tMP Exclusive Interview with Keith Welsh - Webmaster The Oldham Band (Lees)

Discussion in 'WOM Interviews' started by Di, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. Di

    Di Active Member

    tMP Exclusive Interview with Keith Welsh
    Webmaster – The Oldham Band (Lees)

    By way of an introduction, could you please tell us a little about yourself

    My name is Keith Welsh. I’m 35 years old/young (depending on your point of view) and play 2nd Trombone with The Oldham Band (Lees). I am also on the band committee so am actively involved there as well. I’m married to the very understanding Tracey (13 years in August!!) and have three cracking kids, Liam 12, Amy 9 and Abby 9 (the children play for Boarshurst Youth Band so as you can imagine I have very little spare time!) I am Asst Studio/eCommerce Manager for the one of the largest Educational Products Suppliers in the world and also freelance whenever time allows.

    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 took up playing the Trom again (after quitting when I was at school) 3 years ago. I was bitten by the bug after watching my son in the various bands he was involved in.

    How long have you been involved in web design, and how did you first get involved in it?
    I first got involved with web design after being asked to produce some designs for a client that I’d done some freelance work for in the past. My job is to produce everything from single page leaflets to 1400 page catalogues – in printed format. So I was eager to learn some new skills and jumped at the chance to give the Oldham Band (Lees) site a revamp.

    Do you manage/run any other web sites, if so, which ones?
    I currently only manage/run The Oldham Band (Lees) and my own site I have however produced the design templates for other websites for varying businesses.

    What applications did you use to build your site and why did you choose these?
    I used iWeb, Macromedia Dreamweaver 8, Adobe Creative Suite CS2. I find that although iWeb seems very confined to particular templates, you can change them radically and create your own very easily. It also takes control of creating the CSS and HTML coding so that you can concentrate totally on the design aspects.

    Please can you explain for us how you prepared and planned for the development of the site when asked to implement this for the band?
    I looked at the old site and at many other websites, not just brass band ones, and spoke to varying band and committee members as I felt it was important that they have their say on how it should look. I wanted something that wasn’t too dark. Something that was modern and clean but also had a sense of tradition about it. I think the final design fitted the requirements perfectly.

    What content do you feel should be included on a brass band www site?
    As the main reason for the website is to market the band I feel that you should remember that you are giving information to a potentially very wide demographic. It’s for this reason that apart from the usual galleries, player profiles and engagement list, you need to provide something for everyone. You should remember the players themselves and give them a section of the website that is for them and them alone. An area whereby they have access to a more detailed engagements list that includes directions to concerts etc., a bulletin board so to speak that lists band activities and news (not necessarily relating to an upcoming performance.)
    Providing links to various band related sites assist’s visitors that may already be involved in the banding movement. As for your supporters and spectators – they want to know when and where you are performing, how to contact you and what you sound like (if they haven’t heard you before).

    Do you use innovative ideas on your www site?
    Whilst it is all too easy to want an all singing all dancing website that has animation and sound. You have to remember that at the end of the day you have a message to get across in a very short space of time. Innovative ideas can be simple things from ways to get the people viewing to move around your entire website to getting them to visit specific areas.

    Why should people visit The Oldham Band (Lees) www site?
    People should give the website a visit, most obviously, because it contains everything you need to know about the band - from where we will be to where we have been and what we did when we were there! It is always evolving and I hope to have more updates coming soon that will involve the general public more. If you live near Oldham and you want to get your children involved in banding, there is also the Lees Youth Band….contact details on the site.

    What do you feel is important when designing and implementing www sites…?
    To keep things simple. Don’t try to impress the viewer too much visually. The one thing in common that all surfers have is that they don’t want to be kept waiting whilst your latest soundtrack or flash animation downloads. They want information and they want it quickly.

    How long did this site actually take you to build?
    I couldn’t actually tell you. I built the initial site in my spare time and it grew from there (and still is). I’m constantly trying thinking up new ideas – all I need is the time (and in some cases the bandwidth) to implement them!

    How do you manage the content on your web site and do you have a publishing policy?
    I carry out all updates to the site but generally pass all my ideas by the committee first for approval. All band members have signed a waiver agreeing to have images of them on the site. This is especially important where there is a name directly linked to a person’s image (even more so in the case of minors.) By operating this way we can be sure that we don’t post any incorrect updates or upset anyone in the process.

    What would you recommend as the best way to start to learn about designing and building www sites?
    Get a clear picture of what you want to do (map it out first if necessary) then just give it a go. Don’t be put off by the web – you can always work on your local hard drive first then publish it later, when you’re ready. If you have any mates that are a bit more web savvy, pick their brains big time. There’s no substitute for the information that you can gain from experienced web designers.

    Do you have a favourite technical reference book for budding web designers?
    Nope. Never used one. If I got stuck I’d either ask a mate, read the help files in my software package or get on the web and checkout the information that’s readily available.

    How do you see the influence of the internet assisting the banding movement over the next 5 to 10 years?
    You only have to wait until Whit Friday, Harrogate and Pontins to see the amount of comments and general banter that comes and goes in this sites forums. This can only be good for the banding movement. People that want a band to join, advice about an instrument, to talk about a test piece… the answers are there - you’ve just got to jump in and ask.

    With the onset of podcasts, information has become available in a much faster way. Imagine the day when the Harrogate Nationals are on and you’re listening or even watching the LIVE performances on your iPod or at home on your computer.

    In most visited order, what are your 5 most frequently used www sites?
    Not just saying this but…. - I liked to keep up with what’s going on. - I’m a big Lost and Heroes fan….you can watch the latest here! - OF COURSE! - the forum site for those in the design/print industry - It’s my site – of course I look at it now and again!

    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. - a great site for learning how to use software packages. From Photoshop to dreamweaver. - stock.xchange (leading stock photography site.) I use this all the time to buy images that I haven’t the time to set up a photographic shoot for or sometimes just for a bit of inspiration.

    Could you please name your all time favourite www site, and why so?
    It’s got to be

    I’m a complete Mac and gadget freak. I hate PCs (sorry to all you Bill Gates fans). I think apples’ website is the ultimate in user friendly. They’ve thought of everything. Apart from that….you get to just sit and look at the iPhone etc. (I really need to get a life!)

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

    What do you do to relax and unwind?
    I used to go fishing with my son but haven’t got the time anymore. So I like to spend as much time as I can with my family, watching a good movie – having a drink or three!

    Tell us something about yourself that we don't already know.
    Along with other people in my class when I was studying at what was then Manchester Polytechnic, I helped to break the world record for the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world!! It filled the GMEX. (Proud moment!)

    What are your other hobbies?
    Band is one of my main hobbies these days. The other is transporting my kids all over the place to their rehearsals and concerts/contests/lessons.

    What do you drive?
    In order to be able to get the children (and myself) to their band jobs I drive a Citroen Picasso. Not glamorous I grant you. But it holds a Trombone, Cornet, Tenor Horn and Baritone plus music folders quite nicely thank you. (Picture the logistical nightmare on Whit Friday!!)

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