A chronicle of the process I went through to make this web site.
Here's the story of what I went through to make this web site. It is distinct from my impressions of the Festival in the "Festival Journal" section.
This section is deliberately wordy and has very specific details relating to the tools I used. It's for people who are considering doing the same thing as I did and like reading first-person accounts.

The short story
The short version is, for the web site itself:

   I used a digital camera, Trellix Web and my laptop. No FTP, no HTML, no scanner, etc.
   The slideshows that play in RealPlayer were made with RealSlideshow.
   Most any PC user should be able to learn how to do this.

The video was done with a Dazzle unit (and I used FTP to put the videos up).

The rest of this section gives you a blow by blow of what I went through, how I prepared, what I brought, the setup at the Festival, etc.

Written like email without someone else editing it
First, a note to readers who care about well-written material. I'm writing this as I go along, so the tenses (past? present? future?) may be jumbled. Like most trip reports done by one individual I'm not having anybody edit this for me before you read it, and I'm not the best at expressing myself clearly (written or spoken), so don't expect beautiful prose. View it like email. It'll probably be very much about me, since my experience is what it's about; this is not a general tutorial on making a web photo journal of an event. I hope that the writing won't get in the way of you reading this and that you'll get a good idea of what I went through to bring you this web site.

How it started
Apologies over. Now let's talk about what I went through to make this web site. I'll start from the very beginning.

Dana Atchley, the Digital Storytelling Festival Director, was interested in showing the Web Photo Journal-style of story (i.e., the style I used in the write-up that appears on this web site of his presentation at the Web99 conference). He wrote this in his invitation inviting me to speak at the Festival:

I think what you are working with on the Photo Journals (was that the right title?) would be compelling to our audience... A thought:  maybe you could use your software to do daily Festival reports which we could link to from our website and then you could show our audience how you did it.

Here's Dana mugging for my camera the last time I saw him in person, and when he first brought up doing a presentation on stories presented as web sites:

Dana Atchley
Dana at Web99
I did preparation for the web site
At this point, if you weren't me and just wanted to get something up that looked good, you'd use the standard web site designs that come with Trellix Web and the built-in Wizard. You'd skip right to getting started writing the early content. But I am me, and I wanted to do something different.

I knew that this web site was supposed to be a showcase for both our product and a style of communication. This put a lot of pressure on me. It had to look good, be interesting, not be embarrassing when viewed by professional webmasters, etc., yet be something akin to what normal people would be able to produce themselves in the course of their regular work or play. I decided that spending a lot of time preparing was OK. Most people wouldn't do that, but the extra effort would make it look better for this particular time -- and others could just emulate what I did if they didn't have the time and hope it would be applicable. Or they could just use the standard designs and organizations that come with Trellix Web.

Before I started designing the web site look, I thought about what I would present on the site. What would the main sections be? I came up with a journal of what it was like going to the festival, a journal about creating the web site, a place to put random stuff like how beautiful the mountains are, perhaps a section with more detail on particular talks, and finally a housekeeping section for a change log and background material about the site.

A design with a map
Given that unrelated group of sections, and my experience with a web photo journal about the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science's 35th Anniversary event, I decided that the web site should have a Trellix-style site map (which you can see at the top of the screen). This would relieve some of the pressure on me for designing the navigation since people could see the entire site organization at a glance and know where they were in it, I could add new stuff easily, repeat visitors could jump around to new stuff, etc. If my web site was smaller, or the organization knowable enough in advance, I might not have used a map. The map has no cost technically to me, since Trellix Web can produce the map automatically just be checking a box on the Publish Options dialog. However, the map takes up some space on the screen, and I have to spend a little bit of time making it look nice. Private maps (used during authoring) don't have to have labels or have all the sections line up nicely or fit on 640x480 screens. By default, Trellix Web does not produce a map on the published web site.

Given the few sections and the likelihood they may have several pages, I decided to go with a horizontal map at the top of the page. My LCS35th site used a vertical map on the left site. Trellix Web can produce either just as easily.

Going for help
Now that I knew generally what I wanted, I made a quick mockup using Trellix Web and a standard design. Like the LCS35th site, I wanted the map to blend in well with the design. I went to Lena, a graphic designer at Trellix who works in the office just down the hall from mine. (She also helped me with the design of my personal web site, www.bricklin.com, and made many of the original Trellix Web document designs.)

Lena suggested that I use a standard Trellix Web design, so that others could follow it. I started with that, but together we decided to modify it slightly to better serve our needs here. I used the "Basic - Torn" document design, but edited the background images to be black instead of purple. (Given that I was going to use all sorts of pictures and logos, Lena reminded me that everything goes with black -- not the case for purple.) I also moved the text navigation to the left margin and made the top border smaller to better fit (along with the map) on smaller screens.

Here's a picture of Lena and me looking over some early versions of the web site to choose colors and lay out screen elements (yes, my office is messy and my desk covered with piles of papers and trinkets):

Lena helps me prepare the web site design
Dan and Lena trying out different layouts
Using this document design, I started writing some material to see how it looked. I made some dummy pages for each section, and actually started writing one for real -- this page.

If you are using Trellix Web and want more specifics about the features I used and the design, look at the "Trellix Web details for my design" page.

Getting started writing by getting early content
The hardest part of writing is often to write the first page. To get me started here, I wrote a few lines outline-style ("Decided on map; Lena helped; etc.") and took some pictures to get some content to start working with. I got Kristan in the cubicle outside my office to take the one of me and Lena. Here's me taking a picture of the screen:


Dan taking a shot
This picture of me was actually a test of some other equipment. I'm bringing a small video camera (an old JVC MiniDV) to the Festival. I assume that there will be some presentations that will be best communicated to you, my readers, as video, rather than words or even slide shows. Also, I can capture individual pictures from a videotape.

What I did here was set up the video camera on a small tripod (which I'll be using at the Festival to hold it on the tables we sit at) on a box on one side of my (still messy) office. I connected it to a Dazzle Digital Video Creator video capture system connected by USB to my laptop. I then used the software that came with the Dazzle to capture a sequence of still JPEGs, one every 2 seconds. Once I started it, I picked up the camera and took a picture of me taking a picture of the screen:

   
The view from the video camera to my desk, the camera itself, and the Dazzle box
Here's my computer screen, showing the video capture software image of me taking the picture as I record it:


Me taking a picture of me
Preparing for RealSlideshow Plus
In addition to using Trellix Web for this web site, I'm also using RealSlideshow Plus to create slideshows (with sound) to enhance the web site. (These slideshows can be played using the very common RealPlayer G2 -- RealNetworks is a sponsor of the Festival.) The "Plus" version of RealSlideshow allow the author to add captions, URL links, and logos to the screen showing slides dissolving from one to another. I created a layout, using the RealSlideshow Plus layout editor, that had a Digital Storytelling Festival logo, reference to Trellix Web and Real, etc. I went to the Real web site's Developer Zone to find out how to control the fonts exactly as I wanted them.

Writing
Now that I had the skeleton of my web site, it was time to write the actual content, fleshing out the few outline sentences I had already written. I started with the first few paragraphs to try out a tone of writing (real chatty, as you see here). I showed what I had written to Julianne, a writer and usability person who is in the office a few doors down. Julianne has helped me by editing much of my material, including a lot of the Good Documents web site. She edited my "I didn't use an editor" paragraph. (This is the only paragraph I'll let her make major changes to!) Her feeling was: chatty is OK, being concrete is good ("I placed the bag of jellybeans on the bookshelf where I could watch it" is concrete, "I put it there" is not concrete), but that apologies are not OK. She says that apologies are tiring (though many of us do them all the time in our writing, unfortunately), and helped me trim down the paragraph. (I insisted on leaving it in with at least something.)


Julianne editing the one paragraph
I continued writing to get to this point. Since I had lots of time to prepare, I had lots of time to write. Don't expect the rest of the report to be so verbose...

First RealSlideshow
The night before I left I created my first slideshow. I just used some images I had around (including from this page) and recorded the sound for each slide. I uploaded it to a server provided by RealNetworks from my kitchen over a dialup line at 28.8.

Kitchen table
Kitchen table where I created slideshow with outlet for plugging in laptop

The preparations for creating the web site are now over. It's time to pack up my stuff and start on the actual material about my trip!

Next: What I brought >