Forums may be a little old hat, but sometimes they are just the ticket and that was the case for the Brecon Beacons Tourism Partnership website.
Pixelwave Web Design built the Brecon Beacons Tourism Partnership website several years ago and has continued to update it from time to time. Over the years it has eveolved from a website aimed at tourists, promoting tourism events and providers in the area to a site centred around the tourism providers themselves and the tourism industry in the Brecon Beacons. Due to this evolution it was felt by the stakeholders that the website needed to provide a way for the individual providers and members of the Tourism Partnership to communicate with each other. In addition the administrators of the site also wanted a way to publish news stories and share documentation such as minutes of committee meetings between its members.
The best solution to this was a forum with some fairly complicated access privileges. Forums would allow members to post topics of interest to themselves and other members and reply to such topics. This would give members the ability to share information, discuss developments within the Brecon Beacons and the wider world of tourism and give each member a voice within the group. It is hoped that such collaboration will in turn benefit tourism in the Brecon Beacons as a whole and encourage new members to sign up to the group.
Pixelwave Web Design has recently finished building this addition to the website. As well as forums that allow the members to add threads, polls and reply to existing posts, there are certain forums that are only accessible to administrators, some that only admins can start a topic in but other members can post in and some that are accessible to members of the public as well as members of the Brecon Beacons Tourism. Members and administrators are also able to upload documents as attachements that can be shared between members and we have set up a DropBox folder that allows larger files such as PowerPoint presentations to be shared as well.
I have also added nice little touches such as the fact that signature files are automatically generated for the members based on their listings within the site directory. This means that,
- Members don’t have to create a separate signature file for the forums
- It shows off their directory listing on every post they make
- It should encourage members to post in the forums because each post they make gives them and their directory listing more exposure
- It should encourage members to keep their directory listing up to date
- It adds an extra dimension of integration between the forums and the directory listings.
The forums are quite new at the moment so now it is up to the site administrators to encourage their members to get posting in them. I’m pleased with the level of integration of the forums with the existing site. The look, feel and most importantly functionality fits perfectly and the new forums should be as familiar to the members as the rest of the site has become. Certain aspects were quite a challenge, but its always nice to go back and work on sites that you’ve built and know your way around.