Friday, 25 January 2013

New hip, new website!

Happy New Year to all my Sopwell blog followers!

By now I thought I would be well on the way to recovery from my hip replacement surgery, but my operation, already scheduled a lot later than I expected, had to be postponed because I caught a dreadful cold and cough virus. The operation should take place next week – touch wood. This is why this post has been delayed.

I have not been idle, however. We now have a date for the launch of the More Memories of Sopwell project which is Saturday, 18th May at St Julian’s Church, Abbots Avenue, St Albans. Celebrations will start from 2pm until 5pm.

We are combining the launch with a party for the 10th Anniversary of the founding of the Sopwell Residents Association (SRA). The SRA's inaugural meeting was held in the church, so it seemed fitting to have our celebrations in the same venue. Details will be thrashed out in the next few weeks but it promises to be a fun occasion. More on this later. Put the date in your diaries now!

Publicity banners have been designed and are well on their way and, thanks to my colleague Peter Segers and my son Barnaby, I have finally got my head round what I want on the website and how I want it to look.

It may sound a bit obvious to many of you, but it is really important to work out exactly what is wanted before involving a website designer. I knew vaguely what we wanted but had no idea how to write it all down. Fortunately, there are some very helpful “how to” sites on the Web and I used one to draft a specification. I had to read between the lines as their purpose is to help those design a website with a product or service to sell. We are a non-profit making community organisation so our purpose is more educational and informative. That said, our goal is to attract visitors to the site to discover about the history of Sopwell and learn about the fascinating memories of those who live(d) there, so our purpose is somewhat similar. And, we do have a product - we still want to sell more copies of our book Sopwell: a history and collection of memories, although that is not our main purpose. While undergoing this exercise, I learnt lots of new terms such as ‘website livery’, ‘conceptualising’ and ‘search engine optimisation’. I am not sure I understand all of it though but it was an interesting exercise!

I am now planning to put my feet up for a while but the project will still progress over the airwaves.

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Sandy Norman

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