The National Union of Metal- workers of South Africa (Numsa) has had its Website and online communications completely overhauled, creating the first step in its move to use the Internet as an affordable means of communication for the organisation and future member services in years to come. Having been awarded the contract in November 2003, the Prefix Technologies development and editorial staff eagerly began the massive task of migrating policy and congress resolution data – dating back as far as 1987 – to Numsa’s new database-driven content, document and user-management system. In parallel, design and artwork was collected to create an attractive online brand that would appeal not only to the media and externally interested parties, but also to Numsa’s 180 000 individual members who will increasingly have Internet access in the future.
“This is a significant achievement for us as a young company,” says Prefix Technologies MD Sam Hutchinson.
“As a solution, our suite of tested services and products suited Numsa perfectly at an affordable price point. “We are really proud of the content quality across a large volume, while the technology ensures flexibility in data organisation and presentation going forward.” Numsa’s new Website (www.numsa.org.za) encompasses a wide range of features to keep visitors engaged and up-to-date, while also promoting the skills and talents of its staff. Linked writer biographies are available on all articles and Numsa-affiliated photographers are promoted through an attractive image gallery.
South African and global metals industry news headlines are aggregated a number of times a day from various media sources using RSS technology. These complement the union’s own important press statements and organisational news. The union’s news section will be pivotal during the organisation’s 7th National Congress in September this year, where it will be updated directly from the venue as the decisions are made.
Hundreds of policy resolutions adopted at central committee, executive committee and national congress meetings over the last 15 years are now online, and can be browsed chronologically or thematically. The same applies to the union’s newspaper and magazine print publications: NUMSA News and NUMSA Bulletin. All these archives are fully search-able using Prefix Technologies’ powerful database search functionality.
Navigation is by a simple expandable menu, and specially written how-to articles covering searching, downloading files and using the site’s interactive features are available in the ‘site help’ section.
Visitors can subscribe to the Website’s newsletter to be informed of updates and important announcements. Prefix Technologies (www.prefix.co.za) has also implemented and e-mail mailing lists manager to allow Numsa communications officers to issue important press statements quickly and track delivery. A comprehensive links directory is also available with categories for local and international unions, the sector education and training authorities and related online information resources. “We are very happy with the solution provided by Prefix Technologies. “They have some powerful tools backed up with well thought-out maintenance and skills-transfer commitments that create a feasible and long-term solution,”comments Numsa publications officer Jenny Grice.