As you can see from the Project Managers update, the office here in Hobart has been busy negotiating potential partnerships with private enterprise and government agencies. Your Centre has been placed on the mailing list for newsletters from the Tasmanian Electronic Commerce centre and the Tasmanian Community Network. These newsletters will be of interest to some of your users, so please leave them where they will be easily seen.
Has your Centre got a Round Number Coming Up?
Lorraine Hamilton at Devonport has been able to use the concurrence of two significant "numbers" to promote the Centre. In mid October the Centre logged up its 1,000th user, and also recorded its 1.000th hour of volunteer service.
Focus on Microbusiness in Online Access Centres
Congratulations to Lorraine, The Devonport Management Committee and to all the volunteers whose work is so much appreciated. Devonport Centres work will be highlighted in the Advocate newspaper of Friday 16th October.
One of the policies of Tasmanian Communities Online is to host, free of charge, basic home pages for local micro-businesses. This service will be a most important way for micro-businesses to get started in E-commerce, to be able to test the interest "out there" for their product or service and then be able to respond to identified niches in the market . At the moment it is not possible for access centres to host larger pages with complex product access, order lodgement or electronic payment, however sites, hosted on another server, can take advantage of a Hotlink to the Centre page.
Sorell Fruit Farm
This small business now has a web page hosted by Sorell Online Access Centre, and it is s good example of how a single page can be both very arresting in appearance and yet still manage to convey the important nub of the information. Superimposed on a huge, luscious, crimson strawberry is the basic information about location and a chart of when fruits will be ready to pick.
Elaine and Bob Hardy from the Sorell fruit farm supplied the information and pictures to Andrew Meers, who was able to scan the images in using the Centres scanner. After trying out several ideas and different pictures, they eventually came up with the eye catching design you can see there for yourself. Elaine mentioned that one tip to be wary of is to select pictures which will not require a long time to down load, as people sometimes become tired of waiting (even if it is only a few seconds) and cancel the connection.
VALMA Poll Hereford Stud
Browsing through the Deloraine Online you will come across a link to the VALMA Poll Hereford Stud. Josephine McLauchlan, daughter of the proprietors, says that they designed the page in cooperation with Nick Flittner at Meander, whom she describes as "amazingly good at teaching us how to design the page". Josephine says that, before they connected to the Internet at home, they found the facilities in the OAC of great use in their business, and also for their work in organising the Westbury Show, for which they are volunteers.
Elizabeth Town Nursery
Proprietors John and Corrie Dudley are pretty much tied to the nursery all day every day, but for several years have made it a family custom to visit the Devonport Library on Friday evenings. A few months ago they noticed the activity going on to set up the OAC. Soon contact was made with Lorraine Hamilton and they were discussing the possibility of redesigning their existing web page which was on a private ISP. Now they have a much more friendly and informative web page, thanks to the help of Lorraine, and while it is still hosted on the original ISP (because it contains a very comprehensive mail order plant catalogue), it will be hotlinked to Devonport Online.
Johns advice to other businesses is that a well designed web page which runs smartly is very successful as a marketing tool. He points out that the Tasmanian temperate climate is applicable to a large proportion of the "gardening surface of the world" and the web site is a way for him to easily and effectively promote his plants to that huge market.