At the opening of its second year, The Portland Bellydance guild was seeking to grow and provide more benefits to its membership.

Many of the original site’s functions were not automated, so hard working volunteers sometimes found that despite their best efforts, they would become bottlenecks in the way of what members wanted to accomplish.

So we rebuilt the site with the main goals of recruitment, providing benefits to members, and of course, automating as much as possible to take the pressure off of volunteers. This site was built in WordPress to make updates easy.

The design of this site is relatively simple. Since it’s the Portland Bellydance Guild, we used a background image and color palette representative of the pacific northwest. But, overall, we wanted to put the emphasis on the incredible dance images that members upload to the site. The effect of the design is surprisingly literal for the Portland Bellydance Guild: Bellydancers against the backdrop of the pacific northwest!

The first thing that visitors see when they arrive on the site is the guild’s mission statement, overtop a video background of member performances. This combines the practical benefits with the pure fun of being a guild member. We took special care to make the video background gentle on all connections — it loads with the speed of an image.

Once we have piqued a visitor’s interest, there are five branches located below this introduction that allow a potential member to self-select how they identify as connected with the middle eastern arts. We did this because the guild has many different member constituencies, and offers unique benefits to each. Instead of overwhelming a potential member with all the things the guild can do – many of which may not apply to them personally – we wanted to provide a very targeted pitch to each visitor.

When someone purchases a membership, they are automatically given a personal login to the site, and prompted to fill out their profile information. This allows the member to become a part of the guild’s professional directory of performers, teachers, musicians, photographers and more — but also serves the dual purpose of collecting demographic information so that guild officers can understand how to better serve their members.

Members are also able to submit events to the site’s online community calendar.

The site boasts many other features, such as professional resources and guidelines, news and press releases, a directory of council officers, and more.

And of course, the design flexibly adapts to being viewed on tablets and mobile screens.

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