Web Site for Kindermusik Ithaca

The Kindermusik web site is designed to promote and provide information about the Ithaca affiliate operation of an international educational program that encourages early learning and creativity in young children through music. 

The Kindermusik site provides a means of sharing information with
  • potential students/families
  • current Kindermusik students/families
  • other Kindermusik teachers, and
  • folks interested in issues related to music education and how early music education affects learning
It contains:
  • information about the Kindermusik philosophy
  • descriptions of what happens in individual classes
  • teacher background and training
  • current class offerings, locations, and tuition fees
  • home activities and links to related info
  • interactive forums, including chat and e-mail
  • registration form for classes
And it provides a forum for parents to chat together about their experiences via a discussion group as well as a pointer for other Kindermusik educators to a link where teachers share their experiences in personalizing and adapting the Kindermusik curriculum.
Some pages have video and sound options in addition to graphics. Graphics may be turned off for faster downloads. The prototype includes 27 of the estimated total 30 pages (and also specifies eight additional links to outside pages.)

The Kindermusik site contains the following pages:
Home Page
What is Kindermusik?
Our Philosophy
What's It Really Like?
Kindermusik of Ithaca
About the Teachers
Why I Teach Kindermusik
Open House
E-Mail Us
For Kindermusik Teachers
Home Activities
Join a Discussion
International Affiliates
Other Children's Music Sites
Music Box--Daycare Programs
(Classes pages)
Beginnings Classes
Beginnings Description
Growing Classes
Growing Description
Pre-Growing Description
Pre-Growing Classes
Kindermusik for Young Child Description
Kindermusik Young Child Classes
Kindermusik Village (Infants) Description
Kindermusik Village Classes

The web site complements other promotional literature, which includes flyers and brochures, some from the parent international organization and one produced locally that includes current class schedule and tuition information.  The target market has a very high percentage of web access, either at home or work (estimated at over 75 percent). The web site will be promoted in all posters and brochures distributed and client is in process encouraging other local sites to add pointers to Kindermusik Ithaca, as appropriate.

Design Issues

Navigation: The main page is designed to provide a jumping-off point to specific information the user may be interested in. At the portal there there is a clickable menu of information available at the site. At the bottom of this and every page are the five navigation buttons expected to be most useful:
New site visitors should be able to easily locate specific information or browse the site. Regular visitors should be able to quickly access information (like home activities, which will be updated monthly) and interact with teachers and other parents via e-mail or chat.

Text Font and Graphics: Site is text-heavy as appropriate, especially on pages like Our Philosophy. Information is there for those who want it. Heads are in Curlz MT, with running heads using Braggadocio text reversed out of a blue box. Running heads were designed to link related pages (What We Do in Classes, for example) but these probably need further examination.

Photos:  Includes photos to help promote, persuade, and tell what Kindermusik is all about. Images are chosen for ease of "readability" on a web page, in fairly small size. All are sepia-toned, including several color photos I ran through Photoshop to color-correct. They are inserted into tables, to facilitate size manipulation. I took all photos, so there are no issues of copyright. (However, it might be nice to give myself a credit somewhere.)

Background/Colors:  Since I wanted a very slight textured feel ("quality" idea), I imported the background, but couldn't figure out how to revise color (in Photoshop or elsewhere!). To complement sepia-toned photos, color background should really be closer to first version (deep peach). Navy, dried-blood red,olive-green, and white r.o. type colors all chosen for legibility against background color. 

Sound/Video/Animated GIFs: For those users who have powerful machines and like bells and whistles, there are  some sound and video clips.  But of course, the site is designed to be effective for those who can't access these things, too. The sound clips are used to hear both teachers describing why they got into teaching Kindermusik (less than 60 seconds each) Both teachers have a genuine enthusiasm for what they do that is important to convey to potential students/families. (It also personalizes the site.) For those who cannot play audio, there is a link to a text-only version of the statement. 

Videos will be used on each class description page, and  will include clips under one minute each from a class of students in that age range. No text version is available. Access is via animated clickable GIF of video screen.

Mail/Chat/Registration: Visitors will be able to join a chat/discussion group, send e-mail, and register for classes.

Upkeep Issues: Client anticipates checking e-mail daily and responding within several days, updating the activities page monthly, inputting new schedules for the semesters as they are arrived at (new pages may be necessary, if she chooses to provide current and upcoming schedules). In addition she will monitor chat/discussion forum and incoming registration forms as appropriate.

In an ideal world, design would be much more visual (and aural--especially since this is a music-related site), with first page, for example, featuring for impact a full-screen photo with text ("KINDERMUSIK--A child's joyful exploration of music and movement") reversing out. It would automatically play the first 20 seconds of the "hello" song, which is traditionally used to open classes. Other sounds would play as you opened other pages, for example, a little kid saying, "Mommy, is this a Kindermusik day?" The musical instrument page (to come) would feature clickable representations of each instrument, with sound bites for each. More and longer video would be used, with real-time streaming to allow clips of up to three minutes of class demos and other places where appropriate.

Given that the audience (and my client!) do not, for the most part, have T-1 internet access this first edition of the Kindermusik page--alas!--keeps "bells and whistles" to a minimum. 


©TLC Productions 1999. All rights reserved.
Unauthorized use or reposting of photos or graphics prohibited.