This year, Dar-us-Salaam assembled a team to revamp their community website and create a new, separate Al-Huda School website for the convenience of students, teachers, and college admission officers. Previously, all information about Al-Huda was under the Dar-us-Salaam website. Now, the new Al-Huda website contains school-related information such as admissions and academic resources, while the new Dar-us-Salaam website includes information on all community projects such as Al-Huda School, Hifz School, Quran Institute, and The Muslim Link Newspaper. After months of editing and posting, the team completed the finishing touches on both sites in December.
The team of website contributors consists of Al-Huda School alumni and Dar-us-Salaam staff members, each with different roles in the process. “The first step was to find a theme suitable for a nonprofit organization like ours in appearance and functionality. This involved going through the hundreds of themes out there and finding the one that was best fit for Dar-us-Salaam,” said an Al-Huda alumna who is working on these websites. She collaborates with freelance coders and other website specialists in changing elements of the sites to customize them to their needs.
“We put a lot of trust in our alumna who had no real experience in web design. She was able to learn what she needed to learn, and she managed a few web developers to take care of some of the customizations and programming. We could have simply outsourced the entire website and had it done in a week, but it was more important for us to get our graduates involved because they will be taking over Dar-us-Salaam in the future, in shaa Allah,” said Minhaj Hasan from Dar-us-Salaam Funding Development Office.
The two new websites hold many advantages over the old one. Perhaps the most important feature on the new websites is their organization; the old website had little structural order and was a bit difficult to navigate. Dar-us-Salaam hired another Al-Huda alumna to post community updates on the websites. Elements are now organized so that the latest and most important news articles are at the very top, and the menu is designed to be more user-friendly. The new sites also feature slider images on the homepages, a separate section for upcoming events, and extra SSL encryption to ensure the safety of user information.
“The new websites are so much more aesthetically pleasing and functional. The menus are also easier to use and seem to have a lot more information than before. It also makes more sense that Al-Huda has its own website for only school-related information while Dar-us-Salaam maintains its own website for all community-related information. I access the school website regularly for tuition and calendar information, and the new design is a lot more intuitive,” said a Dar-us-Salaam office employee.