Kia ora to all our friends, supporters and visitors.
In case all this is new to you, lightcolourvision.org is a non-profit project exploring light, colour, vision and also asks the question, how can we see more? In a nutshell, it’s all about making sense and developing our views of ourselves and the world. It’s designed as a resource for students, teachers, educators and researchers of all ages.
We launched lightcolourvision.org nine months ago and it’s a rollercoaster. The site grows every day as we add new content and functionality. Read on to find out what we have been up to since our previous newsletter.
TASKS COMPLETED DURING THE LAST 20 WEEKS
Let’s start off with an update on what we’ve been up to since our AUGUST 2019 NEWSLETTER. This is just a summary, there have been many incidental additions and improvements to the site as well.
- Donations and payment gateways have now been added to the site. This is key to our fundraising efforts. We selected DONORBOX to handle the donations and STRIPE to handle credit card and Paypal deposits. Both platforms are widely recognised, have multiple levels of security and make the donation process as smooth and straightforward as possible.
- The HOMEPAGE now has a new DONATIONS PANEL featuring the new gateways. The panel alerts supporters and visitors to our current fundraising campaign. Donations can be made right there, but there is also a link to the new 2020 CAMPAIGN PAGE for those who want to know more.
- Every image in the RESOURCE LIBRARY has now been updated to the latest version, ensuring they all share a consistent format and quality. The result is images that load more quickly and are optimised for viewing on-screen. At the same time, we have updated the file formats of images available for download and streamlined the download process for users who need a copy for their own use. You can see thumbnails of the whole set here.
- Every page of the RESOURCE LIBRARY has also been rebuilt. This means that the pages that introduce and explain each image have been optimised for quick loading, consistent appearance and standardised features. With this step behind us, there is still more work to do to improve the load time of the whole site – but we are working on IT!
- Many more written explanations and Q&A’s have been added to pages in the RESOURCE LIBRARY. Around 80 pages are now complete which means there are around 60 to go. This is another major priority!
- We have decided to automate the section that explains KEY TERMS on each page in the RESOURCE LIBRARY. It took 6 very full-on weeks to resolve how best to implement this, but the final outcome will produce a more relevant, tailor-made selection of terms (and explanations).
- We have now completed and uploaded four ARTICLES. Editing and adding illustrations is ongoing. The titles so far are:
Contents, Forward & Introduction. Each of these sections aims to provide a quick roundup of our plans and an overview of the articles that follow.
Light and the Prerequisites for Vision. We see this article as cornerstone-content. It aims to demonstrate where the site is heading in terms of both content and style.
Sense-making. Here we look at the connection between the information collected on the retina of our eyes and how we make sense of it.
The Visual Pathway. This article provides a detailed breakdown of the pathway that visual information takes from the moment light enters our eyes to it being processed within the visual cortex.
- A floating menu has been added to the lower left of every screen where visitors can CONTACT US, provide FEEDBACK and find out about GETTING INVOLVED in the growth and development of this wonderful project.
- An up-coming task is to create a new video for the campaign page. The current version was created for the original crowdfunding campaign last year. We are currently looking for a group of volunteers to help us with this project.
FUNDING AND THE 2020 CAMPAIGN PAGE
You won’t be surprised to hear that raising funds to cover the overheads and development of the site is a challenge.
Our 2019 Crowdfunding Campaign successfully reached its target and the $2745.00 raised was used to cover the costs of getting the site online, paying subscriptions for our tools of the trade and to cover the cost of the launch event we held at Parnell Community Centre, Auckland.
Our first strategy for 2020 involves a call to friends, supporters and visitors to help us pay the basic tier of running costs, a total of NZ$1716.00. We hope to complete this phase by the end of July. If you would like to take part, click the Donate Now button. To find out more please visit our Campaign page 2020.
Every cent helps 🙂
In the last newsletter, we announced we were preparing a gift for all our supporters. It’s one of a series of animated images developed for the site. Belatedly, it’s now ready for you to download. You can read about and download the animation here. Once downloaded, simply drag the file into a new browser window (except Internet Explorer) then visit the tab anytime you want to zone out as the pattern unfolds.
UNIQUE VISITORS LAST MONTH
It is worth noting that the number of site visitors continues to grow steadily with well over 12,000 unique visits per month. This seems quite extraordinary and a wonderful affirmation that we are on the right track. It seems that most visitors arrive via a search engine, landing on a page matching their search terms. A simple test of this is to type light colour vision into the search bar of any browser. The results of an image search will produce anywhere between 10 and 40 results from our site. As time goes on, it should be possible to improve the relevance of the returned results as we focus more effort on SEO (search engine optimization).
Our overarching focus as we develop the site is how best to bind together our core values, short-term objectives and long term goals. Let’s review the three of them now.
Lightcolourvision.org challenges contemporary threats to open, diverse, inclusive and well-informed communities by advocating and demonstrating an appreciation of and care for each other and our world. To achieve this, we disseminate information and promote discussion of the very real processes that interconnect and sustain us on planet earth.
We are committed to responding to the call for people to make web-content that is rich and relevant to communities that respect civil discourse and human dignity and use the open web as a global public resource for people everywhere.
Lightcolourvision.org is designed as a multi-disciplinary curriculum resource able to function effectively within a range of educational contexts. But it is also designed to play a part in ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated life-long learning. In both contexts, it aims to explore new and radical approaches to active citizenship, self-development and creative practices.
Our short-term objectives for 2020 are all about building on our 2019 successes. In summary, we have four main areas of focus:
- Functionality: Improve functionality regardless of the device used to view the site.
- Content: Add more content and improve how visitors navigate to the resources they need.
- Fundraising: The first target for the year is to cover our basic running costs. You can see our Budget: Basic running costs 2020 here. We need to raise NZ$1716.00. After that, it’s going to be about developing strategies to attract patrons, sponsors and regular donors.
- Online-community: We want to reach out to teachers and educators in Aotearoa New Zealand this year and develop our 2020 strategy through a more collaborative approach.
We introduced some of the thinking about the connection between our short-term objectives and long-term goals in the last newsletter. Put simply, the website currently contains resources that investigate the connections between light, colour and vision and explores how they shape our understanding of ourselves and the world. But we want to go further and explore how we can change the way we see ourselves, each other and our world in ways that enable us to address the pressing challenges we are all facing in communities everywhere. We want to explore how to see more in both quantitative and qualitative terms and how to move beyond habitual and uncritical ways of viewing things, to see the world afresh, through new eyes.
Our 2020 strategy
With all of the above in mind, we are putting a heavy focus on the site’s bi-line how to see more this year. At the same time, we are also making a major change to our approach to site development. The plan is to produce some material by running workshops. So we have begun work preparing for a workshop that explores the prerequisites of seeing more. In practice, this will mean that instead of starting with the physics of light and the biology of vision we will be looking at how to develop better ways of seeing.
Confused? Hang in with us! We are hard at work and will be uploading new material very soon!!
KEEP IN TOUCH
Thank you for reading our March 2020 Newsletter. We would love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts using the top menu item on the left 🙂
Hei konā mai and bye for now. Ric Mann. March 2020.