Coming shortly – New SCL Web Site

January 1, 2006

The new Web site seeks to achieve two aims. First, to update navigability and accessibility in line with the latest best practices on the Web so that members and visitors alike will find the site user-friendly and easy to use. Secondly, to introduce a raft of new features that will improve communications and provide additional benefits for SCL members.

Some improvements, such as deployment of a bespoke content management system, will largely go unnoticed. More obviously the following new features will be available via the site:

1 – Online CPD for SCL members
Many legal journals now offer a CPD scheme tied in with their published content, so we have decided to introduce a CPD scheme for all members based on the content of Computers & Law. The really good news is that it will be provided as part of the membership fee as the scheme can be run efficiently online.

Under the scheme, members will be able to claim up to six hours of CPD in a year, one hour for each issue of the magazine. All members have to do is read the magazine, log-on to the site and then answer the questions for that issue. Answers are marked instantaneously and, once enough questions are answered correctly, an hour of CPD can be claimed. An online training log is maintained in the member’s personal account page to help with the relevant record-keeping.

The new CPD scheme provides an excellent method of keeping up to date with all the latest developments at no extra cost.

2 – Review and amend membership details
Each member will have a personal account page where they can view and amend the membership details held by the Society, check when membership renewal is due and manage membership of SCL Groups. The account page will be password protected so details will be available only to individuals members once they have logged on to the site; they will not be accessible to other members and site users.

3 – Book and pay for conferences and webinars online
A new online booking facility, linked to the Worldpay secure credit card server, will allow registrations and payment for conferences and events online. Delegates can opt either to request an invoice or pay immediately using a credit or debit card.

Site Technology & Structure
The site is being built using Microsoft SQL database and server technology. This ensures that the site can be easily hosted and that the development platform is as future proof as can be expected. It also means that future interaction with other sites and applications is made possible as many other sites use the same technology.

A full-text search engine is also provided on the site. The search engine works on text searching combined with the ability to filter search results according to specific criteria such as the type of content, date of publication and keywords. Using a combination of these filters site users will be able to quickly identify relevant, current materials.

The design of the site will build on much of the current look but will be updated to make it more compliant with accessibility guidelines issued by W3C. This is, of course, a key issue now that the full force of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 can be brought to bear on non-compliant Web sites. Although the existing site is fine, there are plenty of tweaks and revisions that can be made to ensure that it allows useable access to the widest possible readership. One of the most noticeable will be the probable disappearance of the drop-down menus that are currently used for navigation: such features can cause accessibility problems in certain browser configurations so the site navigation will be changed to try and overcome any problems.

All these changes are aimed at sealing the site’s reputation as the most easily accessible, dedicated source of the latest news on computers and the law.