ACOP runs its own website for several different purposes. These include:
- Publicity for ACOP, particularly information about upcoming exhibitions;
- As a showcase of members' own art and craft;
- For people to contact us directly, without giving out email addresses;
- To send out customer emails before each exhibition.
We do the website ourselves, partly to avoid the cost of paying someone else, but mostly so that we can do pretty much whatever we want with it.
The ACOP website can be reached at either of the following locations (with or without the www's):
The short version is the original one. Members decided to have the long one because the short one doesn't look like it means anything. Currently we keep both, because the extra cost is minimal, and each has its advantages. The short one also gets confused with the other ACOP, Australian College of Professionals acop.edu.au who are the organisation that trains the real estate industry.
Members pages – the basics
Every ACOP member is entitled to, and encouraged to, set up a page for their own art or craft. (If you do both art and craft, you're entitled to a separate page for each.) Your page is free as long as you pay your annual membership.
Your page is reached from the Member Pages links on the right hand side of every page (which moves to the bottom on small screens such as phones), and can also be found via the Our Artists or Our Members pages.
To keep it fair for everyone, we set limits on what you are allowed, and everyone gets the same page layout.
Your name can be shown with or without your surname, whichever you are happier with. Once that's decided, we will set up your page, and you are welcome to use the page to publicise your own art or craft. Generally your web page will be acop.com.au/yourname
The title at the top of your page can be whatever you like that describes what you do in a few words.
You get one picture gallery, of up to 30 photos of your work, below the title. We limit the number of photos both to be fair to everyone, and because if we don't, your web page loads too slowly. More about pictures later.
Below the picture gallery, we provide a write-up about you and your art or craft. You are invited to write this yourself, but if you'd prefer not to or are not sure about what to write, get in touch and we'll help. Have a look at other people's pages to see what they have written.
At the end of the write-up, there is an option to provide contact details for anyone interested to contact you directly. The available options are phone number, email and your own website. If you choose the email option, your email address won't be visible on the website, anyone contacting you will be sent to a "contact me" page on the website, and from there, the email will go straight to you, and only if you choose to reply will the sender then find out your email address.
Lastly, at the bottom of the page, you can have one large picture about you and/or your art or craft - for example, some craft members use a photo of their craft table at exhibitions.
We also need a short description of your art and/or craft. This is used for two different purposes:
- It appears on the Our Artists or Our Crafters page, together with a randomly chosen one of your pictures.
- We give it to Google as our suggestion for how to summarise your web page in Google searches. Google's robots will read your page and decide whether the suggestion is an accurate summary.
What you need to know about pictures for the web
The pictures are meant to be the first thing that people will look at - and on small screens like phones, they deliberately take up most of the screen - so here's more information about how to make it happen.
We realise that some members know a lot about editing pictures and others don't. We try to make it fair for everyone by giving you options, so we're flexible about how much of the work on the pictures is done by you, and how much by us.
If you want us to take the photos, then please contact us to work out how. We find that most members who want us to take the photos organise to do this at our exhibitions - it's just easier.
If you take the photos yourself, we can either do the photo editing for you, or tell you what our requirements are so that you can do it yourself. Most members take their own photos and get us to do the editing.
We should explain why photos have to be edited, and there are several reasons. One is that we find brightness & contrast is all over the place, and websites do need it to appear roughly the same in all pictures. But the biggest reason for editing is that what comes from your camera or smartphone is a file that is much too big for the web – at least a hundred times too big – so the photos have to be shrunk. Too big is really bad - you wouldn't be able to see the higher quality on the web, and the large size would really slow down the web pages, as well as run us out of expensive hard disk space.
Because photos have to be edited regardless, it's much easier to always take photos that are a bit bigger than your work, and then trim all the edges later as part of editing. This is much easier to do than trying to get it perfectly framed on the camera, and gives you the option to change the ratio of height to width as well.
Some people are concerned about their designs being stolen if they appear on the web. The much reduced sharpness on the web from the original photo may help, but if you would prefer a watermark as well, that's OK too. A few people also deal with this by only putting some of their work on the website, which is OK.
Although the limited picture resolution of the web does mean that a reasonably decent quality phone camera is usually good enough, please don't use the zoom, because zooming reduces the quality dramatically on virtually all phone cameras.
You can give us your photos by email, on camera cards, memory sticks, photo CD's, external hard disks, or as photo prints – most members send them by email. This has recently changed, now you should send them to the enquiries address.
If you do send us unedited pictures by email, you will almost certainly need to send each one in a separate email, otherwise you'll hit your own maximum email size limit. You don't need to worry about filling up our email inbox, it is big enough & we store the photos in the cloud.
Editing photos yourself
If you want to edit pictures yourself, then you will need to know the technical details of what the website needs. We use only JPEG (jpg) format, which virtually all cameras use. Our maximum resolution is 640x480 or 480x640 pixels, so we recommend resizing to either of those dimensions. Because most people's work won't exactly fit that 4:3 aspect ratio, we let you use whatever aspect ratio best suits each photo, provided only that the picture doesn't exceed those size limits. We do also suggest not being too much below those size limits, because your picture won't be zoomed up, it will just leave lots of empty space.
You are welcome to use whatever photo editing software you already have. We use the Windows program XnView (which is free), and if you would like to use it too, please let us know, and we'll send you the instructions for using it to do photo editing for ACOP. We will always also remove the EXIF information (this is what identifies your camera or phone model, when the photo was taken. the camera settings, and sometimes the location) because it's nobody else's business.
Keeping your page updated
Every website needs regular updates to keep it fresh and encourage people to keep coming back, so we encourage you to do regular updates. To update the pictures, just send us the new ones, and if you're hitting the picture limit, letting us know which old ones to remove would be appreciated. To update the words, we can set up your page so that you can do it yourself, but so far everyone just sends us the words, which is OK.
Why can't I see the changes?
Whenever any changes are made, you may not see them straight away. Don't panic, this is deliberate. We follow the standard recommendations that we tell your computer, phone, tablet or whatever that our webpages don't need to be re-checked for changes for 24 hours (to reduce unnecessary web traffic). You should be able to fix the problem either by using the Refresh button, or by using a different web browser program.