Added SSL to site

Yesterday the site was down for about two hours, while we switched over to SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), SSL transmits all data transferred between your browser and this site in an encrypted format. You can tell the site has SSL enabled now, due to the https:// (instead of http://) in the address bar.

Besides the trust element of seeing “https://”, and the fact that Google now uses it as a ranking signal for its search results, I’m not sure what the benefit of having it on the site is. There seems to be a slight increase in load times for certain pages, so we’ll keep an eye on that and decide, based on that, if we want to continue using SSL in the future.

Site Update – Work progress

Just a quick update on progress on the work we’ve been doing on the site.

We have pretty much finished converting the Host Family section of the site to a responsive design, that means that you’ll see different views, each optimised for that device, when viewed on a desktop PC, a tablet, or on a mobile phone. There is still a small bit of cleaning-up to do, here and there, which we’ll get to as soon as the more urgent tasks are completed.

The second task we have started (and almost completed) is refactoring some of the slower pages on the site. Over the years the constant updates to pages has had an affect on the quality of the code behind those pages, it became a bit convuluted and cumbersome, this has caused them to run very slowly. We completely rewrote the code behind the Job Applications, Search Results, Favourites List, and the Downloaded CVs pages in the Host Families logged-in section, and we also rewrote the code behind the Free Au Pair Search page, which is accessed from the site homepage. All these pages are noticably faster now.

The latest bit of work we’ve started is converting the Au Pair/Jobseeker section of the site, this was only started today, 04/08/2015, and should go on for about 3 weeks.

So, that’s it really, busy bees.

Site Redesign and Refresh

We’re currently in the proces of converting the site to a responsive design (a fluid layout that rebuilds itself to suit different screen sizes), we’ve already converted the job description template, and in the last few minutes the new homepage layout has gone live. We are going to continue the redesign by converting all of the pages in the logged-out area of the site and then we’ll move onto the the host family section, followed by the jobseeker section. This will take a few months to complete, unfortunately, and until then you may experience a mixture of layouts – ie. you might go from a responsive page to a desktop page, to a responsive page which isn’t an ideal user experience, but in our opinion is a better way of doing it than attempting to convert the hundred or so templates in the background, we apologise for any invonvenience, and appreciate your patience.

If you encounter any issues in the meantime, or have any feedback, please let us know at [email protected]

Host family references, for Au Pairs, from previous Au Pairs

We’ve just added a new question on the host family’s Post Job page, the question is Have you previously employed an au pair you could offer as a reference? – if a host family has previously employed an au pair, and they are willing to share that au pair’s contact details with the new au pair, they can indicate so here.

This information will appear on the job description page as a bullet point “This host family has previously employed an au pair they could offer as a reference”.

Sharing a previous au pair’s contact details with the new au pair allows the new au pair contact the old one, to get an idea of what to expect in their new job,  the working conditions, what the family are like, etc.

We would ask host families to share this information, if possible, as moving into a new home, in a new country, with a new family, would be a daunting  prospect for anyone, talking to someone who has experienced it before would be a massive assurance for the au pair, and their family.

We would suggest the host family only share the previous au pair’s contact details with the job seeker they are considering offering the position to.

Next and Previous Jobs listings on Job detail pages

We’ve added yet another piece of new functionality! This time however it’s for the job seekers‘ benefit. We’ve included, at the bottom of job details pages, “Next Job“, and “Previous Job” links, including job titles and thumbnail of the host family photo, if they’ve added one.

By default this functionality works by the date the job was added, so if you click “Previous Job” you’ll see the last one added before the job you’re currently on, however this is a little bit more clever, it also remembers your search queries, so if you search for “Au Pair Jobs Galway” and click through to the first job on the results page, clicking the “Previous Job” link at the bottom of the page should bring you to the next most recent job added in Galway.

This new functionality should save au pairs a fair bit of time on their job searches, as it completely removes the need to return to the job search results page.

Article on Childcare in Irish Times

There was a very well researched and written piece posted on yesterday’s (15/10/2013) Irish Times. The article, written by Sheila Wayman, examines home solutions to childcare issues.

It  covers legal aspects of home childcare and is a must-read for anyone who is considering hiring a childcare worker in their own home.

We even get a bit of a mention 🙂

You can read the article at

Employer and Jobseeker Messaging System enhancements

We’ve added some new functionality to the new messaging system, “Message Templates” have been added, these templates save you the trouble of rewriting commonly sent messages – for example, a “Thanks for your Application” message, to acknowledge receiving an application from a jobseeker.  Message Templates are a more advanced version of our old “Screening Letter” functionality, which has been retired.


Before you can send your message templates, you must create them, we’ve added a sample template, which you can use, edit or delete. You are allowed to save up to five templates.

  • To send a message template select it from the “Select Message Template” menu, when you select it the message subject and content is added to your message, all you need to add is the recipient name
  • To edit/update a message, select the message from the “Select Message Template” menu, click the pencil icon, and you are taken to the Edit page. Edit your message template and click “Save/Update” when you’re done
  • To delete a message, select the message from the “Select Message Template” menu, click the pencil icon, and you are taken to the Edit page. Click “Delete” and the message will be deleted
  • To create a new message, you have two options – you can save a message you’re currently composing by ticking the “Save Message as Template after Sending” check-box, this will save the subject and the message as a template after you’ve sent the message. The second option is click the pencil icon, and you are taken to the Edit page. Click “New”, edit the new blank message template, click “Save” when you’re done, and the new message has been saved as a template.

New internal messaging system for au pairs and host families added

We’ve just added a new internal messaging system that allows host families contact jobseekers, directly through the site. We recommend using this mailing system until you are comfortable enough with the person you’re dealing with, to send them your real contact details. We’ve tried to keep the functionality as simple as possible, but here’s a brief outline of how it works:

  1. When a host family downloads a jobseeker’s CV that jobseeker is added to the recipient list on the host family’s new Compose Message page
  2. There is a new envelope icon on the Downloaded CVs, and Shortlisted CVs pages beside each jobseeker’s mini-cv, clicking that icon takes you to the Compose Message page, with the jobseeker pre-selected on the recipient list
  3. As soon as a host family sends a message to a jobseeker, that host family is added to the jobseeker’s recipient list
  4. Both jobseeekers and host families receive an email alert, with message summary, every time a message is sent to  them. These email notifications can be turned off in the user’s Update Details page
  5. Both jobseekers and host families can block senders if they don’t want to receive mail from them anymore
  6. The Compose Message, Inbox and Outbox pages all have standard messaging functionality (Subject, Message and Submit button, etc.) – nothing new to learn there

We’ll be adding to the functionality to this message system over the next few weeks but for now we want to keep it simple and see how it’s used. If you’ve any feedback on it, or would like to suggest enhancements, please post them below.