David Turner

GROW - Project Brief

This week marks the beginning of further distraction from the Major Project the Live Project. I'm kind of split on the whole idea of it, as it serves as a fantastic way to distract me from my Major Project but, at the same time, is for a very good cause.

This post is going to cover what I took away from our first, and potentially only, meeting with Siobhan Craig who is a representative from the client, GROW Community Gardening Charity.

Wee Bitta Background

As mentioned above, this week we met with a representative from Grow, one Siobhan Craig. This meeting took place during our normal lecture slot, and consisted of Siobhan giving us a simple, to the point, presentation that talked about what GROW is about and what it does. This was followed by a Q&A session in which she answered our questions.

It was nice to be able to actually talk with the client about what they want and to get answers that actually helped... something that is lacking from my own Freelance work all to often. At the same time, some of the answers were, at the time, quite terrifying. Fortunately the scariest part, the timeframe for the work, was dealt with quite swiftly by The Standardistas via the wonders of the Twitterwebs:

Live Project Deadline Fears Resolved
Live Project Deadline Fears Resolved

The Meeting

The meeting with the client was actually quite enjoyable. I'd never heard of GROW prior to the meeting and, it turns out, what they do is pretty cool. GROW are, as I've mentioned above, a local charity that seeks to help bring communities together using community gardens. They have been doing this from April of this year with the aim, as stated on their current blog, of:

Our aim is to promote community development, tackle food poverty and improve health and wellbeing through organic community gardening and sustainable living.

This is a noble goal, trying to improve communities in multiple ways and in multiple locations.

The meeting itself covered a lot of things that Siobhan believes that Grow wants from the project. For the most part, I agree with the things she brought up though I am fairly sure that some of them could be implemented differently, or better, than the manner Siobhan has suggested. That's one of the things that we, as a designers and developers, have to tackle ourselves for our clients. There's typically a reason that we are approached to do something for a client. It's because we have knowledge that relates to how we can convert the ideas a client has to what they both want and need their site to be.

What I Took from the Meeting

I picked up quite a few things from the meeting. The first is that there's a lot of work, which has immediately added to my stress levels. Fortunately, I tend to work pretty damned well under stress and pressure, so this might actually help motivate me to get stuff done.

Aside from personal stress I also noted down quite a few things relating to the GROW project itself. The things I noticed, and noted down, are:

  • Client wants a CMS for the site
    • WordPress was mentioned by client, and would probably be a good fit for the project
  • Site needs to be Future Proof
    • Site needs to be able to handle expansion in the future
  • Needs user management for members of community
    • WordPress has functionality for this build in
    • WordPress plugin BuddyPress might be a better way to handle community users, providing a miniblog for each user
  • Blogs for each garden
    • Currently they have two gardens, but there will probably be more in the future
  • Want to make use of Social Media
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • Newsletters
      • Mailchimp would make for a suitable tool to handle this, and is something I have some experience with.
  • Branding
    • Web
    • Print

This covers the things that the client wants from the project. That's a pretty lengthy list, and it just covers what they want in general terms. The topic of content that they want for the site was brought up and, as it was brought up, I noted it down:

  • Home Page
    • Mission Statement
  • About GROW
  • Learn
  • The Gardens
    • Map of Sites
      • Capable of including non-GROW Projects
      • Different markers for different projects?
  • Why Get Involved?
  • Getting Involved
  • Support
  • News
  • Funders & Sponsors

All in all this strikes me as a rather standard list of content for most sites. I've worked with charities before, and for the most part this is on par with work I have done for them.

In addition to content there was some discussion with Siobhan regarding the kind of design she would like to see the site have. Whilst this isn't necessarily the be all and end all of my design options, it's always a good idea to know what your client has in mind, even if you decide that it might be better to go in a different direction:

  • Modern
  • Clean
  • Easy to use
  • Not Clunky
  • No big banners with black backgrounds

All in all this gives me plenty to be thinking about when it comes to researching and branding for this project, which I shall be doing over the coming days.