Group Project

On this page, I’m going to track how my group has been going with our website – Chock-a-Block. Since I’m writing now, in May, I’m going to have to go back and re-cap everything that we’ve been over. Starting at the start.

On March 12, so right at the start of everything (oh it feels like such a long time since then!), I added a post to Ning saying that I was interested in travel and food (the two best things in life). Renee said that sounded pretty good, and soon afterwards we had a gang of food and travel loving bandits assembled, ready to take on the project. Me, Renee, Maggie, Phil and Jaclyn.

The original focus was going to be a website dedicated to international food in Melbourne, divided into cuisines from certain countries or areas. We were going to post recipes of great international dishes, review places that we’d been overseas and compare them to what we have here. Basically, it was going to demonstrate what a culturally rich city we have here.

Around March 24/25 the group as a whole decided that this might be a bit difficult, given that we’re all in Melbourne, and not overseas at the moment. But we still wanted to focus on food in Melbourne, so we narrowed it down to desserts – ie. sweets, cakes, chocolate.

What happened then was that we all got a bit fixated on chocolate, I think (I know I did – generally when I get chocolate into my head, it’s hard to get it out!).

We all put our heads together and thought of all of the chocolate places we could – Haighs, Darrell Lea, San Churro, Koko Black, The Original Lolly Store, Max Brenner, and a few other places that have chocolate specialties, like the chocolate pizzas at Bimbo Deluxe in Fitzroy.

Over the Easter Break, we thought it would be a good idea to catch up and discuss commissions, ideas, and how the site would run. I decided to commission a piece from Phil, about the psychology of chocolate, and whether it’s really good for you, or if it can have negative effects like dependency and addiction. Other stories commissioned were Jaclyn’s discoveries of chocolateries in Melbourne, I was commissioned by Jaclyn to write a history of chocolate, Renee did a review of Haighs, and Maggie went to chocolate school (YUM!) and wrote an article about what happens there.

So then what needed to be done was to actually get the website set up. I managed to catch a cold, and decided that instead of watching Oprah while lying in bed sniffling, I’d have a play with wordpress, and set up the skeleton of what is now our site, Chock-a-Block. Jaclyn put one up as well, as a comparison, and then we chose which we’d prefer to use.

From then, we’ve been furiously working on our stories, uploading content onto the site, things like recipes, a directory of chocolate places in Melbourne, and just trying to establish our site as a useful place to visit for chocolate lovers in Melbourne. I think it’s going really well – I’ve certainly learned a lot so far through trying to work out the fiddly bits of making the site.

This week all of our articles have gone onto the site, and there’s quite a lot of material coming in from everyone. It’s looking great, and I’m really pleased.

More to come soon!

May 17th

So a few things have happened over the past few days. Everyone’s been emailing in their work, and Phil and I had been uploading everything. There wasn’t a lot of consistency happening, but I guess that’s bound to happen with so many contributors.

Renee also mentioned that she wasn’t happy with the look of the site, so changed it, but mentioned it still wasn’t exactly what we wanted (ie. colours, navigation bar etc.). I found a new theme and worked out how to customise the colours according to what people wanted, so that I think now everyone’s happy with it (haven’t heard much back from people, but I’m hoping it’s a winner all around).

There’s also a bit of disagreement about our menu headings – ‘Special Menu’ is a bit ambiguous, and ‘Ancient Memory’ kind of makes it seem like chocolate’s over 🙂 So I’ve changed the history heading to ‘Chocolate’s Ancient History’, but we’re still waiting for a bit of feedback regarding ‘Special Menu’, which is our weekly features section.

I guess we’ll talk a bit more about it this week – there’s not much feedback via email etc at the moment, so hopefully we can sort it out in person.

That’s it for now – it’s all looking good, I reckon.

May 19th

Argh. The new theme doesn’t show the links.. have added a new ‘Links’ page, so hopefully this will fix the problem. That’s it for now, really – hopefully we’ll iron out a few kinks tomorrow in time for next week’s pitch, which I unfortunately won’t be there for (I’m sure the group will do really well!).

May 20th

Last night in class we addressed a bunch of things that we’d like to have amended by the time we present next week. Call me stupid, but I hadn’t quite worked out widgets on WordPress, but now that I have, I’ve realised we can add and remove a lot of stuff from our site. That should make the operation of the site much more desirable for the group.

Also figured out how to hide a page in the navigation bar, but make it the home page so that the home page isn’t a blog post. That was important to our group – to not have the date on there so the site doesn’t seem dated. Success!

That’s it for now, just thought I’d share my findings 🙂

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