Global website overhaul

Hi folks, @danielle and I have been doing some initial mapping out of what a new global website might need to contain.

We suggest pruning out a HUGE amount of content and cross-linking between global site, Aus site, etc and other side sites e.g. dev.openfoodnetwork to just make one contained site.

Some types of content are more obvious than others in terms of whether they are needed, how they will be updated, etc. Those that particularly need more discussion are marked with * as being unclear on what we want to/have capacity to commit to as a global community.

One point to discuss at some point is tone - we have some reasonably ‘poetic’ text on our global site currently (eg the onion/holarchy sort of text) which we might like to rewrite in more Plain English - this make it clearer for translations as well. There are also some ambitious claims about software capability that we might want to pull back from (e.g. that our mobile experience is seamless) and go with something that’s positive but more realistic.

This google doc contains a first draft of the types of content we think should be included in the new global website. It also starts on the job of pointing to where we already have content that just needs to be placed in a new design, and for other content how often we are likely to need to update it.

It seems likely that part of the question will also be about UX and design, we haven’t yet started to think about that as much as it would be good to pin down a basic framework of what we want to include, prioritise.

Please feel free to add comments here or in the doc:

Some questions to consider as we think about redesigning this site:

  • Who is the audience for this site?
  • Are they repeat visitors or one-off discovery/triage?
  • What would you like to be most prominent on this site?
  • How much maintenance are we willing to commit to?
  • What’s missing?

Thanks for any thoughts!

Thanks @Jen for those first inspiring notes !

I commented on the doc but wanted to share some general thoughts here:

  • We need to keep in mind that when we will have only one single instance, we might not need a global website anymore, the info in the global website in my vision should be within the single platorm, that would be kind of new version nof the OFN website but without a differentiation between the “app” and the “info part”, they should be more entagnled within a single website. A bit like any big platform like Airbnb, you don’t need to go on one side to undertand what it is and another to use it…
  • but as we are not yet there we need a global website now, but closely linked with local “richer” websites.
    1- In local websites we need more “info content” pages that can be customized by local instances. Ideally when you deploy the OFN locally if should include a wordpress with some pages, ability to add pages, change pages contents and layouts for info pages like the landing page for instance (today we can only translate homepage and rediretc “about” section)
    2- In global website having info on:
    2.1- “about us” (the global team (+ contact details), the vision of the word we carry, our mission objectives an daily activities, our value, how we are organized as a global community (community pledge, OFN contributo handbook maybe, etc.), our story
    2.2- “the OFN software" (what it does today = existing features, the improvements done at the moment (roadmap), the future improvement we plan to add (product vision), the curation and prioritzation process we use to decide collectively about product evolution
    2.3- Why choosing OFN? (case studies, etc.)
    2.4- "find local community” '(interactive map of the world with differet colors depending on deployment stage, and when you click on a country you have link to local instance website but also main contact, facebook twitter, etc. + a page “don’t find one where you are? why not creating one? with ifo on how to launch a local community”)
    2.5- Our partners (i wouldn’t hide them into “about OFN”)
    2.6- Contribute
    2.7- Follow us (news & blogs? don’t see it clearly…)

I wouldn’t put anything about support which in the subsidiarity principle is the competence of local communities (like user guide, how to use the plateform, etc.)

For me the intention of that global website is to make what we do, why we do it, and how we do it clear for everyone, enable people to follow product evolution, attract conntributors, and redirect to local communities.

@Jen following our conversation today I made a quick drawing about how I see short term and long term organization around local vs global coms.

Would be great to have others views on it. And French team @nicolas @Rachel @Caroline let’s contribute to that conversation as this will definitely impact how we build our communication / website / content strategy.

Hi all, apologies that the the global site content has barely had a dent made it in it ( if interested in where it’s up to)

But it also feels like we ran into a few additional issues with current site plug-ins etc, and then we in Aus really ran up against the similar problem that Canada has faced, of needing a new instance site developed and finding it a bit unworkable. @tschumilas @maikel and I had a discussion re Canadian site which spawned a new idea for way forward on this for both global and instances, and would be interested in your thoughts on a new proposal.

Proposal: We hire a contract wordpress developer to create a wordpress theme for Open Food Network which allows us to revamp our global site and gives local instances flexibility to implement the theme (thus keeping sites somewhat consistent), but adapt more to their local needs.

Theresa has some $ to put to wordpress dev and is happy to spend it on developing a theme that meets Canadian and global needs and would be able to be picked up and adopted by any country with their own flexibility to change things.

Advantages are

  1. OFN-specific dev time is too unique and precious to waste on wordpress ( which has been an inhibiting factor for us here - we want to spend Maikel on platform dev not wordpress dev)

  2. there are lots of just-wordpress specialists and it’s probably quicker to use someone who has their head in wordpress all day everyday to do these types of tasks for us - they’ll be more across themes to adapt, etc.

  3. a theme would mean we don’t have as much reliance on plug-ins which lock us in, etc so probably more long-term option

  4. it would be good for us to have an allied freelancer who just got called in on wordpress on a semi-reliable basis

From our perspective as Aus, undertaking more consultancy work with small enterprises that need website help etc it would also be good to have a good wordpress dev in our network work with on small consultancy contracts that are aimed at getting enterprises totally set up online.

We discussed the wordpress dev working to a close brief on needing to give it longevity, and probably working with @maikel to ensure it’s fitting the technical brief.

What do others think? @NickWeir @MyriamBoure @MSFutureFarm @lauriewayne1 @luisramos0 (I’m not sure which instances are facing the same problem, so forgive additions and omissions)

Is everyone ok with this approach? Does anyone see a technical issue with it that we haven’t picked up? Is it ok if we build from the basic structures that we’ve discussed wanting and make it adaptable enough, or would people like more input further than previous discussions? Do others have a developer they’d put forward to do this work?

Sounds good. I have taken that decision of hiring a WP specialist in the past and let devs do what they know best. I will contact the freelancer I have hired back then, maybe he will be available to help.

I also think it sounds like a good plan, hiring a WP dev. You have probably already thought of this, but one thing I have run into with my other non-profit is getting locked into paid themes & page editors after we paid someone to develop the site. Since we want everyone to be able to use it we’ll want to make sure the dev does not create the theme using licenses that require an annual paid license as this could be an impediment to new instances without funding.


So - what’s the best way to move forward and develop a project description and recruit someone? @Jen - could you help me write up a project description to post? I’m pretty clear on what Canada needs done - but I want to make sure its done in a way that benefits the whole community. BUT - I really need this done - end of January. Is that doable?

I don’t have anything substantial to add except my gratitude that this is on the radar. If there is a short-term interim task before a big overhaul to get our current sites to the point where pages can be edited and updated, even better.

Rightio. I went out to a wordpress developer recommended by @Kirsten to see if we were on the right track with our request, here’s what his opinion was:

It’s probably not worth creating a custom theme for the scale of websites that we’re talking about. If we did want to do that it would cost around $3-4k. He has stopped doing this for people because he thinks it’s not worth doing for most customers, as realistically we are likely to want to change a website design every few years anyway, and he hasn’t seen it result in any greater longevity for companies.

He instead recommended building it using Divi. This would cost around $1k (ballpark, more detail needed to scope fully). Because we would be using a theme and a page builder from the same company, it should be more stable/longer-term than the previous solution we had (from my understanding of what we previously had) but realistically we should just be planning to update this sort of stuff more often, say every 2-3 years. We could get a developer license for around $90/yr or Glenn said we could just use his.

He recommended Divi because it’s drag and drop design which should be reasonably intuitive for users all over the world. He also said he recommends it because he judges it to be a very stable company.

The process would be that we would develop a brief, considering what functionality we want, what current plug-ins we’ve installed (and why), what do we want it to sync with (e.g. eventbrite), how many page templates we want, etc. If we have examples of websites we like that’s helpful.

He recommended designing it in a way that graphic design elements are incorporated as much as possible into images placed within the template so that they can be easily switched in and out without needing to tweak the template. This would hopefully make it easier to change up design, and to switch in whatever look each instance wants.

@tschumilas he would be able to take on the work if you’re interested, and could get things done by January if we move quickly and were quick to turn things around over the next few months (and he’d be happy to work with you and @AmandaW remotely). There would also be webinar training included in the package he’d normally offer so that internationally we could all be up to speed. Obviously we could also undergo the same brief development process and you could find someone more local to you who you wanted to work with.

What do others think of this as a suggested way forward? It’s a shift from the original theme idea, do we want to approach another developer and get their perspective on the original theme suggestion? Does anyone have someone they’d recommend for that?

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sounds like a good plan to me - but a couple of questions for others. Does this mean we would no longer be using wordpress or another open source solution? (I had the feeling that as a community we favoured open source solutions.) Is this a problem? Second - would this mean that the pages that host the code (ie: where the platform is hosted – the marketplaces) would appear different from pages that introduce the project, link people to our global project, share resources & research… ? (In Canada for ex we are thinking of a set of pages that are about OFN - the community and the project, which link to a ‘secondary’ page that hosts OFN - the platform. Is this project about re-building both? or just the non-platform pages? (So sorry if I’m not being clear here - I’m just not sure I understand how the platform is currently ‘entangled’ with wordpress…). @maikel - your opinion here would be valuable.
(And OFN-CAN would be happy to work with this person/firm - esp if we are thinking others might want to be part of this in the future. )

  1. No, it would still be using Wordpress. Divi operates within that as a theme and page builder, whereas at the moment we have other versions like Fusion doing a similar thing.

  2. It wouldn’t be any different to the interaction we have now, where we can make the wordpress and platform look as similar or different as we want. My assumption would be that we want them to look coherent and as a single website but there are numerous ways to make that feel like the case - I think it’s more just about the visuals that get designed in. There’s still the challenge that we’ve previously discussed about limitations on how many top menu items for wordpress sections of the site can be added into the platform section, and I don’t think (but should check) that top menu items in the platform are able to have drop-down menus like your current design.

The project has morphed a little as we’ve gone, so to sum up my understanding:
This project is just about rewriting the wordpress global site to be very clear about the global project, unclogging the mess of it so that each country is hosted on their own site where appropriate and there’s less sitting under the global site (where people currently get lost between global and instance sites as they’re awkwardly redirected around).

In doing that we came up against the big snag that instances need to shift content off onto their own wordpress sites, and there is no easy to implement, visual/brand-cohesive way to do that - as Canada is finding. It should be easier to do that, and it should be something that we make a part of what we offer as part of setting up an instance of OFN. Therefore, if we can have a design created which is cohesive but has a range of templates that suit different needs (e.g. a picture-splash home page like we have now, or a text info home page like what OFN UK are essentially using now by directing people to their about page instead of their home page) then we can have a much slicker web presence at global and instance level, at which point we can post the new global content! In the meantime, things have broken on the global site that mean we can’t just easily rewrite content within the existing structure, so it’s even more important to put some simple new structure in that doesn’t have as many obsolete plug-ins, page builders, etc that are blocking us from changing things.

Is that clearer?

Sounds fantastic to me. How should we proceed? Write up some terms outlining the deliverables we expect and then getting a quote? Best way to do this? who else wants to be involved?

@danielle had some thoughts on next steps in terms of process, I believe. Did you want to chime in Danni?

this is exciting. yay. That’s all I have to say :wink:

@Jen @tschumilas There is one possible pitfall in the page builder solution. Is that rough quote of $1k to build the design in one Wordpress instance? I’m asking because a theme is very easy to share and copy to other websites, but something created with a page builder can’t be copied easily. So if we pay $1k for Canada and $1k for Australia and $1k for Global and any other instances then it becomes much more expensive. We have a special case here that we would like to share the design between multiple websites. Most Wordpress sites are build for only one client.

Hi guys, I have talked about this to a contact of mine who knows WordPress. I contacted him and he seems to be interested. If you still need help with this let me know so I can talk to him.

Jen - could we take @maikel’s comment into consideration and prepare a brief description of the work to be completed that makes it clear we are looking for a template that is not only built for a single client - but can be replicated and tailored as needed across instances?


I’m Luis’s contact and a long time Wordpress dev. I’m new here, but bare with me for a sec.

I’ve read up and pretty much agree with what @Kirsten 's contact said.

Some side notes from what I’ve read so far:

  • Divi is a good theme I’ve woked with before and recommend it. The 90$ / yr is hard to beat given all the built-in features it offers.
  • Page builders are not exclusive to Divi though. And you can, with some minimal knowledge of “shortcodes” export the pages built to other Wordpress sites provided they also use they also use Divi theme.
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That sounds like a solution. If copy and paste is available to transfer design elements between the Wordpress instances, then we can still share them. :+1:

So I looked up Divi - and Elegant Themes says “Unlike some premium WordPress themes, we don’t require you to purchase additional licenses each time you build a new client website.” and they offer an unlimited lifetime package of multiple themes including divi for $245. So - do I understand correctly - OFN could make a one time purchase and then each time we need to build another website for a new instance, we’d own the theme - so no additional annual fee. I got this from Elegant Themes –