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.

Searching for an au pair by location

We had an enquiry today from a host family enquiring how to search for job seekers by location – say “Ireland > Dublin > Dublin 13” – that was an easy question to answer as the functionality was always there, however the answer didn’t make much sense. To search by location, prior to today, the host family had to use the advanced search ( http://www.aupairireland.ie/employers/search.php ) tick the box “Only show jobseekers located in Ireland”, then they would see options for the county, followed by area if Dublin was selected.

We’ve now made the search form a little simpler, and more intuitive, we have added an option “Jobseeker Location”, you can select any country, or, if you select Ireland, you will then see another option for county, followed by an option for area/postcode if you select Dublin.

I’m not sure why we had it the old way, in retrospect it doesn’t make much sense!

New Functionality added for Host Family accounts

Our last blog posting, prior to this one, was a call for suggestions for new functionality, thanks to Sandra McGarry we’ve implemented a load of new features for host family accounts, and fixed quite a few bugs. You can read Sandra’s suggestions here:  http://www.aupairireland.ie/blog/new-functionality-any-suggestions/450

  • My Private Notes – At the bottom of each jobseekers mini-cv there is a text box that allows you to add a private note on any of the jobseeker accounts, these notes could be anything really – “not in Ireland”, “will work with elderly” etc. it’s just a spot where you can save details of that jobseeker that are important to you. We’ve now added a My Private Notes page, this page displays all mini-cvs that have notes attached to them in one handy location
  • Jobseekers’ names linked to mini CV in Inbox and Outbox – we’ve linked the sender and recipient name in your Inbox and Outbox to that jobseeker’s mini-cv, this will give you a quick reminder of who it is you’re mailing, which can be quite handy when your job has had a lot of applicants
  • Shortlist sorted by time/date – The Shortlist page now lists shortlisted jobseekers by the time/date they were added – most recent listed first
  • Last Message functionality – When you are viewing jobseekers’ mini CVs, if you’ve messaged that jobseeker before, you will now see the date of the last message, and a link that takes you to an inbox of all emails sent to you by that jobseeker
  • Ajax functionality – this is probably the biggest change we’ve made this time around, and the one that will make the biggest difference to host families, we have change most of the CV-related  functionality to be Ajax-based. What this means is that when you click to download a CV, click to add a jobseeker to your shortlist, click to delete a CV etc. you no longer have to wait for the page to refresh, to move onto the next one. It’s done instantly.  This, we promise,will save you massive amounts of time.

There was a lot of other, smaller, things we have added or changed, but we won’t bore you with the details.

Remember, if you have any suggestions on how we can improve the site let us know, if it’s a pretty big bit of functionality, and we implement it, we’ll give you a free account upgrade next time you want it.

Thanks.

New Functionality – Any Suggestions?

It’s that time of year again, when we turn our attention to spring cleaning, and adding new functionality to the site. If you’ve any feedback on improvements we could make, or any new functionality we could add, we’d love to hear it. If you suggest any new functionality, and if we add it, we’ll give you a free Premium upgrade next time you need it. Please leave any suggestions below. Thanks.