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Website and IT - Erica Thomson

The respondents were overwhelmingly in praise of the website and used it to find out many different things. Thankfully, no problems regarding the use of EMREG website were reported, however a few people mentioned problems when using the National EG website. The best thing to do in that case is to contact Louise Frazer-Jones who looks after that website. Hard to believe, but it seems that a few members did not know about or had not yet visited our Regional website, but they say they will visit it now.

Of the respondents, more than half who expressed a preference were happy with the peacock feather and 2 members offered to help with new ideas for the website - 1 left their name and we can approach her. In 2013 we asked branches for a new image instead of the feather and did not receive any suggestions at all. In the future, we would be happy to look at completely new theme if any member or branch has any new ideas. The feather was not intended as a logo - it was merely the only piece of embroidery to hand when I began the website.

Our Google website is free and 45 different people are editing their own branch pages or other pages which is working well, however there are some limitations and only having 5 fonts to choose from is one of those limitations. We chose Verdana as we considered to be modern and very readable.

Many members reported that they looked at what other branches are up to and to find possible speakers. Several suggested having speaker reviews would be useful, but the committee felt that this would not be a good idea. Instead we suggest that programme secretaries contact the branch who has had the speaker concerned and ask them directly whether they would recommend them. I have asked whether the speakers list from the old site will reappear on the Main EG site and am awaiting their reply, though I read in Contact, that it is a top priority for the new site. Update - a new method of listing is being worked on, where the speaker is able to add themselves.

Although many like having a list of Events in our Region listed in the paper Newsletter, they realise that the website is going to be much more up to date and we can respond to last minute information which can be added immediately.

As always, we would be happy to receive any reviews or recommendations of products, local shops/businesses/classes and places to visit of interest to members. We can add links and put these on the website to go with those which are already there on the Links page. Articles by members might be more suited to the paper Newsletter. We would also be happy to receive free projects which we could add. Just get in touch. If anyone finds a business happy to give discount on production of the EG membership card, then do tell us and we can mention the business with a link. This is free advertising for the business. (We have been given permission to do this from HQ).

One member was concerned that no-one would know to search for the acronym EMREG when looking for the “East Midlands Region of the Embroiderers Guild” Can I reassure them that we come up top in Google searches whichever you type in to the search box. We felt that “East Midlands Region of the Embroiderers Guild” or any combination of those words was rather a mouthful and takes a lot of typing. EMREG is much easier.

Out of the 10 other regions, 3 have a Regional website and one has an online magazine. Do take a look and see if there is anything you’d like included on our site and let us know. Eastern Region North West Region South East Region South East West Region

Here are some things we have done already as a direct result of what you told us - 

Newsletter - As many members had not seen, mislaid or simply wanted an online alternative, the 2 copies (so far) of the Newsletter have now been made available as downloads on our website. They can simply be read online or downloaded on to your computer to read at your leisure. They can be enlarged for easy reading and are searchable. Find them on the downloads page.

Dates for Committee meetings, Regional Day and Regional AGM have now been added to the Calendar on our website. 

Many members asked if they could be notified of any Announcements made on the website without having to keep visiting to check. Any member can now receive an email to let them know that an ‘Announcement’ has been made. The post will be seen in the email. To do this, go to the Announcements page and click on the message at the top of the page, and fill in your details. Older Announcements have now been deleted and will continue to be deleted once obsolete, though some older announcements will be kept as an archive.

A photograph of the Regional Committee (except Christine Plummer who was ill on the day) taken at Regional Day is now on the website. You can put faces to the names.

And finally…..The Home page of the website has been simplified and a total redesign of the website will happen in time for the AGM which will include vertical navigation. This will allow all the subpages to be visible more easily, thus navigation will be easier. Events will be more prominent as so many users said they found this useful. As there are now over 150 pages on our website, good navigation is key. 

This will also means that you will be able to see all of the menu without having to scroll to the side. Several members viewing on smaller screens mentioned that ‘Gallery’ was off their screen to the right, so this problem will be solved - Gallery is a valuable feature of the site and we don’t want people to miss out. 

Don’t forget the ‘search’ facility which works very well.