tMP Exclusive Interview with Mandy Pickles Webmaster – Darwen Brass By way of an introduction, could you please tell us a little about yourself My name is Mandy Pickles and was born in 1971. I live in Kelbrook Lancs (formally Yorks) with my partner Phil Parris. We have 2 lovely boys aged 11 and 6 and I have just undertaken a position of Instrumental music tutor with Lancashire Music Service. I starting my playing career with Barnoldswick Brass Band at the age of 11. I have played with Skipton Brass, Stacksteads Brass Band and Longridge Band before settling with Blackburn & Darwen Band some 16+ years ago until up to a few months ago where I became a player of Darwen Brass (although I have been involved as Chairperson since its formation). 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 Soprano Cornet with Darwen Brass. How long have you been involved in web design, and how did you first get involved in it? I began web designing on Darwen Brass's first website in the later quarter of 2007. I felt as a new band it would be of great benefit for the band to show its progress for all to see. After playing around with a few free website builders on the web I stumbled across Mr Site. I opted for this site as it was aimed for the beginner yet also had features for the more experienced. Do you manage/run any other web sites, if so, which ones? Nope What applications did you use to build your site and why did you choose these? All the applications I use are part of the website builder on Mr Site. 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 had a general idea as to what I wanted the website to look like and wanted to incorporate features such as a "meet the players" page which would take you to a band seating plan and when you clicked on a chair (yes, I know they look like toilets It took you to the said players profile. So I listed pages which I thought would benefit our visitors wanting to find information about the band. For example: About us, news, contact details etc, and worked through my list. What content do you feel should be included on a brass band www site? I think at the very least visitors should be able to find out some history on the band, recent news, meet the players and MD, a guest book where people can make comments, feature your helpers of the band (I think we all know how much help and support our non-playing members give and I think it is important we show our appreciation to these members) and most importantly a contact page. Do you use innovative ideas on your www site? Apart from the toilet seats on our "meet the players" page I don't think I do. Why should people visit Darwen Brass www site? Due to Darwen Brass being a relatively new band formed in 2007 I would like to think that visitors to Darwen Brass's website could bring a little inspiration to the banding world. We all know that brass players have been in decline for some time now and it is becoming increasingly difficult to fill bands with players. We would just like to show the banding world that with time and effort (and a bit of luck) in less than 12 months you could have full band which is ready to participate in competition with other bands. What do you feel is important when designing and implementing www sites…? Ease of use for the visitor and do some homework via the web regarding cost. There are plenty of free websites with hosting out there to get you started, then should you wish to have your own domain name and no adverts with a few bells and whistles thrown in on your site then there are some very cheap options so even bands with the tightest of budgets can get onto the www. How long did this site actually take you to build? Although there are still a few more bits to add including a few player profiles to complete the site it took 2 weeks to build. Can I just take this opportunity to say If there is anyone from Darwen Brass reading this and haven't submitted their profiles DO IT NOW!!!!