It has been three years since the inception of OurHood and the interest and support for our neighbourhood communication platform have blown us away.
There’s no doubt that our neighbours are unique and so are the communities they live in. Each neighbourhood may face different challenges but the desire to create safer and better communities unites us all.
Our vision to provide a free, private and secure online space for communities, across South Africa, is strengthened every day by the neighbours who actively use OurHood to contribute to the betterment, safety and “neighbourliness” of their communities.
Now, as we start stepping out of our infancy phase, the OurHood team has been crunching down and working tirelessly to not only improve the platform but also create a new OurHood inspired by your stories and feedback.
As our excitement to re-launch OurHood in the next few weeks reaches a tipping point, we want to provide some insight into what goes on behind the scenes and give you a sneak peek of the new look of the platform.
Introducing our developers
Michael Jansen : OurHood “back-end” developer.
“The backend is where all the data is retrieved, processed and sent to the user. I like to think of the backend as the kitchen to the restaurant. The backend gets the ingredients and prepares the meal then sends it to the client.”
Michael Botes: OurHood “front-end” developer.
“The front-end of the platform is all design, layout, images, colours, user interactions and the way information is presented on a platform/website, almost everything you see and interact with on a website is the front-end developers job to create or make sure looks right and feels right.”
The Michaels (yes, that’s what they’re called) are proof that dynamite comes in small packages. Between the two of them, they maintain the system, functionality and design of OurHood. They make it possible for you to interact with your neighbours and the platform itself.
OurHood has been progressing since it started in 2014 but it has probably seen its most significant change and development in the past few months.
“Since last December the platform has gone through many changes. We have been adding new functionality. We’ve also been improving old features to the site,” said Michael J.
On the Back-END
Some of these changes and improvements included making messaging more efficient, adding group admin functions and improving the way images are uploaded and stored.
OurHood’s admin side has also seen a lot of improvement, which helps streamline tasks like verification, adding local deals or partners and creating new hoods. New posting functions have also been added for community partners, such as Neighbourhood Watches, Civic Association, etc, making it easier for them to interact with the communities they operate in.
“These changes were necessary as our user community grows, different needs are recognised by our team due to various suggestions we receive. These suggestions allow us to grow with our users and cater for the needs of their communities,” said Michael J.
On the Front-End
And while the work on the back-end has done a lot for the stability and efficiency of the platform, the most noticeable change in the past few months has been the look of the site.
This is where Michael B, our front-end developer, comes in. “With the new system running, most of the bugs squashed, and the mobile responsiveness of the site as well as apps up to a usable standard, it was time to start looking at the aesthetics of the site,” he said.
The first aspect of the site that was tackled was the design of the site and colours.
Michael B said: “This led to a lot of excitement in the office, as ideas of new logos and names started floating around, we realized we had become attached to our logo and the colors needed a few tweaks, but the look and feel of the site was unanimously agreed upon needed a good refresh and update.”
OurHood emails, like the ones you receive when signing up or when you’re notified of activity in your hood, was next in line for a bit of a revamp.
“We knew we needed to change our emails, and we used this as a way to test new designs as well as colors and styles… we introduced our new illustrations which were a big drive for us to help make the platform feel more ‘safe’ or ‘friendly’,” said Michael B.
“We spent more than a couple late nights and early mornings to make it happen and look great, this was a sort of promise to the users that change is coming and they should ‘watch this space’,” he said.
What’s New in the Hood
And with this promise, the OurHood team have been working on more upgrades, improvements and brand new features!
“Our new dashboard and site is a striking change from where OurHood started, and it is a great reminder of how far we have come as a team, a product and a company,” said Michael B.
Watch this space for more news and updates on everything happening on OurHood.
Next week, we will give you a more detailed insight into the journey of the layout and design of OurHood. Michael B will be taking you through the process of how the front-end has changed over the years.
Join OurHood today to connect your community.