What's the custom design experience like?
I have a client that's looking to build a new site with an integrated member portal/forum. I'm thinking of recommending WA but haven't designed for it before. Would love to hear from professional designers about the experience. Are you able to customize the layout easily? Anything you particularly like or dislike? Would you recommend building the site through this platform or would you go with something like Wordpress and integrate the member features through a plugin?
It is a rough and bumpy road with signs pointing all the wrong directions. My best advice is to upload boostrap css right out the gates and try to eradicate every shred of css code that is written into the theme. Then, only use custom layouts derived from bootstrap. You also want to use an external css and js file linked to your personal server. If you choose to run everything through their dashboard, I believe it takes 5 screens and about 30s to a minute to update a js or css file each and every time. Don't forget to rebuild the theme every single time, too.
Oh, and triple whatever hours you think its going to take. lol.
Will Keyworth commented
Hi Emma, it depends on whether or not you need a membership driven website or not. If you do Wild Apricot can supply you with all the tools you'll need: Forum, Newsletter, Donations, Store, Events, and of course, Membership Management.
That being said, it is a bit of a leaning curve, and the customization of the themes is not rocket science, but you really need to dig to find where all the settings are - I used to custom code all the css, until I really delved into the guts of the software to find where these settings lived, and how to manage them to customize them for my client's needs.
Hope this helps,