Rayka Education is a local business situated just north of Berry NSW, specialising in educating students in aromatherapy and tactile therapy (massage) techniques.
As with most businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, Rayka Education was affected by government health requirements (particularly social distancing and limited venue capacities), and they decided to focus on what they could offer in the online space.
Aether Industries was contacted by Fiona Carr and Elizabeth Rea in early 2021 to deliver a solution that would allow Rayka Education to provide their courses online, while still allowing for face-to-face workshops and short courses when government restrictions were revised.
Rayka Education’s existing website was hosted on Squarespace, which was able to offer enrolments for face-to-face classes, but not for allowing students to complete course content online. In addition, Elizabeth and Fiona wanted to conduct live video classes over Zoom, as well as a timetable detailing upcoming events and classes, and the ability for guest instructors to provide courses in addition to Rayka Education’s own classes.
These extra functionality requirements meant a migration to WordPress was in order, with the final caveat that we stick as closely as possible to the existing design of the Rayka Education website – although some adjustments were necessary to accommodate the new features we added!
We also had to consider the requirements involved in offering courses to an international audience – while Rayka Education is currently only catering to Australian students (at least as of publishing this page), their eventual goal is to offer courses to students across the globe. This meant we had to consider Australian and international privacy laws (such as GDPR), notices that the website handles users’ data (which is necessary for enrolling in courses and keeping track of their progress) and website/user data security.
This was a big project – possibly our biggest so far! There’s a lot of moving parts under the hood of the Rayka website, and any one of them failing or working incorrectly can mean big trouble. We’ve integrated a learning platform, e-commerce, privacy and security solutions and more – all of which have their own quirks!
We also created custom website forms allowing students to send feedback from any course topic or submit a testimonial to Fiona and Elizabeth, which (thanks to another piece of custom coding) is displayed at random on the Rayka Education home page on each page load. (Each inspirational quote you see on the site is also selected at random, each time the page is refreshed.)
Although it took some time, development went fairly smoothly – until we uploaded the site to a testing server and everything crashed. We relearned two very important lessons: websites can behave very differently depending on the server they’re living on, and make frequent backups.
In this case, it seemed our test server was overwhelmed by what we were asking of it, so we had to tweak a few settings (on the website and the server) and try again. It also demonstrated that even problems can happen at the right time, as we were mid-research on finding appropriate hosting for the site when it went live – and we were able to adjust our recommendations accordingly.
Near launch, Fiona and Elizabeth announced they were presenting a talk at the Aromatica Australia 2021 online conference and wanted to offer a discount code for a free download to anyone who had “attended” their virtual session. To make the redemption process easier, we created another piece of custom code that allows users to submit the discount code through a special button on the Home or Cart pages.
Depending on how the discount code is set up in the website dashboard, any items associated with the code will automatically be added to the visitor’s cart and the discount is applied – saving visitors time and confusion!
The Rayka Education website was finally launched in late October 2021 – just in time for the conference. Since launch, Aether Industries has been carrying out ongoing site maintenance and website management as Elizabeth and Fiona gear up to offering full courses in the near future.
We wish Rayka Education all the best as they continue to share their expertise in the aromatherapy and tactile therapy fields, and we thank them for selecting Aether Industries to develop and maintain their website!