Week 131

I’m never quite sure how to start these things. When (as this week) I’m catching up from having missed a week I’m inclined to say something about how the situation is an indication of how the past fortnight has been. But that’s already feeling a little tired. I need to get into the habit of just writing something quick if in the midst of a specially busy/fractured week, and probably just dive in the rest of the time.

The big news of the past week is that the refresh of the Greenbelt website that we’ve been working on for the past few weeks went live on Friday. As I mentioned last time, it feels like an important step (even though much of the structure is unchanged). The festival’s really been realising over the past couple of years the volume and value of content produced and captured over that one weekend each August, and the appetite among festivalgoers for more regular content, and the prominence of the blog and the new ‘media’ section are a reflection of that. We’re also really pushing the Dispatches newsletter and have reworked the design of that, moved it to Campaign Monitor, and extended its reach to about 10x the previous subscriber list. I’m very hopeful that this work will provide a really strong base for ongoing growth.

That’s my second site launch of the month; I think I may have forgotten to mention that the Street Action site was also relaunched a few weeks back. We’re bringing news to the fore, with a stronger emphasis on photos and videos. That was particularly important as the organisation presented their key research project in parliament and was deeply involved in the highly successful Street Child World Cup over the past few weeks. There’s a lot more we want to do, but again it feels like a good step forward.

Other than those two there have been some odds and ends for Generous and a couple of other clients, but the real emphasis has continued to be on Justinian. It’s coming together as we enter the final week, and we’ve been working very successfully with SVG to lay out a relatively complex set of data in a cleanly scalable manner. Having kept half-an-eye on SVG for years it’s been refreshing to see how smoothly it’s worked in modern browsers. (We’re generating the SVG using a Rails 3 backend). It was specially good to have Ben Griffiths join us for a few days – his experience running a software team was really helpful, and he challenged a few assumptions in a manner that set us on a much more fruitful path.

So the coming week will hopefully see us wrapping up Justinian, a little more work on DAPI, and then a few days’ break. This past week I was supposed to attend the Ecampaigning Forum in Oxford, but I didn’t make it as I’d worn myself out with work (and the effects of a toddler who decided to take a few days off from sleeping). The idea of a long weekend off is very attractive.

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