One of my favourite web design and development projects was to create a website for the Southampton Cenotaph Friends and Family Group. This came about via Southampton Solent University when I was asked if I could create a website for the group. It was a really interesting project that I got some students involved in. I set the site up in Wordpress.com. The idea being that it would be possible for the Friends and Family Group to update the pages themselves. Wordpress is great for that. The students made some media for the site including a short film and some interactive elements that they built in Flash as part of their course work.
In Wordpress you can create your own header image. I wanted to create a montage that captured the era. I had recently visited the museum of the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley on the outskirts of Southampton. There is only the original chapel left now that contains the museum. I knew that they had some fantastic photographs on display of World War 1 soldiers. So I asked if I could use them and they very kindly lent them to me so that I could scan them. That let me create the header image:
I did a few training sessions for the group and these days they are self sufficient with the website with some technical support from a phone call or an email away. The site has grown to be a fantastic social history resource for the soldiers and servicemen whose names are remembered on the Southampton Cenotaph. The group have a team of volunteer researchers that trace the stories. Many members of the public who are descendants and realtives of the servicemen have got in touch, often from overseas, via the website.
A great example is the page for Edward Sibley who was killed in action at Ypres. Please follow this link and have a look at the page. The story is very moving as are all the stories of course.Elizabeth Foundation
Another great project was creating the website for the Elizabeth Foundation. The Elizabeth Foundation work with preschool deaf children and their parents. As part of building the site I visited the Elizabeth Foundation school for young deaf children near Portsmouth. The staff are so dedicated and caring. It was great to meet some of the staff and see their work. The site is still in use several years later.
That work led on to creating websites for two other charities who work to support deaf children. I set up the websites in Wordpress for the Ewing Foundation and the Ovingdean Hall Foundation. The big advantage of Wordpress is that the staff in those organisations can create and update their own pages.
I also work as an lecturer at Southampton Solent University where I teach first, second and third year students web design. Find out more about that in the Educator section.