The Society’s website is an advanced and custom Content Management System, developed specifically to the requirements of the Society by Antonio Magdić - Superfluo based in Zagreb, Croatia.
Data elements are users (persons), user groups (e.g. members and non-members/guests, BM members, AB members, SIG-Leaders, SIG member) events, and documents. Relations between these are managed via a role mechanism which also controls the access to functions and documents. The primary focus is on functionality and de-centralised information processing (without a dedicated system administrator). The user interface is kept simple, also to make the system independent of specific browsers.
New DS members apply through the website and pay via WorldPay or PayPal (Worldpay integration). Everything is done automatically. Levels of access to information on the site are set according to membership status. Overall administration rights are allocated to the Administrator, President and Secretary. SIG leaders get access that enables them to amend the SIG part of the website and their own subsides.
If SIG leaders want to invite non-members as guests, this is possible. They ask the administrator to set this up. Guests only have access to public information.
Departmental Members are set up by the Administrator and these members have full member rights.
It is has been possible (until April 2011) for members to open a second membership entry for themselves rather than attempt to renew a long-expired membership. This situation has now changed as the membership renewal option is open up to five years. As these double entries are discovered by Administrators the old membership will be deleted.
Setting up Events, Uploading Publications (Books/Proceedings, Papers)
One of the most important services for the Society’s members is announcing events (DS-owned or DS-endorsed) and providing them with scientific publications on the website. This section explains how to set up events in the website and how to upload related publications (books/proceedings, papers).
The most common situation is that an event (DS-owned, DS-endorsed) has proceedings carrying papers.
- An event is often established long before the proceedings are available, e.g. in order to promote the event via the Society’s website. Events automatically get added to the News pages.
- All events are also automatically entered into the “events calendar” that can be found under the main menu item “news”.
- It is possible to enter key dates related to each event and these are also entered into the Calendar.
- Events can be uploaded to Twitter and Facebook.
- Pictures to accompany events - filetype must be JPG, PNG or GIF. Preferred thumbnail size: 190x150px. Thumbnail will be automatically cropped and created.
- It is important to identify events that are particularly interesting to young members.
To Upload papers to the website - Necessary information
Three Files are needed to upload papers to link to an event (Conference) on the DS website:-
- A ZIP-file containing all papers in PDF format. File names to exactly match those listed on the spreadsheet. See below:-
- An Excel spreadsheet which lists all papers and the related files according to the pattern shown in the Spreadsheet template.
- A Frontmatter pdf file containing title page, copyright page, prefaces etc., table of contents with page numbers. i.e. all pages in proceedings before the 1st paper.
- The file names in the Excel spread sheet must match the file names in the ZIP archive.
- For an example of how to name files= e.g. ICED2009 is DS58. DS58-1 is Volume 1 of the Series.
The papers can only be integrated into the DS website domain (which means: they will only be indexed with Google Scholar and other citation indices) if each has something entered in the keywords column (column G) and in the abstract column (column I).
A template for the spreadsheet that needs to be uploaded is available on the DS website. The Administrator can send a template with examples.
If the uploading is performed as described in steps 1 to 3, then on the Society’s website all papers are fully linked to the publication(s) as well as to the event, access to them is possible via different paths:
The DS website is hosted on a server by German company Hetzner Online GmbH.
The Society has registered a number of web domains.
Main Domains are held with Godaddy.com for greater protection.
Supplementary domains are held with LCN for a lower cost.
The current strategy is to hold the main domain and similar domains ... plus ICED domains.
Defining User Categories and Access Rights
The Society’s website – which is based on a content management system – first differentiates between:
- Registered users (typically the members of the Society, but non-members can be entered as “guests”)
- Non-registered individuals (general public)
The most basic rule is:
Registered users have access to practically everything, including downloads – however sometimes limited depending on the role (e.g. being a member or non-member of a particular SIG, Branch, the Advisory Board, the Board of Management).
The public can see all information about the Society, publications, papers etc., but cannot download material. It has to be mentioned, however, that any document, publication/proceeding, paper, etc. can be made fully public if the tick-box “public” is activated when uploading it.
This is defined individually for each registered user via privileges set by the Administrator – even differentiating between different types of events, documents, selected Branches or SIGs. For every single item (bullet point) of the following list roles can be defined and/or administration privileges can be set (or denied) via a drop down box offering Full, Limited or NO access to edit:
- Interesting links
- DS Documents
- Statistics and Logs
For members are “no admin rights at all”. Bearing an office (e.g. BM or AB member, SIG-Leader, …) activates a predefined set of privileges as a whole. Finally, for each member an individual profile can be set.
Setting these profiles is done via the “members admin” function. Membership administration is the most severely restricted part of the system – only free for the Secretary of the Society plus the Administration Officer and authorised Administration Staff. Assigning extended “members admin” rights to other persons requires the consent of the President of the Society.
The user categories for the Web site are as follows:
General public (non-members)
Non-members participating in SIG or other DS events (“Guests”). (We have removed the possibility for visitors to the site to choose this, but it is still a possibility in the software)
- DS members
- Departmental Members
- Institutional Members
- SIG leaders
- Website administrators
Design Society Email Addresses and their Redirections
The provider of email addresses is the same as for the Society’s web domains (see section 3.3.1).
A number of email addresses are registered inside the Design Society’s web domain. The Society uses this service quite extensively:
for functional email addresses “…@designsociety.org” (e.g. to the President, to the members of the Board of Management, to the members of the Advisory Board, etc.);
for personalised email addresses “…@designsociety.org”.
Note: In the early days of the Society all members were offered to have such an address “…@designsociety.org”. Only a few ever applied; however, their addresses are still maintained, even if it seems questionable that they are ever used. These have been removed.
None of the registered email addresses actually uses hosting facilities at the 1&1 server (which would be possible for additional fees). Instead, the 1&1 platform is only used for redirecting incoming mails to the final receivers.
In the 1&1 system such redirections can be defined to up to 10 target addresses. As this not enough for some of the Society’s requirements (e.g. Advisory Board with up to 27 members), redirections of some functional email addresses are in two steps:
From the 1&1 system to a “buffer” address established on the server at the University of Zagreb, Department of Engineering Design.
From there to (an arbitrary number of) addressees; this is controlled via an Excel-style table.
Servicing Email Addresses and their Redirections
All of the email addresses and their redirections explained in the previous section must be meticulously serviced to avoid both information lacks and overflows to members of the Society’s bodies. Service is due:
- Always immediately after elections, because members of the Board of Management and the Advisory Board leave or come in.
- When Branches or SIGs are newly established or closed.
- When Branch Presidents or SIG-Leaders are changed.
- When persons change their own email addresses (e.g. after changing their affiliation).
For direct (one-step) redirections (see Appendix 16) these changes are made directly in the server system
In the case of two-step redirections, the first step (from functional email addresses in the server system to “buffer” addresses located on the server at the University of Zagreb) usually remains fairly static. However, the second step (from buffers on the Zagreb server to final receivers, is most frequently necessary: This is done by sending a table (e.g. an Excel table) with a basic structure to the web maintenance and development partners (see section 3.2).
Changes that have to be made in the server system (mostly administrating the one-step email redirections) are accomplished in a similar way as managing web domains and are also explained in Appendix XXX-3 (limited access: BM only).
Detecting, Preventing and Solving Problems
There are two groups of potential problems:
- System-related (malfunctions, awkward handling, unexpected behaviour)
- Content-related (most often: personal data of users not updated)
Problems of the first group can be detected in several ways:
- Complaints of users
- via one of the Society’s general email addresses (e.g. email@example.com) or
- in personal meetings.
However, much more common is detection by the website maintenance and development partners (see section 3.2) or the member of the Board of Management who co-ordinates the website activities.
Fortunately, since running the current website there have been no severe malfunctions at all. But of course some issues of awkward handling and/or unexpected behaviour has been noticed and has been improved.
Problems of the second group are much harder to detect
The most common way to become aware of problems in personal data is emails to members bouncing back because the address is not valid anymore.
Solving smaller problems is initiated by an email to the website maintenance and development partners (see section 3.2) – usually with very quick reactions.
Improvements which imply major re-structuring of the database and/or the user interface are defined in writing, discussed, if appropriate separately priced, agreed and carried out.
Ensuring Security and Back-up
The DS website is backed up to a server in Germany by Antonio Madjic.
The Design Society data protection policy sets out our commitment to protecting personal data and how we implement that commitment with regards to the collection and use of personal data.
The Design Society is committed to ensuring that we comply with the eight data protection principles, as listed below
- meeting our legal obligations as laid down by the Data Protection Act 1998
- ensuring that data is collected and used fairly and lawfully
- processing personal data only in order to meet our operational needs or fulfil legal requirements
- taking steps to ensure that personal data is up to date and accurate
- establishing appropriate retention periods for personal data
- ensuring that data subjects' rights can be appropriately exercised
- providing adequate security measures to protect personal data
- ensuring that a nominated officer (In this case the Administrator) is responsible for data protection compliance and provides a point of contact for all data protection issues
- ensuring that all officers and administrators are made aware of good practice in data protection
- ensuring that queries about data protection, internal and external to the organisation, is dealt with effectively and promptly
- regularly reviewing data protection procedures and guidelines within the organisation
Data protection principles
- Personal data shall be processed fairly and lawfully
- Personal data shall be obtained for one or more specified and lawful purposes, and shall not be further processed in any manner incompatible with that purpose or those purposes
- Personal data shall be adequate, relevant and not excessive in relation to the purpose or purposes for which they are processed
- Personal data shall be accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date
- Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes
- Personal data shall be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under the Data Protection Act 1998
- Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised and unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data
- Personal data shall not be transferred to a country or territory outside the European Economic Area unless that country or territory ensures an adequate level of protection for the rights and freedoms of data subjects in relation to the processing of personal data.