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KogVet

KogVet front page

KogVet is the student association for students at the Cognitive Science program at Linköping University and has 120 members. Despite its small size and relatively few members it's a very active organization and arranges a great number of events including parties, conferences and trips within Sweden as well as abroad.

The website (www.kogvet.se) is KogVet's primary means of communicating with its members, marketing our program and our unique skills and competences as well as organizing its work. Three years ago the site was upgraded and replaced by a newer content management system powered site but it had become hard to maintain, slow and didn't meet modern demands such as high usability, accessibility or web standards compliancy. It was decided that the association needed a new web site, one that was better suited for the needs of the association and its members and which was fast, easy to maintain and offered even more useful features and value to its members.

Work began as a group of students as part of a course in usability oriented software development evaluated different content management systems and built the foundation of a site that would meet the new requirements. Drupal was chosen as CMS because of its versatility, open and flexible architecture and its ease to work with and develop for.

During the summer of 2006, me and Emil Palm, the webmaster of KogVet, started building the new site and designing it. I was in charge of design and development because of my prior experience with Drupal. Together we planned and built the new site, introducing several new features to build a community site for the students at the program as well as a site for alumni and people outside the university wishing to learn more about us or our professional competences. A lot of customization was being done and we're still implementing some background features to simplify the maintenance of mailing lists and groups.

Features include

  • User Accounts with personal information, contact information and career information to create a dynamic user directory for classes, groups, association committees allowing members to easily find other members of the same age, business field or position.
  • Shared Calendar to post public calendar events such as lectures by visting researchers and professors, conferences, meetings, symposias and parties.The public calendar can be subscribed to using Google Calendar so that members can display it in their own personal calendars.
  • Powerful and Simple Posting of Job Positions allowing the association to easily announce new job offers or dissertation intern positions that are available to its members.
  • User Blogs to lets the members blog about anything they like, cognitive science or just daily reflections.
  • Forum for discussing the program, our campus, the university, student life or just anything that's of interest.
  • Photo Archive with photos from events, parties, festivals and different trips and conferences arranged by KogVet.
  • Cog World, a page aggregating feeds from several different blogs and sites that cover cognitive science and its many sub fields and applications.
  • KogVet Student Magazine 'Cogito' articles can now easily be posted to the site along with author information and details, using information from the site's user database and comments can be posted.
  • RSS Feeds are now available thanks to Drupals simple RSS syndication support letting all members take part of new content the moment it is posted on the site.
  • Wiki to collectively share and store information relevant to the members as well as the work of the association itself.
  • Web Standards Compliant code, table less layout done with XHMTL Strict and CSS. Planned multi platform support to allow easy access with mobile phones as well as PDAs.

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from the students on the program and the site is being actively used every day, people are posting blog entries and are searching the member directories to find phone numbers and email addresses.

Visit the KogVet webste at:
http://www.kogvet.se

If you plan on a similar project, a student association website or an alumni website, you're welcome to contact me. I can help you build it, offering tutoring or training or just share what we learnt from this project.

Here's a series of screenshots along with descriptions of the features displayed.

Front page
Front page
Shared Calendar
Shared Calendar
Google Calendar sync
Google Calendar sync
Cogito Article
Cogito Article
Forum
Forum
Job and dissertation intern position offers
Job and dissertation intern position offers
Content administration
Content administration
Aggregator administration
Aggregator administration
Cog World
Cog World
Edit page
Edit page
Page saved
Page saved