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Ancestral Dreams Family Tree Template Design



■■■ 2004-07-12


You can print and save this checklist to work on

1.Thinking about themes, colors, fonts and layout  
2.What you are trying to acheive?


3.Where to get inspiration  
4.How to write your Introduction for the title page  
5.Do you want extras such as animation,sound and music?  
6.Would you like assistance with finding images for your site?  

7.What can you afford?


1.Thinking about themes, colors, fonts and layout

How do you decide on a look for your website? Fortunately, with a profesional website designer you are no longer limited by premade templates, so you can have any design look your imagination can come up with. But where do you start?

You pobably already have preferences of colours and art styles.Perhaps you have a favourite artist, or you have books or cd cover designs at home that you like the design of.

2.What are You trying to acheive?

An idea is to think about what is the most important thing to you about your family it that your ancestors were Swedish,or that they came over to the US on the Mayflower? Perhaps your ancestors emmigrated from Eastern Europe,or drove wagons across the US midwest. Perhaps your ancestors were descended from royalty,or perhaps you are fond of the fact that they were just ordinary, hardworking folk. Perhaps you would like the design of your website to reflect your ancestors heritage and have all the buttons, logos and images using a matching theme of design that will enhance their story. See some of our current examples.

Also think about what suits your own personality.Are you some one who wants their wesbite to look slick and modern,with minimalist design and subtle colors? Or would you prefer something elegant,flowery, and old-fashioned?


2.Where to get inspiration

With finding inspiration for your websites themes, color schemes, and fontstyles, the best advice I can give you, is to go surf around the internet for a few days, looking at other websites, (not just genealogy websites!). Looking at other websites helps you to see what styles and colour schemes you like. Make notes as you go along. Perhaps you like your text to be large and perhaps you think you might like it to look old fashioned as if it were an ancient manuscript. Perhaps you would like the whole website to look like an ancient manuscript! Perhaps you like bold,rich colour schemes,or perhaps you like very subtle colours. It's much the same as as if you were decorating a house, or a bedroom.(Forgive me those of you who are more aufait with the internet and website design may find this less useful, and may wish to skip this section).

What I will need from you is some names and addresses of websites you like, and some explanation of why you like them. You dont have to like everything about the websites you choose. Be as detailed and specific as you can, but don't worry if you like something and can't explain why exactly. These are the sorts of things you might say in your email to me for example:

"I like the colour scheme of this website, but I would prefer the font to be bigger and bolder and more old fashioned looking like in an old fashioned scroll"

"I like the overall professional slick look of this site...but cant say why exactly "

"I like the way the photographs are arranged on this website"

"I like the way the words and titles and buttons animate on this website"..."could you do something like that...and how much would you charge me?"

Hopefully, you will find looking at websites and trying to imagine which aspects of them you would like to have on your own site fun and creative. I can help you with anything, so dont worry if you are having trouble to begin with. It may be difficult at first foryou to visualize what you want. Over several email exchanges I can help you to make your decisions if you are having difficulty making them yourself. We can try a few things out, and if you don't like them, we can try and few other ideas! You are also welcome to suggest artists (well known or send me a sample of an artists work,cd, or book cover that contain design styles you like.The better idea I get of what kind of art you like, the easier it will be for me to design the site the way you want it. You are welcome also to send your own drawings or illustrations if you would like them to be used on the site.


4. How to write your Introduction for the title page

The introduction is important for two reasons. First, and most obvious,is that it is the first thing your visitors will see when they come to your site. It will really help for you introduction to be as clear and relevant as possible to save your vistors looking through your site for ages trying to find out if you do actually have the families or information they are looking for.

It is also important because the text you use on each page of your website actually helps the search engines find your website! This also means it helps bring the right people find your website. Search engines look for the individual words and phrases (called "keywords"), used in your introduction page, and use these asa guideline,so that when some one types a family name and location into a search engine,your website will appear before other less releavnt one. So it's very important to use the most appropriate words,and also to repeat the most important family names and locations several times (if you can), on this page. (see example)

So try to write an introduction that inlcudes the most important names in your family tree,the most important locations and the important aspects of this familys background. Write at least a basic one to start,and then we can work on it together to fine tune it.


5.Do you want extras such as animation,sound and music?

"Extras" such as these will cost you more on to have on your website.But our prices are actually very low, compared to most website design companies.

What can these extras do for your website, and are they worth it? Why don'tyou find many genealogy websites with special effects and animation on them?

The main reason is simply that so far, very few website design companies seem to have offered this option to genealogists! The second is that they are more costly, and many people cannot normally afford them.We will try to include these extras for you, if you want them, at aprice you can afford.

Another important aspect of using internet technologyon websites is that not every one has enough memory on their computer, or the right software to see the special effects and animation,so you do have to be careful what techology you decide to include on your site.The last thing you want is some long lost relative finding your website but unable to see the information because they dont yet have the technology on their computer. We will there for take great care to ensure that any new techology used on your site has alternative options so that no one is excluded from visiting your site and finding what they want.

We will soon be showcasing some of the great technology that Flash animation has to offer to genealogy websites! You can have movies with sound, interactive family photograph albums and slideshows, cartoons or animated drawings,music, sound,or text effects.You can have location maps that people can zoom in and zoom out to find a specific location,or visual family trees that your vistors can scrollup and down and clickon names. In the meantime if you are iterested in knowing more,write to me for a personal discussion by email about the possibilities for inclusion of these effects on your own site.

6.Would you like assistance with finding images for your site?

Not every one has pictures of their ancestors or family crests toput on their website.Websites can look quite forlorn with few images on them.If you would like more images on your site,we can help. As an experienced researcher,I can helpyou find more images and photographs to enhance the look of your site.On some occasions I can even find images ofyour actual ancestors that you did not know existed. Other images might include good quality but copyright free historical photos of the locations in your family tree.There is an added fee for this service but it is quite reasonable.

7.What can you afford?

Be as honest as you can about this. On some occasions I can find ways to give you the website you want even at a low price range, and I do have a Monthly Competition to allow people to win a free website also!