The new website of the Centre for Citizen’s Participation on the African Union is online, making the CCP-AU’s work easier and more accessible. (Editor’s note: The website seems to be no longer operating as of writing on 10 December 2020).
It is a great example that for small organisations often less is more, when it comes to their website. With the free and easy WordPress content management system the CCP-AU has all it needs: The website looks good, it didn’t take too long to set up and it didn’t cost too much. Yet, most importantly, it’s easy to maintain, because you don’t need expert knowledge or a programmer to do that. For all these reasons, we often advocate WordPress. (It’s also behind the ICJ website, about which we talked yesterday).
Make it look the way you want
Sure, it’s by far not the only open source content management system out there (and by the way, despite its reputation, it is something that is not for blogs only, but actually quite good for small to medium websites). But WordPress has a very active community that develops new tools constantly, so it offers great possibilities to customise it in a way you want. That’s important for us, as we don’t like using ready-made stuff just because it’s out there. Instead, we prefer to assess with our partners what they need – and then build a website according to that.
An important step in creating a website based on WordPress, is picking a theme. Themes are what determines the basic structure and design of the site, so making the right choice is important because it can save a lot of development costs if it has already the kinds of features you need. For the CCP-AU website we opted for Canvas, a Wootheme (check out their website and grab some great free themes), which looks nice and can be customised easily, and has useful features built-in, like a photo slider. But there are plenty of other goegeous themes available, another nice point about WordPress, just Google “best wordpress themes 2012” and you’ll be surprised at what you find. Themeforest is also a good place to look.
Easy to update
What makes WordPress great for the CCP-AU is that they can now update their new website, write news or upload documents without having to trouble themselves with the technology behind it. It’s pretty much as easy as writing a letter in Word or Libre Office and then printing it. This is why, with their new website, the CCP-AU can focus on the work they are doing – and publicise it.
Like the design?
On a side note, if you like the map of Africa made out of hands, that’s the work of Kenyan designer Eugene Nyawara. A theme will only get you so far, you need a good designer to really make your site reflect the personality and values of your organisation, in other words its visual identity. He took care of the website’s design, but also developed the CCP-AU’s branding, as working on their general appearance was part of the work HURIDOCS and the CCP-AU did together. As usual, this involved a constant stream of ideas between everyone, in which needs and expertise where brought together into a result that, we hope, will make the CCP-AU happy for a long time.
In that sense, working with Eugene was great. It’s not the first time we did something together (see the websites of the ACDHRS, PRAWA and Hayk Bianjyan) and are frequently amazed by his talent, but especially by his ability to adjust to others’ needs. So while he is visionary and full of ideas, he will always listen to what you want. The results are great and that’s why we want to say thanks for the work done so far, Eugene.