Our client’s request
Our client asked us to build a networking platform resembling LinkedIn for an African audience. They came to us with a vision, a clear plan for the project, and the logo and colors they wanted to use. Our team’s job was to build a mobile website that would enable entrepreneurs, professionals, job seekers, and investors to interact and establish solid partnerships.
People are looking for meaningful connections with peers, prospective investors, and employers. There’s a growing need for a single platform to unite these actors across countries and regions as well as globally. With our client’s platform, investors, employees and job seekers in Africa can build networks and be exposed to more job opportunities.
Our main task was to create a unique platform focused on connecting entrepreneurs, professionals, employers, and investors across Africa. We needed to encourage users to return to the platform for the job prospects and communication with companies that it offers.
Registered users can follow profiles they’re interested in just like they do on LinkedIn. We developed a convenient chat feature to support one-to-one and group conversations through a widget that allows users to chat from any page on Afrinection.
We developed several concepts for the homepage, and our client chose a simple and clear variant showing the website’s mission statement, the latest news, and new users.
Afrinection is a monolithic Python/Django plus HTML/JS/CSS project that we built from the ground up. We used the Django Web Framework to meet our client’s business goals.
We didn’t need to provide a lot of dynamic elements on the website pages, so server-side rendering worked perfectly for this project. We used a PostgreSQL database.
Our development team built a WebSocket server using Tornado to enable real-time notifications, and we also used Tornado for the real-time chat.
We used Celery to manage email notifications and repeatable rebuilds of the Elasticsearch search index. Elasticsearch allowed us to implement full-text search across user profiles, the blog, forums, and Advertising Partners page.
We used the Bootstrap framework to make the website responsive on different devices.
We chose Owl Carousel 2 for the slider since it’s easy to adapt, has many options, and is cross-browser compatible.
We implemented real-time chat with jQuery and applied SockJS to manage the client-server information flow. This complements the WebSocket API yet supports all browsers with different substitutes such as ajax long-polling, json-polling, and so on. We used a simple WYSIWYG editor to transform HTML elements into plain text and added EmojiOne to enable emojis.
We chose the fast and easy-to-use Croopie plugin to load and crop images. It has many options and methods.
For push notifications, we used the Toast plugin, which is great for showing non-intrusive native notifications.
We’ve had two major releases so far. The first introduced the networking platform. For the second release, we created a feature that lets users add vacancies, lets job seekers look for vacancies and apply to them, and lets employers create job postings and receive feedback from candidates.
Employers can post vacancies with detailed descriptions and professionals can create profiles to attract employers. Vacancies can be posted for free or can be paid for to appear first in search. In order for vacancies to appear at the top the list again, employers would have to repeat this payment in a month. Registered job seekers can apply to job openings, and share and receive interesting vacancies with their friends via email.
The jobs section has several convenient filter options. Job seekers can view their most recent search history as a list of 10 latest searches, and view the list of jobs they’ve applied to. Employers can create and edit vacancies, and see the payment history for those positions they’ve paid to promote on the website.
Users can communicate through real-time chat that’s conveniently placed on all pages of the site. The chat feature allows users to exchange files, pictures, and documents.
If users want to become advertising partners, they can fill in a form and subscribe to have their ads appear on the website. Monthly payments are automatically charged for advertising until a user cancels their subscription.
Since the website’s mission is to build meaningful connections, search is paramount. We placed search in the header to make it available across all pages. Users can search either across the whole website or within categories to find information on the blog, in forums, across the network, or from advertising partners.
Job seekers can get a list of jobs by email and in their accounts that might interest them based on their search histories.