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Project HappyChild NEWS - Issue 11
1st July 1999
Welcome to Issue 11 of Project HappyChild News.
In response to requests we have now set up an "Archive" of all 1999 issues of Project HappyChild News at http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/news/1999/index.htm . The monthly Newsletter has only been on line for the last few months and only the current month is linked from our Welcome page - new subscribers or those who missed out on individual months can now read back on earlier issues as required.
CRISIS APPEALS (KOSOVO etc.): We have now set up the links for Crisis Appeals in Area 6 (http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/crisis/index.htm). This allows access to the main aid agencies, and is linked from the top right of the main welcome page also. There is a great deal of construction work going on in the Appeals section at present, please see details below.
Our thanks to Hantsweb (Hampshire, UK), Ackworth School (Yorkshire, UK) and Edunet Switzerland, for recently uploaded links to Project HappyChild. There have been more progressions with the Search Engines this month with site details now at MexMaster (Mexico, entry in Portuguese), El Ojo (Spain, entry in Spanish) and at Matilda (Australia), Euroseek (Europe), Voila (France), and HyperChina. Also we have finally reached the Inktomi index of Yahoo (around 250 pages listed) and AltaVista has recently re-spidered the site (our details had disappeared entirely, for whatever reason) which may have something to do with the upsurge in visitor count recorded over the last few days.
(1) PROJECT HAPPYCHILD DIRECTORY.
Area 2 of the website was re-set in html shortly after I first began pagebuilding. Although a major achievement at the time (because html tables were a complex challenge, let alone designing something which would actually print precisely onto A4 sheets!) there have been an increasing number of problems in maintaining the original format, not least having had to construct "shadow" versions of the pages for people with lower-capacity browsers. We reached a point at one stage where a single change of e-mail address for one of the charities would necessitate changes to FOUR pages - the Directory page, the "shadow" page, the Directory Index and the "shadow" Index.
The re-structuring of the Directory Index ( http://www.happychild.org.uk/dir/index.htm ) recently at least reduced some of the level of changes required - however it was becoming apparent that there was a real need to identify a format which would be accessible by all browsers, for the Directory pages themselves. This would mean re-building the whole of the Directory ..... a major task in itself, let alone the fact that the Directory pages are hyperlinked to and from many other pages of the site, so any changes would be exceedingly complex from a logistics point of view.
There were also other factors to consider - the fact that the original Directory was spread across 18 html pages and that there was no numerical sequence to the entries (as the pages had originally been designed for hard-copy printing with no concept of website use). And there was also the factor that the pages needed "bookmarks" - the facility to link to a specific location-within-a-page, rather than the present system where a charity-link would only lead to the top of the page on which that charity appeared.
The upshot of all these considerations was that - eventually - the decision was taken to re-design the Directory from scratch, incorporating bookmarks, listing all the organizations in numerical order, and allowing for a larger text-size for clarity of initial access (the previous pages printed off fine, but some people had difficulty with the small text on screen). The new version of the Directory is set in less pages - only 8 instead of 18 - each of the new pages printing more or less exactly onto three sheets of A4 paper (with View - Fonts set to medium on the browser settings), and allowing room for both the header graphics and the page reference at the foot (which ideally all pages should have so that visitors who print them off can find the page on the Internet again).
You will find the re-designed Cover page (with hyperlinks giving access to each of the new Directory pages) at http://www.happychild.org.uk/dir/cover2.htm . This is a "temporary address" (not linked from the main site) and the page will eventually have the reference address given at its foot, which is linked to from the master table on index pages right across the site. However for the time being the new pages have to remain separate from the main site until some at least of the (literally hundreds) of inter-hyper-links to and from Directory pages have been amended. The next two to three weeks will be an ongoing transition period as everything is gradually linked more closely together, with both the "old" and the "new" versions of Directory pages accessible to some degree.
* The information on all sets of Directory pages is virtually the same, with the only variance being that some excessively-long text items have had to be compressed slightly to fit within the space available on the re-designed pages (given the increased font size space-requirements but balanced by the increased space for each set of ten entries). Wherever possible we have given organizations approximately equal-sized boxes - there have been some instances where particularly-detailed information has had to be retained compensated by less space actually required by other organizations - we trust that all charities will be happy with the result.
***** It would be much appreciated if all charities with Internet access could look at their individual entry to verify it is accurate - consistency of text has been achieved only by painstakingly cutting and pasting every single block in each entry, in html, from the former pages to the new ones, so that inaccuracies were less likely to occur. Each entry now has options for E-mail facility, website-link, Appeal-link, Booklist-link and Catalogue-link, so any additional information in this respect would be appreciated - we can vary the boxes to some degree (eg Resources Required in place of Catalogue, etc.) - the aim being to offer each organization a number of different areas of the site where individual aspects of their work or facilities can be displayed (thus highlighting the organization in different ways, and maximising the chances of site visitors finding it).
The main prompt for re-structuring the Directory pages at this stage has been ongoing pagebuilding in the Appeals area. You will see from the re-designed Directory cover page that there will be links to organizations working in 160 countries worldwide, from the Appeals area. Where these organizations are in the Directory, there will be a link back to their Directory entry as well as, in some instances, to page/s on their websites linking to details of their work in any given country. The reason we are likely to link to their-website-page-giving-country-links rather than to their extended link to work-in-that-particular-country is because each organization modifies its links as its work and contacts overseas change - particularly when it works in conjunction with other organizations - and we can maintain greater accuracy of hyperlinks by setting things up in this way. Dually, some organizations don't have website pages about their work in individual countries [in which case we'd link simply to their Directory entry, to allow visitors to pursue enquiries]. And there are further variables in that other organizations have their own specific projects in certain countries, featured on their own websites, to which we're able to link directly.
* This probably all sounds horrendously complex but actually it should work in a very straightforward way once all the information we have to hand is uploaded, which is scheduled to happen over the course of July. If the whole website is to work to maximum effect we have to strategically structure all its aspects for durability, so that if people bookmark pages on this site (or pages linked from it, on other websites) they're likely to be able to retain them in the longer term (it also streamlines the website maintenance factor at this end).
However. The 140-plus Appeals area pages (for individual countries) yet-to-be-completed all have to be linked to the Directory pages. Hence the Directory had to be re-structured NOW rather than later, because it would have become increasingly impossible to face the task of modifying all those extra interlinks (complete with bookmarks) to the Directory at a later stage.
Please bear with us whilst all these different elements are brought together! All areas of the website are use-able as they currently stand, it's just that some of the information is duplicated temporarily and there will be access to all versions of the Directory for a few weeks until everything is very thorougly linked together (by which time the website will probably have in the region of 750 pages).
Meanwhile the last remaining areas of the site due for upgrades, charity pages in Appeals,
General Events and Sponsored Events are well on the way to being completed now and are, in the
process, being incorporated into the overall linking together. The new pages are at
http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/uk/1062fund.htm (Elisabeth Svendsen Trust);
http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/uk/1010star.htm (Climb Starfish Appeal);
http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/uk/1018play.htm (Hayward Playground Building Appeal -
http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/eurasia/pak1013.htm (Ockenden International);
http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/eurasia/bgd1014.htm (ASI); the BLISS page has moved to http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/uk/1060hosp.htm and the POD page to http://www.happychild.org.uk/nvs/appeals/uk/1030hosp.htm(although there will be an ongoing entry for the time being at original locations, to avoid loss of access through pages previously registered on the search engines). These pages will be modified at a later stage to a link to the new location, but not until the rest of the re-structuring is completed. Meanwhile a handful of pages to be upgraded still remain but this is now a very minimal percentage of the site as a whole.
From a logistics point of view pagebuilding is somewhat challenging at present, to put it mildly! - but the changes have been very thoroughly planned and the whole site will be very cohesive once the re-structuring is completed.
Incidentally I would like to thank Mike Ridyard (who as you'll recall provided the visitor counter) for providing information as to where to locate an amazing - FREE! - piece of software which allows you to open and view more than one html file at once (without which I could not have done the very-complex cutting and pasting for the new Directory pages). This program actually allows you to modify up to 200 pages in html at the same time (well, that's the most I've done, you can probably do more) if you want to vary something specific on each page (eg with Find and Replace). Having access to this software has enabled me to grasp how to modify the site to maximum effect so that any changes for a given organization can be made "en bloc" however many pages that organization appears on (eg a change of name or something similar would previously have necessitated locating and modifying each related page, one by one). Truly transformational. If anyone wants to know how to access this software, let me know and I'll pass on details.
As most regular visitors will know, the PageMaster was last updated in December last year, since which time the volume of new pages being added (and the complexity of the formatting on the PageMaster) made it impossible to keep the page up to date. As soon as received-information pagebuilding was up to date, accordingly, this whole page was re-designed, for simplicity, to link to all the major index-page areas of the site in a linear format (see http://www.happychild.org.uk/pagemaster.htm ). Although the original purpose of the page was as a primary resource for the search engines, the new format ensures that they can at least reach all the major site areas in one visit, and the volume of pages now coming up on the search engines indicates that the re-structured PageMaster has indeed served its purpose with the search robots having explored beyond the immediate links. Meanwhile the page serves as a linear map for visitors (the lateral Site Map at http://www.happychild.org.uk/index4.htm gives more of a mind-map type view of the site as a whole).
As you'll know, Mike Tipper's next article isn't due until August as he's in the midst of organising the World Memory Championships (9am-5pm 26th and 27th August at Olympia [London UK]). There should be some information about the Championships up on site in a few days from now - events, entry details, points of contact, etc. Keep an eye on Mike's index page at http://www.happychild.org.uk/acc/tpr/index.htm for further details.
Just a brief follow-up on this one - apparently the message cancelling our free facilities was "automatically generated" and they've been restored, for the time being at least. However we're still experiencing problems with some people receiving all the html coding (as well as the text) on long messages - if this affects you, please get in touch and we'll arrange postal sends for the time being.
This has been an extraordinary few weeks - and the website hasn't been in a comparable state of flux since the very earliest days, last summer. However the most complex aspects of the restructuring are almost complete and the rest of what remains to be done is just steady follow-through until everything's in place and cohesively linked together. Thanks for bearing with us in the interim.
My thanks also to all the people who've added links to Project HappyChild, who don't get mentioned in the credits on the Newsletter - I quite often encounter new links, from personal homepages, on various search engines, and bookmark the link page for future reference. Your support is much appreciated.
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