hey! ok so this is my email to milk - i think the key thing is that it is simple, cool looking, and has a default 'timeline driven' cool front page (to avoid us being out of date all the time...)
ok milk! sorry this is a bit long..., probly worth cut and pasting to a text editor..
i have given the design some thought, and think i may have cracked it, and have some cunning ideas too.. it is a bit complicated, but also quite simple.. below i will try and explain my thinking and talk you through my design. i hope it is implementable, i would appreciate your thoughts - my explaination may be unclear, so maybe a talk thru in person would help?
first of all we have to consider:
1. who uses the website
2. what they use it for
3. what we want from it
4. how we use it
1: a. people who want to know more about forest,
b. people who already like us and come here, or came here
c. and us.
2. a. - to see what we do/ who we are, how etc.. if it is cool or not, contact us - a lot of stuff basically
b. - to find out whats on, see pictures, get contacts etc.
c. - to represent ourselves well and make us look good, to get to the bb etc. and as above
3. excellent presentation, up to date, well written, to fulfil points above, with minimum maintenance and difficulty
4. historically, we are bad at updating the website (it often gets out of date and you go to events and it is events from two months ago etc...), as we are voluntary this is unlikely to change, therefore i feel we need a good looking webiste that is timeline driven and defaults to a standard (but cool) homepage as posts and events expire..
Ok.. i hope you agree with these above thoughts, so first things first, check out my homepage design [front_page_1.jpg] and i shall talk you through it.
NOTE: the site has a maximum width - this is standard in pro websites (check bbc guardian znet etc.) and aids layout design etc.
where it says 'mish mash gallery' this would be a link to this best pics gallery - this is a gallery maintained by us, click on a pic you get the next one, with an option of thumbnails etc. pretty standard really.
menu -drop down (if possible?), if not then like on the filmhouse menu..
MAIN TOP SECTION:
this would be a default front page, everytime the page is loaded a new random image would appear in the main section, these images are selected from the 'mish mash - gallery' (this is the best of forest pics, which i am re-doing, some dodgy photos have crept into it on the current website, and it doesnt have any new awesome ones, but i've almost finished updating it.. its gonna be good!).
TECHNICAL POINTS: some thought is required on the auto sizing of images, obviously the pictures in the gallery can be all different sizes, so it could be tricky. i think square and landscape pictures can fit full width (as shown), but portrait pictures can go side by side (as shown: front_page_5_portraits.jpg).
If a user has text to go in this main section (but no picture), there should be a way to do it so it just goes in a grey see-thru box floating on top of the picture (like here front_page_2_with_text.jpg, or front_page_3_with_text.jpg), or drop shadow or something. this text would have an expiry date - so after that time it vanishes (this keeps us looking fresh and up-to-date)
IF a user has something to replace these auto pictures (a poster or something), that is cool, but you have to give it an expiry date, after the expiry date this entry would go to a history somewhere and the defualt page comes back. this picture posting would have a choice of sizes, full width, half width left, right etc.. (and look like this say: front_page_4_event_example.jpg )
If entries like this could also be prompted for event dates, then they could auto be added to the events listing thing..
BARS BELOW MAIN SECTION:
fairly self explanitory: news, blog thread, diary/listings, little advert things, whatever, basically 6 spaces we can fuck with easily.. some would be fixed, some would change ... whatever..
COLOUR SCHEME DESIGN: this pink is the right colour
i have given some thought to the structure too, but hey, one thing at a time!
suggested implementation schedule:
implement front page - get it so we happy with it.
sort out structure
redesign each page one by one from current website (a lot of cut and pasting, some rewording, and sticking some better pictures in sometimes), fair amount of work, but not too bad..
check all usability etc..
check on different machines etc..
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Maybe it could work? But it will be a kaleidoscopic blend of mysterious shadows and rainbow hued-dreams seen through compassionate tears.