Renaissance Entertainment Corporation | Women's Racing Journal | Others

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Renaissance Entertainment Corporation
Ski Sterling Forest · The Forest of Fear
January 2002 through February 2004

Renaissance Entertainment Corporation produces three major renaissance-themed outdoor festivals and one Halloween-themed event annually. They also manage the Sterling Forest Ski Center in New York.

For the renaissance-themed events, it was a particular challenge to portray an "olde time" feel in such a modern conveyance as the internet. I chose to spend a great deal of time with the artistic elements of type and color to achieve this.

It was the dream of the company to include music as a part of their website. Rather than embedding a low-quality sound bit which would force itself onto the viewers, I chose to incorporate higher-quality music into a Flash animation. As all "good" animations built in this way should be, the viewer has the opportunity to option out. I feel this is a very important choice since many of the viewers would be visiting from low-speed connections or may be in a situation where they do not want the music to broadcast their browser's whereabouts. The Flash animation exists only when entering from the index page.

Because originally the company's festivals included two operating in California, each with the same name, it was important that the individual festivals be "color-coded". This involved utilizing a color palette which was specific to the festival.

Another challenge to the REC website was the inclusion of e-commerce. When I began the project, their system for collecting ticket orders online was to have their patrons e-mail their orders through a secured-socket layer and PGP encrypting. While this worked, it was very time consuming from the festival end as each order was individually downloaded, decrypted and hand-entered into a POS terminal.

To solve their e-commerce situation, I chose Miva Merchant. While it is designed for a much larger catalog of sales items, it offered seamless integration with the Verisign gateway and a user-friendly interface for the festival personnel who would be handling the ticket fulfillment. This choice has proven itself to be an extremely cost-effective method for the festivals. In 2003, the combined sales of their productions exceeded $600,000.

The object of all commercial websites is obviously to generate commerce. Not all visitors are comfortable with online transactions however. For this reason, I also included a simple and effective way to join a traditional postal mailing list to which the festivals sent annual printed brochures. Also included is an e-mail newletter list which entitled the recipients to periodic newsletters and special offers. To keep ahead of pending legislation regarding "spam", the e-mail list is operated under a "double opt-in" method and is easy to subscribe and un-subscribe.

Note: I have not been involved in the daily maintenance of this site since March, 2004. The design, artwork, etc. continues to accurately reflect my work.

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Women's Racing Journal
August 2001 through Current

I began publishing Women's Racing Journal in 2001 when it became apparent to me that there weren't any good motorsports magazines for women available. I hope this project will some day grow from a website into a monthly slick printed magazine. Until then, here's what I've utilized for this site.

Because women don't generally have much time to spend online, quick and easy navigation has been a key consideration. The home page includes the headlines and first portion of articles which are of highest interest to the viewers.

As with the REC site, Women's Racing Journal is programmed in PHP due to the speed and flexibility it offers. I began PHP programming in 2002. When building a complex site with many pages, it allows for a number of time saving devices. It has the advantage also of being non-platform or browser specific as all its calls are handled by the server in pre-processing.

Another feature to the WRJ site is its use of photography. The majority of photos were taken by me through the use of a digital SLR camera. Special care has been given to the cropping, color and clarity of each photo. In addition, I save original photos in TIF format and only convert to JPEG when it is ready to publish. JPEG's utilize compression which is great for saving bandwidth and download times, but when repeated saved, they will lose their integrity.

Not all of the photographs are recognizable as such. In the masthead of each page are graphics which began their life as photos but were artistically manipulated by me to have a softer, more generic feel. These graphics are included in the site through the use of a bit of PHP code which randomizes their use.

Women's Racing Journal is still a work in progress. The site was completely re-designed in May of 2004. This was in response to feedback provided by the viewers who desired a brighter look. At that time I also chose to force-center the pages to allow for consistent layout regardless of the viewers screen resolution.

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Joni Massengale Design Arts
Charlotte, NC 28269
704-726-9003 ·
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