Join Together


We’ve been building the Join Together platform to make it easy for anyone to join a union, wherever they are and whatever language they speak. In particular, this has meant three areas of focus:

1. Cross-border address lookups

Working with Fórsa in Ireland, we found that a small — but notable — proportion of members live in Northern Ireland, but work across the border — and vice versa. To solve this, we built a dual lookup system, where members can choose where they live and work, and use an autocomplete service that works across UK postcodes and Irish Eircodes to provide accurate addresses in a user-friendly, accessible manner. In fact, many unions with members on the island of Ireland face exactly this challenge. We think it’s important to offer applicants the best possible user experience, even if their circumstances appear on the surface to be an edge case. Over the longer period, the cost of ongoing failure to serve them really adds up.

2. Support for any language

All text used in Join Together’s online join forms is driven by a number of locale files. This makes it easy for us to offer support in any language. For unions who want to offer recruitment in Welsh or Irish, or recruit in industries where many workers don’t speak English as a first language, we can work with the union, members or a translation service to create the appropriate translations, then add them to the join form. The correct language will be selected and displayed by the applicant’s browser settings, whether on their computer or phone. If applicants prefer, they can simply switch the language of the form.

3. Localisation by default

We’ve built the Join Together platform, from the very start, to make it easy to localise for any country. This is all about taking care of the little details — the way characters are encoded and displayed, currency symbols, date formats and so on are correct for the local context. It means that no-one ever feels like they’re using something designed for someone else — it works for them, in their own local context.

Why do this?

Offering a user experience that is tailored to any given user’s needs or circumstances is key to a successful join service, and internationalisation is one part of this. Most CRMs and CMSes don’t offer these features, meaning expensive customisation (or, more likely, a “we don’t offer that”). The fact we’ve already done this work, and that it’s either on by default or can be switched on immediately, is another example of how we help ensure the best possible experience for members, whilst squeezing every last drop of performance from a union’s online joining experience.