The Speirs Centre came to MESH to build and upgrade their old website in order to communicate the organisation’s vision to the wider community.

The Spiers Centre is a not for profit charitable organisation that has a vision of building a strong caring community, free of adversity.  The purpose of The Spiers Centre Inc. is to relieve the poverty, misfortune and distress of individuals and families in the northern suburbs of Perth. In pursuing this, we aim to make a positive difference to the lives of individuals, families and the community through the provision of a range of practical and innovative services.

The Design and Development Process

Following established industry standard research methods, the students began to have initial meetings with the client in order to establish the goals for the project. This meant visiting the Spiers Centre in Heathridge and taking part in the various community events. From these site visits, the students were able to put together a design and development brief that engages all the aspects of the project such as a personas, competitors analysis, content strategies, schedules, a work break down structure, wireframes of the website content, a site map and design concepts.

Much of the content on the existing Speirs website needed to be rewritten and updated in order to engage the Speirs Centre’s clients in a more productive way. The students first made a small questionnaire in order to understand what content the Speirs Centre’s clients wanted. The students then gained the executive directors support for the new content strategy. This required outlining the client’s responsibilities in relation to the project schedule and then developing clear guidelines around who was responsible for the creation and maintenance of the content.

In line with the goals of the content strategy a series of wireframes were constructed and then shown to the client. Wireframes are about the flow of information on a webpage and they detail the functional as well as content areas in order to better gauge the information architecture of a webpage.

The design concepts are a synthesis of all the student’s research findings in visual form. Once the design concepts have been approved by the lecturer, the students must then present them to the client. More often than not the client requests revisions to the design, and so students must change the design in relation to the client’s requests until a final design is signed off and approved by the client.

The Website Production

Once the design concepts have been approved by the client, the students then begin converting the image of the design into basic HTML and CSS, the basic building blocks of all websites. The website is also made responsive so it can be used on any mobile or tablet device.

Once the basic HTML site has been tested and validated against industry standards, the website is then converted into a WordPress website. WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in the world and allows users and clients to edit every section of a website.

The Speirs Centre now has a website that is attractive, user friendly, and directly targets their clientele.  New information can be added to the website by the client in order to react to new customer needs, which in turn ensures responsive growth for the Speirs Centre; one of their target goals for the website.  The students also gained an insight into volunteering in the not for profit sector and invaluable experience of working with a client in a real world context.