How Envato Authors Obox are using ‘Layers’ to teach girls to code in Cape Town
Code For Cape Town (Code4CT) is an initiative aimed at teaching young girls the power of web development and design.
With an estimated 75,000 digital jobs coming online in South Africa within the next five years, according to the Code4CT website, this initiative aims to equip young girls with a skillset in CSS, HTML and WordPress to set them apart from their peers, helping to solidify their future within a society more reliant than ever on technology.
“We wants[SIC] to put this power into the hands and hearts of every girl,” Code4CT says in their vision statement, “…because soon not knowing the language of computers will be as challenging as being illiterate & innumerate are today.”
A few months ago Obox – the Envato authors behind Layers – were invited to run a session at Code4CT, introducing the girls to building a website, and showing how their product, “Layers” can take the heavy lifting out of coding and design.
“When I arrived at the venue, the first surprise was the sheer amount of students in attendance.” says Marc Perel of Obox. “Typically the mindset of a 17 year old does not consider the importance of an extra mural class, but the allure of learning new skills must be strong. A testament to the Code4CT program.”
Some general banter followed until the room settled down and the presentation began.
As the girls knew the basics of WordPress, Marc set about showing them the different methodologies Layers uses to create web pages. However, he soon found he was losing the attention of the room.
“All was quiet with some girls passing off Layers as just another tool in the chain.”
“It was only when I changed an image from Square, to Rectangle, to Rounded with a few clicks that the girls started getting really excited and cheering.”
“Along with more adjustments; adding sliders, map widgets with different column widths, the reaction from the girls became more and more excitable.”
In a few short minutes, Marc was able to lower the barrier to entry for these girls, and show that you can in-fact build something compelling without years of coding experience.
Layers takes care of the fundamentals so that designers and developers don’t have to.”
“Instead of spending hours fiddling with CSS, Layers users have their bases covered so that they can focus on what really counts; the design and content of their site.”
“Adding in extensions like Layers Pro almost completely removes the need to use CSS at all besides for really bespoke tasks.”
After little more than an hour, the group was creating a completely customized site beginning with little more than a blank sheet of paper.
“Layers is responsive by default, the site looked great on all devices we used to preview it on.”
Obox has recntly committed to giving a quarterly Layers presentation at Code For Cape Town.
“Upliftment through design and code is an exciting concept, we hope that Code4CT can branch out to more countries and uplift more than just the communities around Cape Town.”