The majority of directory sites rely on advertising as the main means of income and as a result are set up for that predominantly in mind. This can lead to a haphazard design layout as sponsored elements are not clearly indicated which causes users to click on the wrong elements at times. Although Google AdSense has clear instructions and guidelines that should be followed many directory sites offer a congested interface with insufficient details leaving you wondering if you are looking at the business listing or an advert for something else.
A "C.R.U.D."" (Create Read Update and Delete) application was developed making use of a sql (Structured Query Language) database with various tables that interact and grant access to features depending on whether a user is logged in and which listing they are looking at. The site was made in a way that anyone can access the collective business listings however a user needs to log in in order to create or edit a listing. Once logged in or upon having registered a user is directed to a dashboard section giving them a view of all their listings in one convenient place. The appropriate success and error messages were implemented to give instant feedback and help user's make use of the site's features with no need for explanations and lengthy tutorials.
The search feature makes use of a pre populated list which is activated when someone begins typing in the "what" field. It was important to give instant feedback for potential users to see whether what they are searching for is in the database of business listings. Once a "what" has been selected and a user selects the "where" another pre populated field shows all the places on the database that have that product/service. This way ensures you don't end up searching for surfing in Louis Trichardt when there are no listings matching that possible criteria.
Various search logic protocols were put in to allow a site visitor to see not only what they were searching for but also related businesses in other areas that may also be able to assist them. If there's one thing we have learnt recently it is that some jobs can be done from anywhere.
The individual business listing pages are geared towards providing as much relevant information to a prospective customer as possible. Additional features such as implementing Google maps, reviews as well as promotions are in the pipeline.
Notification emails were also implemented to assist the website administrator monitor the listings Even though it is early days the need for a system that could scale with the website was wanted from the get go. This also provides an early warning system as the listings will be monitored to keep the overall quality of the site high and create trust in user's making use of Disding's features.
To prevent scope creep it was decided to develop minimum viable product with extra features being developed on an ad hoc basis. Ultimately a reviews section is in progress which would allow people to comment and give the business the opportunity of responding. The goal is to allow businesses the chance to showcase their work ethic and develop a means for them to improve their online digital marketing efforts.