Connecting Gate is a new cross-continental multilingual site for building international connections, and learning about travel and relocation options in the U.S. and China.
Connecting Gate wanted a safe and robust platform for individuals to connect with others over a wide range of interests and activities, including travel, fashion, sports, hobbies, academic interests, the arts, and business. They also wanted to provide vendors and their potential customers a platform to connect on travel packages, relocation services, and other commercial ventures related to cross-border immigration and commerce.
The primary goals of Connecting Gate include:
- Create an informative, reliable, fun, and interactive networking platform for world travellers that differs from existing social or professional sites by combining personal needs with business opportunities.
- Automatic content language translation from English to Chinese and Chinese to English for registered user’s posts, allowing users of different languages to communicate seamlessly.
- A secure and spam-free environment in which users feel comfortable sharing public and private details knowing that the information shared will only be available to the intended audience.
Page Types and Business Logic
Registered users of Connecting Gate may post content to the site and interact with other users. All user-based content is automatically translated to English or Chinese. The types of posts/sections available and their business logic include the following:
- Community Forum (see Fig. 2): a collection of relevant subjects in which users may browse, read posts, and respond to others, or start a new topic relevant to the subject. Users may subscribe to any topic as desired to receive an email notification when a new comment is added.
- Packages: a package is a request for quote that a buyer creates for a potential seller. Packages consist of a title, minimum/maximum budget, a package description, and one or more categories associated with the package (e.g. public schools). When a package is created (see Fig. 3), it gets added to the package listing page. The buyer and seller may create a discussion on the package that’s only visible to them.
- Bids: one or more sellers may create a bid, which consists of a title, price, public field for all visitors, and private field only visible to the original buyer. After a bid is created, it gets added to the bid listing page (see Fig. 4), and an email is sent to the original buyer. If there’s more than one bid, all bidders get notified that someone else posted a competing bid. A buyer would typically pick a winning bid, which may be purchased by other buyers for a flat fee.
- Person: a person is a user with login credentials, name, photo, video introduction, and description. An administrator may select one user to be the “Star of the Week”, which promotes that user around the site, and they may later be added to the “Past Stars of the Week” listing page.
- FAQ: allows content managers to create questions and answers for a given category. All questions and answers are automatically added to the FAQ landing page.
- A home page hub displaying the most recent Star of the Week, the latest community hot topics, and some quick links (see Fig. 1)
- A complete multilingual solution, including local manual translation of the user interface and generic page content, and automatic content translation using the Microsoft Translator tool
- Searchable listing pages for the community forum, packages, and bids
- An invitation tool that integrates with Google and Yahoo
- Subscription platform for tracking pages, entire page sets, and tagged content
- A complete commerce solution for paid memberships and bid products required a shopping cart and secure checkout
- Simple user forms for adding/editing content, including a WYSIWYG editor
- Content sharing and rating
- Significant SEO integration.