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Marshall Art Studio: Web Design (Federation of Massachusetts Farmers' Markets)

Web Design + Development | FMFM

Client Spotlight: Federation of Massachusetts Farmers' Markets

The Federation is a public, non-profit, charitable service organization dedicated to the needs of farmers, consumers and communities. They hold weekly Farmers' Markets in many local neighborhoods, providing a healthy shopping experience. There is a farmers' market near you every day so you don't have to buy for the whole week. Visit Website Snapshot

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Rebuilt and modernized the online presence of a non-profit, goverment organization Massachusetts farmers, consumers and communities. The previous edition used TABLEs for page layout and JAVA applet for navigation. Visually, it was primitive by current standards, especially when compared to similar sites. The markup was also heavily dependent on deprecated tags. Overall, the process of modifying content and visual elements was time-consuming and error-prone. Therefore, the shell had to be built from the scratch.

Objectives & Considerations

Global UI Improvements

  • Create a visual design that is pleasing, entertaining and consistently executed.
  • Visual design to be enabled for globally modification "on the fly", without harming content or touching individual pages one at a time
  • Format the HTML files for easy content modfication by FMFM staff
  • Page load time from previous version (lots of images, redundant code, Java appletts) must be reduced
  • Emphasize the FMFM brand without a lot of bandwidth-hogging images
  • Comply to Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) standards for the visually- or motor-impaired, as well as users of PDAs, text browsers or web-enabled telephone
  • The User Interface needs to be improved, made more logical, easy-to-navigate and transparent

Solutions

Technical Improvements

  • Modernized coding and usability by writing in XHTML
  • Centralized visual elements (fonts, colors, images, page layout, image rollovers) in CSS
  • Tagged content in ID and CLASS selectors
  • Page Load Reduced by rendering most visual elements with CSS, instead of images

Layout Improvements

  • Rendered the main navigation column, creating easy reading and efficient use of space
  • Reorganized data tables, now easier to read and modify, less vertical space
  • Color choices based on screen legibility, clarity

Extra Credit

  • Redesigned the FMFM logo with current wording, bolder design and greater legibility
  • Wrote a condensed "About Us" Statement and a Banner Treatment for the index page
  • All Markets Page: Moved map into a popup window, applied a "show/hide" function for individual regions

Result

Launched April 2004. Well-received by farmers, consumers and administrators.

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Connections

Breadsong Bakery

Breadsong Bakery is a world-class, locally-owned artisan bakery in Auburndale, Massachusetts. Breadsong specializes in European-style crusty breads, tea breads and challah as well as a daily variety of breakfast and lunch foods. Breadsong Bakery products contain all-natural ingredients and are baked fresh daily.

Farmers' Market Federation of New York

Farmers markets provide a means for local producers of agricultural products to sell those products directly to the consumer. Many communities throughout New York State view farmers markets as a positive avenue for supporting local agriculture, providing a source of fresh fruits and vegetables to the residents of their community and as a means of drawing people into their community aiding in the economic redevelopment of an area.

Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources' mission is to support, promote and enhance the long-term viability of Massachusetts agriculture with the aim of helping this state's agricultural businesses become as economically and environmentally sound as possible.

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