Website Design – public presentation of final project

For my final outcome for this project I decided to create a new website myself, both to save on costs and to keep full control of the design and when and how it could be altered. I plan to create a simple, easy to navigate website where you can view the individual projects from my MA, my CRJ posts from FMP and a section showcasing the video and audio interviews with families who home educate. Overtime, I will then continue to add to the website as I complete new sections of the project after the MA.

Throughout my MA I have used my business website for my CRJ blog. I did this for a number of reasons ,

1) It meant I didn’t have to learn a new version of software/wordpress at the start of the MA and could start documenting my learning straight away.

2) The continual updating of my blog would improve my google ranking for my website, bringing my project to more people..

3) My business customers would be able to see why I wasn’t working throughout the MA, and my pre-existing client base would be able to keep up with my project.

4) I came to the MA specifically to create a project on alternative education and elective home education, it made sense to keep it on my work website as the home educating community in Cornwall is made up a broad base of my clients, and the work was very relevant to them. If I had come to the MA and created a project on landscapes for example, this would of made no sense, but for my specific type of commercial photography, it worked well, and made total sense to keep my project where it could be seen by the most people..

During the MA, I put off doing a new website. Throughout my time on the MA, I was running my website on an old version of pro photo https://pro.photo with an old theme/skin over the top of the this, that I made for my business in 2014.

The simplified version of how prophoto works is , you get wordpress, then install the prophoto plugin, which adapts and alters the number of things you can do on a wordpress page to be more suited to creatives, you then purchase a theme or ‘skin’ to go over the top of the wordpress and prophoto to make it look a certain way and do all the snazzy parts. If I had updated my website over the last two years, then I would of had to totally rebuild everything in the middle of a module and I didn’t know where my project would end up, or my business, so I wasn’t sure what my needs would be.. I was also worried about loosing any of my website content.

When I came to the FMP I decided, because of Covid and lockdown, to alter my original plan of doing an interactive exhibition for the final presentation of my project, and instead, to create a website that I would be able to update in the years to come, as it is my intention to continue adding to ‘ A Heuristic Study’ in the coming months and years creating an historical artistic monument to the changes that are occuring within the education system. I feel these changes were already moving slowly, but covid and the consequent Home-Schooling of millions of Children, has highlighted changes that need to happen in education, and where the government and our current model of education is not fit for purpose in the country. When Covid is under control, I will continue with my original plans (from when I first came to the MA) of creating both a book and an interactive exhibition. In fact my plans have widened even further for my project, and I now plan on creating an exhibition to travel around the U.K to bring awareness to communities, Local Councils and MP’s on what Home Education is, what it looks like, and how it works for the people who do it. My project has become about mass education, and this website is the first step in the realising of that project for public consumption.

Below are the steps taken to create the website so far.

Day 1 )

Decide on my final title for my project ( A Heuristic Study) and purchase domains ( www.heuristicstudy.co.uk and www.heuristicstudy.com ) , point these domains to my website, so that when you type in the web addresses above, they open the home page www.bambino-art.co.uk (my works website). After Covid when I have the finances I plan on porting this whole website over to heuristicstudy.com , however as a self employed person, I have not worked for a year now, so financially I just couldn’t afford to do this at the moment, as it will cost me roughly £500 to purchase everything I need to run the website through a new domain. This was a compromise that I felt worked well both logistically and financially.

Fig 1, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New website Home Page.

Day 1/2) Initially I created the Home page, trying for hours the first day to get a video to play as you enter the home page. However after googling and talking to the technical support I found it isn’t possible to have video with sound on autoplay or in the home screen so I went for the image above instead. Next I deleted the menu that came with the pack and created the new logo and menu items, linked them all to the correct wordpress pages, altered their colours, and created the animation of the logo both sliding up and fading in.

Fig 2, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New website Home Page 2

Day 3) I created my artist statement , both what I wanted to say, the layout and the animation where the different blocks of text fade in and slide in as you scroll down the page. This doesn’t seem like a lot of work, but getting the timings just right, takes a lot of time. I also added the links below for the blog, contact and portfolio.

Fig 3, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New Wesbite Home Page 3

Day 4) I spent the day going through my FMP blog posts that I had copied from my old blog and reposted them onto the new website, spending time resizing the old fonts and reordering everything. Again a laborious activity , as the new blocks on wordpress don’t allow the posts in the same format as the old website, so I have to go through every post, manually putting in gap lines inbetween each sentence. In addition I looked at finding a way to showcase videos and audios on the homepage , I eventually found a way to do it using grids, and created my first audio video to go on the first page ‘ Natalie Unschooling ‘ .

Fig 4, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New Website video page

Day 5) I created my second video and uploaded it, aswell as my contact page, and I created this post to explian how I will move forward with this part of the presentation of my project. in addition. From here, I plan to continue updating the website with images and video files, as well as continuing my CRJ.

UPDATE 20.01.2021 I have just regained access to my website after having lost access to everything bar the home page for the last three days due to a number of errors within the prophoto theme. I had to contact my webhost (easyspace) to upgrade the SQL , then had to run the site through a debugging plugin , then needed to contact prophoto support for them to run a few different tests and diagnostics. I found having easyspace in the U.K and prophoto in America makes it a bit hard to coordinate when there is problems, as there is such a time difference. It’s all fixed now though, so I can get on with building the rest of the website.

During the days I had no access to the website I continued to create the videos and listen through the hours of audio recordings ready to upload more files and pages.

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REFERENCES

Prophoto home page available at https://pro.photo (accessed 14.01.2021)

FIGURES –

Fig 1, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New Wesbite Home Page 1

Fig 2, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New Wesbite Home Page 2

Fig 3, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New Wesbite Home Page 3

Fig 4, Graham, Rebecca. 2021. New Wesbite Video Page

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This blog is written as part of my studies on the Falmouth University photography ma, an accredited educational programme.