A good friend of mine, Sandy, belongs to a Japanese taiko drumming group. I have known Sandy for awhile now, having met her at my first job, where we collaborated on many projects together. Sandy’s taiko group previously had a MySpace page, but decided that they wanted to develop a full-on web presence and they asked me to help them!
The group was not quite sure how they wanted the site to look, but they knew that they wanted several elements on the website, and they knew that they wanted to use the big drum as the basis for their navigation. From there, I drafted up a page based on their input, using the elements in ways that I thought would be visually-appealing, and they liked my draft and wanted to continue along those lines.
They ended up loving the design that I thought up and then set me to creating the site. One challenge in building this site was that this group wanted to be able to edit some particular aspects of the content after I finished building the site. While I am totally cool with handing my clients the code and saying, “Go to it!”, I was concerned because none of them really had much experience in HTML/editing web pages at all, nor do they have the design program I use to build websites.
I thought about it and decided to use plug-ins available on the internet to help them achieve their desire to add things to their website. For instance, they wanted to post a slideshow of pictures. Since they already use Picasa to host their pictures, I used a piece of code Picasa develops so you can post a slideshow of pictures on your website. Similarly, I used another piece of 3rd-party code so that they could also display thumbnails of their photos so that the user can click on the photo he/she wants to see. (Both of these tricks also save room on your webserver; you don’t have to pay extra for a bigger storage amount in order to hold larger sizes of all of your pictures!)
One other thing I did on this website that was the first time I did something like this for one of my clients was to put a Facebook “Like” button on the page. When visitors to their website click on the “Like” button, it automatically adds their group to the Facebook pages that person “likes.”
All-in-all, working with this group was a good experience because they are very creative and keen thinkers about what they want their website to do! It challenged me to learn how to do things in new ways. Since creating this site (last fall), I have applied some of my new tricks to the sites of some of my other clients. Very cool!
If you want, you can check out the site for yourself: http://www.lamatsuritaiko.com