Tearfund are an international aid organisation with roots in the UK church. I worked for Tearfund’s youth engagement team, now called “Rhythms” through my friends at agency Hands Up. We established a great relationship with the client building part of version 1 of the Rhythms eco-system – the Rhythms Village. They wanted to not only continue to work with Hands Up, but to employ us to consult on the version 2 project from the early stages, and work right through to build and ongoing support and development of the site.
Tearfund took the lessons from building Rhythms v1 and used them to create an enhanced v2 of the app that better suited the users’ behaviour and needs. There was to be a fully responsive and mobile friendly web application, with an external API that could be used to add on a mobile app. We worked in a flexible and agile manner with the client, responding to their changing needs as the project evolved. I was project manager from the Hands Up side, managing two other developers and being ultimately responsible for client liaison and technical build. Design was done partly by Hands Up and partly by the client and other contractors. We decided early on that WordPress could handle the back-end of the site but we added some custom database tables for efficiency of queries.
- a fully responsive, web-based, mobile-friendly application based on a WordPress back-end;
- custom post types, custom taxonomies, custom meta-data and complex relationships between all of those things;
- custom database tables and queries;
- an abstract API for querying the data;
- custom login screens, custom user profile editing (including plupload-based user avatars);
- custom registration and login workflows, including Facebook login using the Facebook API and SDK;
- colourful full-screen, responsive modals;
- a set of complex page templates;
- per-user, customised landing pages that are never the same;
- efficient, automated, related article generation;
- custom page-view tracking to calculate popular articles and actions;
- custom AJAX actions and dynamically-updating on-screen information;
- some neat little touches like animations and dynamic buttons that enhance the user experience and draw attention to dynamic data on the screen.
Phew! You can see it all at Rhythms.org
We used the responsive “Gumby” framework utilising SASS and Compass to make this complex development simpler, and we built an externally-facing API for the mobile app using the Symfony-based Silex micro-framework. The client have given us some amazing feedback on this project and I am continuing to work with them to provide ongoing support and enhancements, and to support the development of the mobile app build.