Developing a photography website for an International audience
European Prospects: Visual Explorations in an Undiscovered Continent is a collaborative project which uses photography and contemporary art to examine questions of identity and experience in an enlarged European Union. The core partners are Ffotogallery in Cardiff, Fotosommer Stuttgart, the Lithuanian Photographers Association in Kaunas and Le Château d’Eau in Toulouse.
When we began working on the project the brief felt very constrained and restrictive, which we initially through was usual given that the primary aim of the project was to question identity through photography, yet the brief didn’t seem to support this. The lead and commissioning partner Ffotogalley were keen on using the website both to feature photographers and artists work that really focused on European Identity and its culture, but alongside this they felt the website should provide these individuals with a platform to focus information and updates: an industry noticeboard.
We took these constraints and mapped them: initially we produced a number of paths through the potential website content from the point of view of a number of users. This helped us understand what the format information on the site should be published and where features were needed.
These paths were used to rethink how the information could and should be displayed. We worked up the majority of the website as rich design visuals to give the stakeholders a real sense of how the website will look and feel. This proved to be an excellent tool to prototype the website against the user paths that we established early in the project, before moving into the development of the site.
The content management system we used was Drupal, which is fully open source and supported by a vast online community. Using Drupal allowed us to create some really neat behind the scenes features. Features like Drag & Drop image uploading, a really welcomed addition, allowing the administration of the site to run a little smoother; especially when lots of photographs are uploaded in one hit. These functions were then built into a responsive template, which provided access to the website over mobile, tablet and desktop devices.
The website was launched at an international Symposium that took place in Cardiff and received some really great feedback from photographers, curators and the project stakeholders.