Our website for the Tissue and Cell Engineering Society is the second site we have built for a learned society (the first being the site for the European Society of Biomechanics, back in 2012). As with the ESB, this site features membership pages allowing new members to join, and existing members to see ‘premium content’ and to pay their subscriptions (through PayPal, the website does not store or process credit card details).
The site is quite distinctive; using banner images provided by TCES members, capitalising on the visual nature of the subject. The banners, in consequence, include some stunning images taken using modern microscopy and tissue visualisation techniques. The design is based on ‘mobile-first’ principles, using hide-and-reveal menus at all screen resolutions (home page screenshot at mobile size shown above left).
The ‘mobile-first’ design approach focuses on the issues facing mobile-only users, usually the majority of visitors. It stands in direct contrast to the ‘designer first’ option, followed by a fudge to convert the panoramic display into a small container as an after-thought!
The site is built in WordPress, allowing the board to add content as required. Membership management functions are available within the WordPress administration system, offering a one-stop-shop for managing the Society’s online presence. Features track new applications, memberships in arrears, and allow an administrator to update a member’s record as required. They also provide an overview of payments made through the website.
Most modern sites should be secured using HTTPS, this is going to become increasingly important as people become more protective of their online privacy.
Completion of the site coincided with our host (A2) offering free HTTPS certificates, so we were able to secure the site at no additional cost (over the standard hosting fee) to the Society. Many visitors (notably Firefox users) will now be warned explicitly by their browser if they attempt to enter details into a form on an unsecured page. Even if you are not using Firefox, however, you should be aware that anything you submit through an unsecured form might be intercepted by third parties.