Saturday, September 12, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

I promised to write here about what had been keeping me away from blogging for a good while before I went away. I write often about Growing Old Disgracefully, the network for older women to which I belong, and it is working on a job for them that has kept me busy.

We used to have a website for a number of years, a simple brochure on line set up by one of our members, but we ran into problems and a year ago it was closed down permanently by the host. In discussions with the members about setting it up again a lot of interest was shown in enlarging it to include a 'members only' section, in which news and events and reports could be posted.

This would be a much bigger undertaking than before and not all were agreed upon its desirability. In the twenty years since it began, the organisation has only slowly become computer-literate. I believe I was the first to publish my email address in the newsletter in 1999, and now, ten years later, we still have only 50% of our membership on the internet. But there was a strong urge to bring ourselves up-to-date in the world of the web, and a sum of money was voted to allow us to employ professional designers for the job.

A small working group was set up in the spring to explore the possibilities, to establish our requirements, and to approach a number of designers and commission one of them to do the work. Through unforseen circumstances a group which should have been 4 was whittled down to two, of whom I was one. And so began a very sharp learning curve for the two of us, both of us fairly competent computer users, but having no notion about how websites are built. We asked for help wherever we could, and there has been a constant stream of emails - she lives in Oldham and I live in Hertfordshire. We only met once to get to know each other, and to lay out our ideas of what was needed, and how we should go about it.

The next time we met was three weeks ago in Harrogate, when we were able to report to the Annual Business Meeting that we had commissioned the designers - (appropriately a firm of women website designers) - who had set up a temporary holding page for us with contact details, so that Growing Old Disgracefully is once more on the worldwide web. They began work with us straight away on the main website, and on Wednesday next the two of us are having a project meeting with them in Manchester, to firm up the structure of the new website and a whole lot of other matters that need dealing with - more than I could possibly have imagined at the start!

The learning process still goes on, of course, and I find I have to keep very focussed in order not to lose my way. It is really hard work, and there are times when I feel it is making demands on my stamina (physical and mental) which I am barely able to meet. But it is fascinating, and creative in a way that I enjoy, and my colleague and I work very comfortably together. But I do wish at times that we were a business in an office, and not a nationwide organisation in which we all work from home!


annie said...

Well, congratulations to you both for doing this. My level of computer literacy is still so low that I can't even imagine what you are wiggling and tweaking-- I'd be twittering and squeaking.
Good luck.

Jen said...

Good on you! I'm very computer literate but I have yet to learn about web design - I'm terribly impressed.

Lee said...

Busy's good.

kapgaf said...

Your brain has always seemed particularly sharp to me, so it comes as no surprise that a sharp learning curve should be well within your capacities!

's all wrong said...

Gosh, I am seriously impressed! I have recently started a stop/start blog but have no idea how I do it!
Perhaps you would be kind enough to have a minute to look and tell me what a prat I am making of myself?? I have responded in the past as 'anon', but am the lidy! who lost you for several weeks when you were ill last year - if that helps!! Sue