The site incorporates the following features:
Membership Access: users are required to register and create an account before they can access the site. This was done to discourage spamming and to allow administration to monitor members who don’t conform to usage guidelines.
Marketplace: members are allowed to post/search ads for various categories. Ads can be posted using images, text, and each listing is comment enabled. Members can also private message the buyer/seller. Ads are set with expiry dates.
Business Listings: Members can post information and reviews of businesses and services they recommend. There are over 30 main categories, and administration can easily add/edit/delete any category or listing. Once a recommendation has been posted, other members can also add their reviews and experiences to the post.
Group Forum: Members can post topics and comment on threads. Members can also form closed groups for private conversations. All threads except private are searchable.
Event Calendar: Members can post/search events. Users post an upcoming event via an adaptable form. All events have a date tag so they are automatically deleted when they expire. The events use google maps for ease of reference.
Advertising Opportunities: In order to generate income from the site, there are ad spaces. Advertisers fill out an online form with all their information and submit an ad graphic. Payment is generated through Paypal, and once approved, the ad is featured using rotating banners on the site. Ads can be tagged to appear on related content pages.
Design and Layout Solutions
Since this is an external content driven site, a minimalist design was used, with focus on information rather than graphics.
Navigation is simple and straightforward. All the bells and whistles happen on the backend of the website.
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