We are a distribution company and want to make a range of information available online regarding our company and the products we distribute.
We suspect that combining an open source CMS package, some customisation of the CMS, some additional PHP/mySQL work, and some web design should produce what we need. We already have web banner, product graphics, etc. so not much design of new graphics is likely to be required - CMS, php, mySQL, and web layout design are the skills we are more likely to need in our chosen freelancer.
We will be looking for a proven track record, multiple years experience in the field, good examples of similar past work and strong references from satisfied customers when we come to award this project. Price will be an important factor but certainly not the only one. In fact proposals which provide a price only will not be considered - we need you to provide us with sufficient detail about yourself or your firm, your skills, and the approach you would take to develop this web site for us to prove that you have the expertise required to undertake the project, have done similar work in the past, and can complete the work to our satisfaction.
Below we have tried to detail our overall vision for this web site, feel free to enquire if you require more detail to allow you to submit a sufficiently detailed and well thought out proposal.
We want to make it easy for non technical staff in our company to manage the following type of content on our web site :
(1) News / Announcements
(2) Forthcoming Events Calendar
(3) Product information - organised in categories (see below)
We hope that one of the popular open source CMS packages can be suitably configured or adapted to meet our needs. The vision we have is that there would be three main types of content being managed :
NEWS/ANNOUNCEMENTS : this is probably the simplest part; most CMS seem to support this as standard, so we just need the facility for our site admin to enter new news items and for site visitors to view news items. Preferably we would like to be able to specify whether news items are to be visible to all site visitors or if they are only to be visible to logged in users with a certain defined level of access (partner status).
CALENDAR : we would like to be able to maintain a database of forthcoming events, and have a calendar appear on the front page with dates colour coded to signify which dates have an event taking place. The user could either mouseover or click on a date to get more details of the event (sales training, product launch, technical training, etc.) that was taking place on that date, and maybe even have a web form linked to the calendar where they could sign up to attend the event (a fuller facility to track who is coming to each event would be great for us but these are small events typically attracting only a few dozen people so we don't have a lot of budget to spend in this area :). If someone bidding for this project has past code they can reuse to cost effectively add extra features to this section, or link in some existing open source project, all the better but otherwise a simple web form which sends us an email with the details of someone who wants to sign up for an event would suffice.
PRODUCT INFORMATION : This for us is the real 'meat' of the web site and would be primarily organised as follows :
Vendor Name (eg 'Microsoft', 'Oracle', 'Dell', 'Toshiba')
-- Product Category (eg 'Database Software', 'Laptop PC', 'Mouse')
-- Product Name (eg 'SQL Server 2005', 'Latitude X1')
If a user drilled down (probably through a tree style menu) to select a vendor, then a product category, and then a specific product in that category, we would want them to then see a dyamically generated web page for that particular product which would contain :
- HTML content giving picture(s) and details of the product
(we imagine this would be generated on the fly by including
html content from a 'product description HTML' field in
a 'products' mySQL table we would manage on the server)
- End user price for the product - visible to all users
(just another field from the 'products' table)
- Reseller price for the product - visible to logged in users only
(and again just another field from the 'products' table)
- Stock Status - product in stock? yes/no - logged in users only
(you guessed it, another field in 'products' table)
For each product there would also be a table listing :
- Related documents available to download, and giving links
to access each document and specifying their size
These 'related documents' would be categorised as follows :
Document Type (eg 'Brochure', 'Sales PPT', 'FAQ', 'Manual')
Security Access (eg 'All visitors','Logged in Users','Group XXX')
When uploading a new document, we would specify which product it related to, what type of document it was (we would want to maintain a table of 'document types'), the release date of the document, and the security level required to access it.
As well as accessing information by drilling choosing a vendor, then
a product category, and then a specific product, we would like users to also be able to :
- Choose a product category and see a list of all products from
all vendors that match that product category, and possibly see
related HTML content describing that product category
- Choose a date range ('today', 'last 7 days', etc) and see items
that have been added in that date range
- Enter a free text search and see a list of all products whose
HTML description text includes that text
Naturally we would like the web site navigation to be as user friendly as possible - so for instance if you are viewing details of 'SQL Server 2005' the page would have links you could click on to back up a level to seeing all 'Database Software' or all 'Microsoft' products.
In addition we would want the product pages to have links to a number of web enquiry forms :
- Product enquiry
- Request product evaluation
These links would bring the user to a web form requesting more data, which would then be stored in a table we could view later as well as being emailed to the site admin at our company.
We do plan at a later stage to allow online ordering of products, and live stock level lookup - but this is beyond the scope of this phase of our web plans.
As will have become apparent above, we want to make some information available to casual visitors to our web site, but will require a user to login before they are able to access more sensitive data such as trade pricing, more sensitive product related documents, etc.
We will want an automatic user registration system as follows :
- If a user does not already have a login account, they can visit a 'signup' web form which requests the following information :
* Email address (which we will use as their user name)
* Company Name
* Phone Number
* Mobile Phone Number [optional]
* Company web site [optional]
- Whenever a user fills in this form, an email is sent to a specified admin at our company providing the details of the request, and giving them two links to click on : APPROVE or REJECT. When they click on either link, they would be brought to a web form which allows them to enter any message they would like to send to the user (which would be default to one of two templates - for 'approvals' or 'rejections') and the site would then enable the user's account (if they clicked 'APPROVE') and send the web site user an email notifying them of whether they had been approved or rejected.
Once a user does have a valid user name and password, they should be able to login at the front page of the web site, or if they have not already logged in and they try to access protected material they should then be prompted to login.
We want to log details of all logins and all access to product related files, and allow the site admin to view histories based on user, vendor, product, date range, etc.
Once a user has been given a login account, we will want to be able to specify if they are a member of specific groups, as some of the files stored in relation to specific products will be restricted not only to logged in users but to logged in users who are members of a particular group (for instance 'Gold Level resellers only')
OTHER STUFF !
Front page - as well as the latest news entered by us on the system, we would like to pull news from 1 or more news feeds related to our industry and include it in a box on the front page of the web site.
Email Broadcast - we are undecided at present whether we should extend the user management on the web site to also provide us with email broadcast facilities. If we were to do this, we would want the facility to select a group of users based on the group they belong to, and broadcast an email to them.
We anticipate the front page of the web site would have some content that would be randomly selected (such as showing details of 1 of a number of possible 'featured products')
In keeping with our desire to make site nagivation as easy as possible, we would probably want dynamic drop down menus that would allow users to quickly find material in various ways (vendor then category, or category then vendor, etc.)
We will probably have a few one-off web pages linked from the front page such as company profile, contact details, maybe some case studies and customer testimonials, etc.