tMP Exclusive Interview with Darran West - Webmaster YBS Band

Discussion in 'WOM Interviews' started by Di, May 2, 2006.

  1. Di

    Di Active Member

    tMP Exclusive Interview with Darran West - Webmaster YBS Band
    Web Site of the Month Award Winner - Dec 2004/Jan 2005

    By way of an introduction, could you please tell us a little about yourself
    My name is Darran West. I was born in Rochdale and grew up in a village called Wardle, which is three miles from Rochdale. My parents still live in the village and I have no brothers and sisters. I'm 32 years old. I now live in a village called Southowram, near Brighouse. I am the head of music at Hipperholme & Lightcliffe High School, near Brighouse.

    Are you actively involved in playing a brass instrument with any band, or do you simply undertake the web design on behalf of a band?

    I play BBb bass for the band. I started playing 20 years ago when I attended Wardle High School.

    How long have you been involved in web design how did you first get involved in it?
    Around 4 years. We had a lot of pictures of the band which we wanted to share with each other. I put them together on a site so that we could look at them. I also put together a site which contains panoramic pictures I have taken of Wardle and the surrounding area.

    Do you manage/run any other web sites, if so, which ones?

    http://www.tubaloopy.plus.com/wardle (the panoramic pictures of Wardle)

    What applications did you use to build your site and why did you choose these?

    I use Dreamweaver for the band site. We have a site licence school so that choice was made for me.

    Please can you explain for us how you prepared and planned for the development of the site when asked to implement this for the YBS Band?

    I looked at lots of different websites (not just brass band ones) to get an idea of how they planned the layout of their web pages. I found that Amazon was an easy site to navigate around due to the permanent links at the top of each page to their different shop departments (books, electronics, etc.). I then applied this to the YBS site and created several templates in Dreamweaver (standard, player profile, band sections, shop, diary and gallery). All of the pages have the same set of links at the top and the different areas are all navigated in a similar fashion. I then tried several designs on paper first of all before creating the templates on the computer.

    Once the basic site had been created I asked several members of the band (plus some staff and pupils from school) to look at the site and test it.

    What content do you feel should be included on a brass band www site?

    Information on the bands players, news about the band and where it will be playing. Sound files of the band playing are also nice if you can add them.

    Do you use innovative ideas on your www site?

    Probably not. The site is made from standard HTML code so that it can be maintained easily.

    Why should people visit the YBS Band www site?

    Any news about the band goes on the site before being released elsewhere.

    What do you feel is important when designing and implementing www sites…?

    A simple, uncomplicated design, which people can navigate around without any major problems.

    How long did this site actually take you to build?

    Around two months from drawing on paper, adding all the content and then going live just before Christmas 2004.

    How do you manage the content on your web site and do you have a publishing policy?

    The content of the site is managed by me using Dreamweaver. We don't have a publishing policy; if we want to add some details about the band to the site then we do. We only add information about the band.

    What would you recommend as the best way to start to learn about designing and building www sites?

    Look at lots of other sites and make a note of how the arrange their main niavigation links (e.g. Amazon, 4 Barsrest). Keep your main navigation links consistent across your site and don't move them from one location to another (e.g. from the top to the left in some sections).

    Do you have a favourite technical reference book for budding web designers?

    No.

    How do you see the influence of the internet assisting the banding movement over the next 5 to 10 years?

    By allowing bands a greater amount of publisity. No matter how well known a band is they can have a site on the internet to let people know how they are doing.

    In most visited order, what are your 5 most frequently used www sites?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk,
    http://www.google.com,
    http://www.4barsrest.com,
    http://www.dpreview.com,
    http://www.pbase.com


    Can you let our members know of any other www sites you feel are interesting to visit but are not in your top 5, and why this is so.

    http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/timessquare/index.php?cam=1
    See Time Square in New York live and in real time.


    http://earth.google.com
    Not really a website but from there you can download the free program and zoom around the world. If you live in the UK you can enter your postcode and get taken straight to your street.


    Could you please name your all time favourite www site, and why so?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk
    because it covers news stories in such great detail and across so many different topics
    .


    Do you use online community forums, if so, which ones do you use?

    No.

    What do you do to relax and unwind?

    Listen to music and read.

    Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.

    I don't like heights.

    What are your other hobbies?

    Walking and photography.

    What do you drive?

    A red Toyota Yaris T3
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2006

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