Akumenta: Innovative Custom Web Development, Programming & Graphics Design for the busy but enlightened!
Stand out from the crowd and be noticed


St James Primary School is a popular primary school based in Armitage, Staffordshire (UK).

First established in 1915, the school caters for children from the ages of 4 to 11, and have been serving their community for over 90 years.

Above: Scaled down screen-shot of the site's front page

We were delighted to team up with the enthusiastic staff and pupils of St James Primary School in order to develop an outstanding and highly commended Web resource for the benefit of both pupils and parents alike. This process entailed all of the following aspects:

Intelligent content planning: For this project we were given a large amount of potential content in various formats. This included print & disk which we judiciously organised, transcribed and edited into easily manageable quantities and specific subject matter for prospective use within the site.

Before we begin to even contemplate the design or structure of any Website we carefully address the issue of how the content will be suitably organised and eventually presented online. Good content planning consequently ensures that we design accessible Websites with clear-cut navigation and uncomplicated well laid out structures. As a result visitors are able to find the information they want without any apprehension, delay or frustration.

Original custom design & build: Embracing St James's existing school colours, we set about creating a site that would engaging and useful to both children and adults.

As with all of our work, this site was painstakingly custom crafted from the ground up to encompass the school's every need.

Custom graphics and artwork: Various original key graphics & images were created for this Website.

Logo recreation: The schools existing emblem was sensitively recreated to create a definitive branding for the school. As well as being used within our Website design, our new logo artwork has been subsequently used on the schools computer desktops and professionally printed onto several St.James branded fund raising products.

Image scanning & formating: Scores of slides and photographs were scanned in and appropriately formatted for use within the sites gallery area. Various images were also painstakingly enhanced and manipulated for inclusion within the site.

Custom scripting & programming: All of our Websites utilise in-house custom written scripting / programming making everything work smoothly behind the scenes. As well as the custom programmed games alredy mentioned, this particular site utilises a custom written enquiry form providing a friendly and effortless way for parents to get in touch with the school...

When the site's enquiry form is used, the contents of the form are immediately sent to the school, whilst an automated "thank you" response is also courteously sent out to the enquirers email address. Our enquiry form feature also incorporates various sophisticated anti-spam filters.

Six custom created Flash™ games: As a splash of fun for the site we created SIX fast loading games using Macromedia Flash™. These games serve to be fun, whilst also being educational, effectively helping to develop the children's hand to eye co-ordination / computer and even literacy skills.

In the "want it now!" world of the Web, few surfers are willing to wait whilst a Flash feature loads. Accordingly we are always mindful to create FAST loading and efficiently designed Flash features, ensuring the greatest experience for all Web surfers.

Pupil involvement: With the help of the enthusiastic children at St James, one particular game that we created was a classic 'word search' with 28 puzzle variations. To achieve this, we first gave a selected class a set of Akumenta word search design guides / grids on paper. They then filled out the grids with their own imaginative choice of subjects and words. Once the children had created their 28 different word puzzles on paper we then cleverly assimilated them (along with each authors name) into our interactive online game, so as to form part of St James Website.

In-house development: As with all of our work, every element of these games was created from scratch and developed entirely in-house by the Akumenta team, including the original sound tracks.

Additional special Flash™ custom features: As well as the Flash games described above, we also created two fairly simple but also rather unique extra features for this site:

Historical comparison: After being handed a wonderful old photographic postcard of the school, dated some time around 1910, we could not resist visiting what is now Longdon's village hall and taking an up-to-date photograph from exactly the same spot where the original photographer must have set up his camera almost 100 years ago! We then took both past and present images and creatively placed them in a custom Flash feature enabling them to be faded between each other. This feature was then placed to great effect on the St James Website's history page.


Puffin crossing guide: After much local campaigning, the residents of Longdon and the parents of St James were eventually rewarded with the new installation of a Puffin crossing, providing safe passage across the nearby busy A51 road. To celebrate this we created a brief but informative piece of animation demonstrating how to safely use the new crossing. This was then added to the front page of the StJames Website for all the children to use. Our feature was also highly commended during a visit to the school by a local road safety awareness officer.


Accessibility testing: As with all of our Website's, we robustly tested this site at various key development stages making certain that it would be fully compatible with all popular Web browser packages, (such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Netscape Navigator for example).

Ensuring the widest available audience: We understand that not all Web surfers use the same Web browser packages, screen resolution or technology, meaning that many poorly written sites cannot be properly viewed by large clusters of Web surfers. With this in mind we take great care to ensure that anything we place on the World Wide Web can be properly accessed and viewed by the widest available audience.

Format conversion: Various files were appropriately converted into formats more suited for Web use and good end user compatibility. We continue to routinely provide this ongoing service as part of our standard Web hosting remit for St James (see below). This ensures that all visitors to the St James Website receive the best experience.

Web hosting and housekeeping services - an ongoing commitment: Through our own fast and reliable hosting services we successfully deliver the St James Website around the world. As part of our annual hosting remit we also regularly handle all Website content updates for St James. This includes keeping their calendar and vast online gallery up to date.

We perform such housekeeping services for many of our customers who find our ongoing commitment to their needs invaluable. Our response time for update requests is incredibly swift, generally within the hour or at least the same day. As well as being refreshingly responsive, our overall approach to content updates is also extremely flexible and generously accommodating within our standard and very affordable hosting / housekeeping plan. Indeed many of our clients have moved over from other service providers to us, for this rare and refreshingly receptive level of ongoing service.

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Schools ...don't be held back by your budget! We have a good understanding of the budget constraints that most schools experience, especially primary schools. Accordingly, we see every school Web project as a superb opportunity to demonstrate the excellence that can genuinely be achieved for a reasonably low fee. Indeed we are well aware that we charge far less for our custom crafted Web services than many of our competitors demand for simply passing on generic template based designs. (We are also aware that many companies see the public sector / schools as an area where they can often charge MORE than they usually would a private customer, a practice that Akumenta wholly denounces). Simply put, excellence and individuality in the realm of Web development for schools need no longer come at an impractical cost.

Continued care and service: We also understand that it's not always easy to set aside the time or staff needed to keep a Website up-to-date once it has been launched. Accordingly we provide generous / flexible ongoing 'housekeeping' and updates as required all-year-round, as part of our standard and affordable Web hosting remit, meaning that you don't have to!

Also worthy of note is that the ‘appropriate use of technology’ & the use of such technologies to keep parents informed etc, can be of significant benefit to OFSTED appraisals.

If YOU are a school looking for friendly advice from an experienced and affordable Web developer, then we would love to hear from you. Even if you already have a site with someone else, we can most likely save your school money and offer you a better service all round.

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