Posted on: 4 Jun 2016
Written by: Ngaire Ackerley
Last weekend I volunteered my web design and development skills at the Impact NPO charity hackathon.
It was a full-on weekend! Kicking off on Friday night where we met with 4 different charities and picked our groups. We’d be spending the weekend (Saturday and Sunday 9-5) in groups of about 8 people to design and build a website for each charity.
I chose to help out the charity People with Parkinson’s and was overwhelmed with their kindness and appreciation. It was a hard decision to pick between all the charities, but I felt this one suited my background best and pulled at my heart strings the most.
I was the main website designer and developer so I took the lead in designing wireframes and creating the website. I had help from a few others — with two people handling the contact form and MailChimp plugins and training and another person designing the logo for the website. The rest of the team were on content creation.
It’s been awhile since I developed a website in such a short space of time and amongst so many people. My last web development role was a team of two, where I was working remotely, so this was quite different. After fiddling around all day Saturday I realised I work a lot better without interruptions and a lot of people around me. The funny thing is designing in such circumstances is fine, I just couldn’t concentrate when it came to coding.
So once I got home on Saturday night I re-did the website again. This time I spent time picking a theme that was better matched to the charity and selected various plugins to achieve certain functionality, this meant editing fewer bits of the theme code and style than I’d been attempting throughout the day.
What I learnt is that in the space of a weekend, the website really needed to be ready by Sunday morning for it to go live, training to happen and content to be added. Which meant creating a website in a day. If I’d been more prepared I could have come along with various code modules to create a clean and custom website for the charity, however, with the time and circumstances, the only successful way was going to be using a WordPress pre-built theme.
Come Sunday morning the charity was pretty happy with the website’s progress, which was great and all I needed to do was spend the day testing and tightening a few bits up.
Organisation is key at these events I found. If I do another one I will come a lot more prepared and try to organise a catch up with the group every few hours to try manage expectations and interruptions better.
Each day we had a lunchtime and end of day presentation with the groups so we could see everyone’s progress. It was pretty neat to see how everyone came together and all the charities got at least one website (some had more websites, some with newsletters too). All the charities came away very happy.
Many thanks to Impact NPO, the lunches were lovely and the location at the Grid Auckland was great. I’ll look forward to seeing the progress of the charities involved and how future events go.
If you’re reading this and are interested in helping charities with design or web development, check out Impact NPO’s meetup page here: http://www.meetup.com/impactNPO/« Back to Blog