Co-operative Housing Federation of BC

The Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHFBC) was established in 1982 to help further co-op housing in the province and represent co-op housing to government and the public, as well as help improve standards of the co-ops and share knowledge and skills between members. CHFBC runs events and workshops for its members, publishes newsletters and a magazine, and holds an annual conference. They also publish information about housing co-ops on their website to help educate interested site visitors about what co-operative housing is and what it's like to live in a housing co-op.

Challenge

CHFBC came to us looking for a complete redesign of their site. They wanted to use a content management system (CMS) that would allow them full control over site content, as well as space to grow and adapt to their changing needs. The previous version of their site made it difficult to update content in certain areas, and had a fairly busy homepage, few dynamic features, and no social media integration. 

Moving to a new Drupal-based CMS would require considerable data migration: static pages, forums, and a significant amount of data from the directory of housing co-operatives in the site, which included photo galleries, locations, information about the type, quantity, and cost of units, and other descriptive information about the individual housing co-ops.

Solution

With a brand new site design created by one of our partners, Talia Cohen, we built a custom Drupal theme for the new site. The new theme incorporated a revised colour palette, a cleaner and more modern look, and more space to visually communicate what CHFBC does.

Key new site features include a more powerful location directory that lets visitors view co-ops on an interactive map or search for them by name, city, member co-ops and waiting lists. We also built a public page where CHFBC could list workshops, with links to private workspaces where organizers could share material and carry on discussions with registered attendees only. Site administrators could easily manage content and access for these workspaces on their own. Finally, we added a Members Area containing information for CHFBC members, the BC Talk members forum, and private group areas for the Board of Directors and staff. This allows the members and Directors/Staff to centralize their information and discussions in one convenient and easy to use location. The site administrator can add new private groups any time, and manage the members and level of privacy.

Results

The new CHFBC website is more visitor- and member-friendly, portraying a more modern and accessible image than the previous site. It also offers more functionality for members and staff, taking on a more central role in the creation and dissemination of information and material relating to housing co-ops in BC. Site administrators can monitor and update site content more independently and effectively, and ample flexibility has been baked in to allow the site to grow and adapt according to future needs of CHFBC and its members.