This was another neighbour to whom I gave technical infrastructure. They where setting up a new organic smallholding, and although plenty of commercial experience, had little new media support. They where massively overworked, and benefited from this. My work was happening at the same time as one of the “mad cow” outbreaks, and the paperwork on keeping livestock was ridiculous. As a smallholding is a physical thing, inhabited by fragile creatures, it is outside of the traditional model for web enterprise. Specifically no matter what your developer thinks of, you cannot deliver livestock over the internet, or in the post. My efforts at cheap publicity were appreciated.
The organisation has close ties with the agricultural colleges in the area. I was mostly in contact in the 2000/2002, but since then have been living a more Urban lifestyle.

Goals of the media

To communicate with the public about the recreational side of the working smallholding. To promote the ecological causes and values of the organisation. To improve networking with other similar similar smallholdings. To advertise any products of the enterprise.

My goals

  • Provide photography and digital media support, including post-processing of said images.
  • To create and provide flyers and similar pamphlets.
  • To create a website as a hub for new media presence
  • To create and add content for the website.
  • To setup a online brochure for the offline sale of additional livestock (mostly poultry).

The website

  • The website was originally designed, in 2000, before I had completed my first degree. As such the first edition was using old technology.
  • Needed wide audience over good technology, as the expected audience doesn't invest heavily in technology.
  • At design time there was uncertainty on the host or environment, so decisions where made in a technology neutral fashion.
  • Was expected to be heavy with photography to accomplish the above media goals.
  • To support the mercantile background of the stakeholders a clean white and ultramarine-blue colour palette was used. This offset the mostly green and brown of the photography.

My activities to further these goals

  • Significant time spent explaining technical knowledge and reasoning to non-technical owners;
  • Provided graphical design for various little events the barn farm was running;
  • Created the enterprises logo;
  • Organised hosting and domain name purchase;
  • Designed the information and site architecture;
  • Organised a professional botanist to assist with bio-survey and general “eco-friendly” media content;
  • Designed letterheads and general publicity used by Barn Farm enterprise;
  • Provide general IT support for client office machines;
  • Spent days on basic photo editing.

Technology involved

This work does not make a good show case for technology as it is too old.

  • Careful consideration of the mutually conflicting requirements of “bandwidth efficient” - most of the audience was to be on the lower grade dial-up modems - and lots of photographs. I resolved this issue by having several different resolutions for each image, and only presenting the large scale images on a page to themselves. Users had the choice of what large scale resolution they wanted.
  • I was doing significant amounts of DTP at this point, and as mentioned above I constructed flyers and “commercial [art] work”. Mostly via Corel Draw and Jasc Paint Shop Pro.
  • This was before DOM was widely stable on Javascript implementations, I had page rewriting via document.write() calls. A working table sort, and some resizing operations.
  • To reduce the amount of time typing HTML, I wrote the content into an intermediate language called lynx. This was a processors I had created in Java, and to be honest should be superseded by Wiki (I wrote it before Wiki available, and GROFF would have been to fiddly for the HTML I wanted).
  • Although hampered by virtually no CSS, I used Javascript and Lynx to manage a menuing system. To reduce bandwidth cost on this I used frames, so the menu was only loaded once.
  • I was using HTML4.1 in 2000.

Actual outcomes

  • Due to my absence during term time, I was less useful for new media than I would have liked;
  • The website was obsolete by the time it was completed. The content has been incorporated into another individuals site for the barn farm;
  • My photography and artwork is present in later publications by the barn farm;
  • At the time was a good learning experience in writing English, as the website content was outside of my normal usage;
  • My graphical layout made good use of space;