I'm Watching Big Brother

Posted Thursday, January 28, 2010, 1:20 PM

My older brother is well known amongst his peers. He was the head of an organisation significant amongst the Maori population, known as Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, and was the visible face and spokesperson whenever there was a need for comment on Maori issues. In that role, he had opportunities to meet dignitaries and visiting celebrities, and interacted directly with political figures. It was quite impressive to have a family member so prominent in the news, especially for such good reasons.

He doesn't have that job anymore, but after leaving for a brief semi-retirement, has returned to that same organisation in a less prominent position. He now represents the Maori people just for the localised region of Otago, and he figured he needed to communicate to the people he represents, so wanted a website, where he can update folks on Tribal matters, as well as air a few of his personal thoughts.

As I am a website designer (and always looking for new work) he asked me to build the site for him. I put together a few design samples, which he liked, and I found a good CMS software to host it in. ExpressionEngine is easy to figure out (after a bit of head-meets-keyboard bashing to distinguish the various levels of hierarchy involved) and gives ultimate power to the designer, not rigidly adhering to template structure for the HTML.

After working for a couple of weeks within the original design idea I had put forward, I realised it just wasn't working. It didn't look as good as most modern websites, and there wasn't enough room set aside for expansion, so I sat back and rethought it. Over a couple of days I figured out a complete redesign, which gave the text more space to breathe. And I've also dripfed new features in, every couple of days.

In the end, I am very pleased with how it came together. My brother seems to like it, too, and he's shown it around to some people and they've given positive feedback.

I think there's a likelihood I will be getting some more work out of this, fingers crossed. And you can't hope for better than that.

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