Final Project: Qafiyah Review

For my final WebDev project, I assisted a client (see About Us page) who is working to launch an online literary magazine catering to MENA (Middle Eastern and North African) writers and artists. I started a new WordPress installation to build the site, Qafiyah Review, and used a variety of plug-ins and other features to support the client’s overall mission.

Since Qafiyah Review is a brand that embraces this historic and storied culture of MENA art, I wanted the site to evoke drama and awe with MENA-inspired imagery. I chose the “Inspiro” theme from WPZoom but avoided the Elementor features, using local CSS modifications and the client’s existing brand instead to customize the site. I made sure to include opportunities to submit content on multiple places on the site, first and foremost being the homepage:

The client went to great lengths on social media to explain what Qafiyah meant as a poetic term, as well as her literary brand. With that in mind, I made sure to craft a dynamic About Us page where users could learn more about the site’s mission and, hopefully, be encouraged to partake in the magazine.

The theme also allowed for beautiful gallery presentations, using portfolio widgets. I loaded up several of the client’s own works to encourage users to submit their own and join the gallery:

To address the majority of the client’s needs, I used a variety of plug-ins. To me, the most challenging, yet rewarding, part of WordPress is figuring out not only which plugins to use. In previous projects, I didn’t devote as much time to thinking about how to use them effectively or efficiently and often got lost in the process. I wanted to use them intentionally for this project.

I struggled for a while to find the right fit for the most important aspect of the site: Content submission. And it took a bit of trial and error to get the layout right, especially for the part of the form involving the user’s cultural identity. For example, I tried both a dropdown for a more streamlined design, but ultimately decided against it because we wanted the user to be able to make multiple selections if needed:

I used the trusty WooCommerce plugin to set up a starter storefront, and another plugin to create an events page that would offer up a calendar, a detailed gallery of events to peruse, a countdown to an upcoming featured event and — in the spirit of Qafiyah Review’s passion for audience participation — a site to submit event ideas. This is also where being able to modify CSS styles was particularly handy. After multiple attempts at changing the color of the countdown feature, I was able to override the hot pink after finally remembering that “!important” would do the trick:

I’m pleased with the overall finished site for Qafiyah Review, as is the client. It serves as a solid foundation to build on, especially for accepting submissions, announcing events, and selling merch. Once the client finalizes decisions around events and products, those pages can easily be updated with actual items. This project definitely stretched me in terms of becoming more comfortable with WordPress and plugins. I still want to improve in this area because, at times, I felt I had to rethink how I was using plugins — mainly because the site would slow down. I’m eager to find more opportunities to design and build sites to further grow in this area.