Watch our Launch Video:
Read on for a more detailed overview of how the FOTV website came about!
Website version 0.1
The idea for a dedicated FOTV website was floated at the very first Friends of the Village Executive Committee meeting at the end of 2018. It was important for FOTV to have its own hub of information, aligned but separate from communications coming from the school.
After consulting the LLV Principal, Stephanie, it was resolved to work closely with the school to have the website built by LLV students, who were already building the LLV website.
FOTV Executive Committee members Oleh and Jason worked with LLV students Ben and Sophie on the alpha version of the FOTV website. The school provided both technical and academic support, to ensure that the necessary resources were available and so that the students were able to work on the projects as part of their LLV learning experience. The students’ parents were also involved, participating in progress meetings and receiving all communications related to the website development projects. Here are the results of a whiteboard session between Jason, Sophie and Ben that focussed on the website’s information architecture (IA):
Work progressed steadily on both websites throughout 2019, including a significant contribution of FOTV content from Foundation Year President, Jill. However, it was agreed that the LLV website should be prioritised due to its more public-facing nature.
The Lindfield Learning Village website (https://www.lindfieldlearningvillage.com.au/) was successfully launched in Term 4 2019:
The FOTV website was to be launched soon after but a technical issue delayed the project indefinitely. It would have to wait until 2020.
The start to 2020 for Friends of the Village saw its AGM being held and a new Executive Committee taking the reins. Planning for the year began in earnest, including the determination of the best way forward for the website. But then………COVID-19!
The website was put on the backburner as FOTV focussed on promoting connectedness amongst the LLV community, supporting LLV teachers & staff and checking-in on parents & carers.
Website planning commenced at the beginning of Term 2, with alternative communications platforms considered. The FOTV Executive Committee resolved to continue with plans for a P&C website – to be the authoritative source for Friends of the Village information and as the foundation for potential future digital applications. Given that it was now 18 months in the making and there was still no finish line in sight, it was determined to seek quotes from reasonably-priced website services agencies to continue the work commenced in 2019 and fast track development of an FOTV website.
A New Direction
A proposal from Sean Brokenshire, digital consultant and former Web Manager at Medecins Sans Frontieres Australia, was tabled at the Term 2 Friends of the Village General Meeting – FOTV’s first general meeting held virtually. FOTV members voted overwhelmingly in favour of adopting the new design and approach proposed by Sean.
Sean took the FOTV Executive Committee through an audience-focussed process and developed a new website design and updated information architecture, leveraging the work that had been done on IA in 2019. Significantly, Sean developed a new logo and colour palette for Friends of the Village – aligning closely with LLV’s branding but having a distinct identity:
Putting it all together
Sean then worked closely with Jason (that’s me!) to implement the required functionality of the website, including the determination of optimal ways to present content. The tailored Search function is something we’re quite chuffed with, allowing parents & carers to filter FOTV news items and events by tags such as Stage, Primary/Secondary, Onsite/Offsite, Fundraising, etc.
Then commenced the mountain of work to author, source and wrangle content to populate the website’s pages, news items and events. This included uploading agendas, pre-reads, slide decks and minutes for every FOTV General Meeting held so far. This content is only available to members so requires a password that is available via private LLV and FOTV channels. Sourcing authentic LLV imagery with permissions to use was also a challenge. Thanks to Stephanie for providing images of the school and to Kirsten Ammann for the fun photo-shoot of LLV students in the front playground.
As the website was being developed (and content written), initial feedback was provided by FOTV Executive Committee members. When the website functionality and content was approx. 90% complete, a link to it was sent to various parents in the LLV community to gain feedback, in particular, initial impressions. A broad cross-section of opinions was sought: primary & secondary, male & female and varying levels of involvement in the school community. The feedback received directly led to changes in the way that content was presented on the website, how users navigate around the website and actual content itself. Here are a couple of feedback examples that led to changes:
The final avenue of feedback came from the LLV Executive team – they loved it!
Ready for Lift-off!
Once all feedback was received and changes implemented, it was time to move the website from its development environment to the live hosting environment. This brought with it numerous rounds of technical system testing and final content updates (including this news item!). The FOTV Website was (finally!) launched mid-way through Term 4 2020.
The Friends of the Village website will continue to evolve and be built upon as the needs of LLV parents & carers evolve. It’s primary initial purpose is to provide an authoritative source for all FOTV-related information and communications, including a readily accessible repository of major FOTV decisions encapsulated in general meeting minutes. If you have any suggestions for how we can improve it, please drop us a line via the Contact page.
Coming soon: a video of our web guru, Sean Brokenshire, outlining the thinking behind the design and development of the FOTV website.