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December 20, 2005 | Suw Charman Anderson

The ORG website - we need a designer!

We had one of those moments last week when we realised that, because almost everyone involved in ORG has bucketfuls of experience of designing and launching websites (indeed, I started working as a web designer/developer in '98, and I can do this shit with my hands tied behind my back), the one thing that had escaped our attention was, in fact, the website. I'd been meaning to sit down and have a 'proper think about it' at some point, but got carried away with the new challenges of setting up an NGO instead and somehow 'never quiet got round to it'. It's funny how that works. You'd think that, given our collective expertise, we'd be all over the website like a rash, but instead it got put to one side as we grappled with the new, unfamiliar - and I'd say significantly harder - problems. Having realised that we really need to sort this website out, though, we have grabbed a hold of it by the jugular and are giving it a good shake. We've got a Wordpress/PHP/Perl developer guru who's happy to look after that side of things, but now we need a shithot designer to make everything look nice. We are looking for:

A dab hand with CSS to design the ORG blog (both static pages and blog posts in Wordpress), wiki (MediaWiki unless you have a better idea) and supporters' website. You will need to be able to work on this project immediately, alongside a project manager and our aforementioned developer on a pro bono basis.
If you would like to help out and have time to devote to this project, please send us an email with examples of your work. We also need a logo. I always consider logo design to be a somewhat specialised discipline. I used to be a reasonable web designer, but my logo design skills... well, let's just say they suck, and leave it at that. If logo design is your bag, then we would love to hear from you. The brief for the logo is pretty simple, really:
The logo should have a long form, which includes the words 'Open Rights Group' and a short form, using the acronym ORG. It should be suitable for website, web kites, headed notepaper, business cards, t-shirts and stickers (including small ones). The logo should simple, distinctive and easily recognisable. Colours should be professional, with a slight hint of 'in yer face'-ness - no pink or corporate blue. The font should be clean and unfussy.
Please do email us to talk about it further if you'd like to be involved with the logo design. If you're really observant, you'll have noticed incremental improvements in the blog already. We're going to continue that, so please do bear with us whilst we sort everything else out and try to drag ourselves up out of beta.

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Comments (10)

  1. Mrs Trellis:
    Jan 05, 2006 at 12:19 AM

    Whilst it's nice of you to ask, I have the artistic abilities of a sperm whale. I can, however, make a few simple suggestions from the standpoint of an ordinary, interested layperson (who works for a large internet retailing company). Please email me if this would be helpful.

    This site will be most people's first impression of ORG - how else is anyone supposed to find out about your activities?

    I'm not trying to be "snipy". I believe I made a fair comment and I very much want this organisation to be a success. Even the WI has a moderately decent online presence these days (http://www.womens-institute.co.uk/).

    The issue of data retention is very important, but it is not going to go anywhere in the time it would take to cobble together a simple website.

    As for what people say about ORG on their blogs, you should know more than most that even multinational corporations are really sitting up and taking notice of blogging these days. If you can't expect Sony or Apple to control what is said about them on the internet, I don't think ORG can either. You should welcome the publicity - at least people are talking about you and this will drive them to the website!

  2. Mark:
    Dec 29, 2005 at 03:11 PM

    Hope yall have a Wikipedia entry too like EFF. I'll check. Keep up the good work!

  3. Suw Charman:
    Jan 02, 2006 at 01:26 PM

    Yes, we do have a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Rights_Group

  4. Mrs Trellis:
    Jan 03, 2006 at 10:58 AM

    Given the nature of your campaign, perhaps a good website should have been a prerequisite, rather an afterthought?

  5. Suw Charman:
    Jan 03, 2006 at 11:06 AM

    Since July, everything has been a prerequisite. Trying to do something constructive to help the fight against data retention, for example, seemed a touch more important than the website. Certainly the website's not an afterthought, though. That makes it sound like it's the last thing on our list, which it isn't.

    We didn't go through the same process that, say, DRI or ORC went through, where they got their shit together and then launched. We basically launched in July with nothing more than a pledge, and then spent the next several months trying to get our shit together. Arse about face, but that's how it happened.

    That aside, though, are you able to help out with a design, Mrs Trellis?

  6. The Media:
    Jan 04, 2006 at 02:39 AM

    Why does Mrs Trellis need to be able to help out with a design? She raises a legitimate point. Does everyone raising a legitimate point only get heard if they're devoting time to your flagging, poorly-conceived and badly presented website?

    From reading some online reviews of your activities thus far, I see the idea that criticism is somehow off limits and that we should positively channel that energy or shut up is what you're all about. Rather trite and stupid. You have a terrible website. Sort it out and don't ask that those of us honest enough to point it out do it for you.

    Come along and a happy, Open, 2006.

    xx

  7. Suw Charman:
    Jan 04, 2006 at 11:35 AM

    The Media: Both Mrs Trellis' comment, and yours, are really redundant considering that we know, and have said on the blog, that the site needs work. Your assumption that criticism is off-limits is erroneous, but you are correct that I would prefer people to be constructive and helpful, rather than just make snipy comments. Honesty has nothing to do with it - you're not being any more or less 'honest' than anyone else leaving comments, or us, by pointing out flaws that we've already acknowledged. Finally, if you're judging us by what people are saying about us on their blogs, then you should at least acknowledge that your standpoint can't be that well balanced. Try looking at the wiki and reading our blog to find out what we've been doing instead.

  8. Suw Charman:
    Jan 11, 2006 at 04:25 PM

    There's a brief on the wiki if anyone would find that useful.

  9. A.:
    Jan 16, 2006 at 05:09 PM

    Web kites? We want real kites! And thongs!

  10. Tom Coates:
    Jan 22, 2006 at 10:39 PM

    It's clearly redundant to be abrasive about the delay in fixing up the site - which clearly isn't the best on the internet. There's a lot of work to do in setting up an organisation like this, particularly one that's bootstrapping itself as it goes like ORG, and it seems perfectly reasonable to me to prioritise establishing and clarifying a mission, organising funding and sorting out the legal side of the whole arrangemente. Now, a few months on, they have time to make it a priority and they're working on fixing it.

    To 'The Media' - criticism is clearly not off limits, but your particular criticisms were clearly not very helpful under the circumstances. Limited resources means that some things will take longer to happen. Not everything will be perfect from the outset. Anyway, I'll be circulating the request around the designers I know.



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