ACORN is an organisation that seeks to inform, support and educate operating room nurses across Australia. The time had come to update their web platform and enable the online sale of information resources essential to operating room practice.

Scott Hutton of Twenty20 Graphics created a fresh and inviting design that maintained a visual link to the previous ACORN website through colour use.

A concrete5 powered website

ACORN needed a flexible website that could display a large quantity of information while maintaining a clear and effective navigation. It also needed to be one that they could edit themselves, to place new content and resources. Naturally, we used concrete5 to develop the site, with this CMS providing a host of enterprise level functionality we required. The theme we developed contains multiple page layouts to allow variation in the display of information. Sidebar sub-page navigation is automatically included to help users move through the site with ease. 

The banners at the top of each page were set to be configurable as a page attribute, with sub pages automatically inheriting the parent's banner - this visually ties together related pages within the site.

We also created a custom block to display the ACORN Board members and looked to style all aspects of the system, such as error messages and login forms, to ensure visual consistency.


Error messages and login screens were customised

We also developed a simple but highly effective way to create bands of colour between sections of pages. This was developed in a way so we're not restricted to a number of bands on a page - we can select the number of alternating bands we want via a page attribute and the page automatically creates the required editable areas (we'll write up a how-to for this technique at a later date). The ACORN history page is an excellent example of these bands in use.

As is standard with all websites we build, the ACORN site is fully mobile responsive so that information re-flows for clear display on all screen sizes. This was particularly important for the online shop component, so orders could be easily placed from iPads, mobile phones and other mobile devices.

Online Shop


ACORN produce a set of Standards for Nursing Practice that it sells to medical professionals. ACORN wanted these Standards to be available for pre-purchase, purchase at their annual conference and available for purchase at any time via their online shop. To this end, the online shop needed to be able to be used effectively as a point of sales system at the conference. These sales were conducted using a set of iPads, highlighting the extra flexibility a mobile responsive online shop brings to business activities.

We built the shop components using concrete5's eCommerce add-on, configuring it to allow for discount codes for members and purchase codes for those who had already paid prior to the conference. eCommerce provided an excellent platform for this project as we were able to heavily customise and extend it to solve particular problems. 

From this customisation we also developed a series of additional eCommerce add-ons ourselves, some of which we've discussed and released on GitHub.

Digital Downloads and LockLizard integration

In addition to configuring the shop for flexible sale options, ACORN wished to offer its standards document electronically, but protected from unauthorised copying and viewing. To achieve this ACORN elected to use 3rd party software by LockLizard to protect the standards PDFs . The LockLizard system encrypts PDFs into a format that can only be read by the LockLizard viewer, which only allows viewing and printing if the viewer has also been supplied with an appropriate licence key. 

We developed a custom add-on for eCommerce that communicates with LockLizard's authentication server, automatically registering customers with access to their purchased document(s). When configuring eCommerce products,  the add-on automatically fetches from LockLizard's server a list of documents registered in their system and provides a simple checkbox list against each product.  


When editing an eCommerce product, a list of LockLizard files is automatically fetched from their servers, meaning that a file can be associated with a product with the simple check of a box.

To provide the actual protected file to the customer, we also used concrete5's Digital Downloads add-on. We were able to override both the receipt email and digital downloads email sent from the site to include further detail and instructions to customers.

Secure Payments

We implemented two different payment methods:

  1. We installed our own payment method for the Credit Card payment gateway eWAY. We've not released this add-on to the concrete5 marketplace, but have used it ourselves on multiple projects. This also required the set up of an SSL certificate.
  2. We also installed a Bank Transfer payment method. This displays bank account details on the checkout screens and allows a customer to place an order immediately, with the order put into a 'pending' state (for later marking as paid when a payment is verified).


 The eWAY credit card form, styled to match the site's theme. 

This combination of technologies means that:

  • A customer can view the online shop, select a digital download product (or a bundle with a protected document in it) and proceed through the checkout
  • They can enter their details and securely pay for their purchase using a credit card
  • The customer then receives a receipt email, an email with links to their digital download(s) and an email from LockLizard with instructions to install the LockLizard viewer and their licence key. They install the viewer on their PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad or Android device
  • The customer installs LockLizard and their licence key and opens up their secure document

Members Only Area

An important element of the site was the configuration of a Member's only area, where information can only be accessed by ACORN members.  Using concrete5's permissions system we were able to lock off a branch of the site for viewing only by members. Also members receive a discount on their purchases, so we wanted that to be applied automatically.

A database of current members was required for this functionality. We developed a members import package so that this database could be easily updated to ensure all member information is accurate and up-to-date.

The now live site has already put through hundreds of sales and is a great platform for future content.

Visit the ACORN website and Online Shop