below, i’ve included comments and the schedule of this site’s development to show how quickly you really can design a site. it’s my bit about leveraging content and searching for the right tools. i will follow this up with a bit on the branding and how i first imagined the site!
5.01 i decided to seriously consider making a website. i had been keeping a blog but perhaps it was time. it was the nth time someone asked me if i had one and i had always thought it too complicated. this time, i finally thought, why not?
5.04 consider potential layouts, sketched them out by hand. determined content. look at industry best practices. spend a lot of time on smashing magazine and googling terms like “best layout”, “navigation”, “top websites”, “webby awards”. narrow a list down to my top 5.
5.07 research how hosting works, research best hosting sites, look into rankings and reviews by customers. also continue to spend significant time looking into layout, imagine potential style and branding. also, decided that a “portfolio” site is closest to target layout. discover photocrati.
5.14 settle on bluehost as being one of the most heavily used and has a history of excellent 24/7 customer service. also, found to be one of the most compatible with wordpress which was my previous bloghost. settle officially on bluehost, but have not settled on actual wordpress theme yet. install temporary free theme Fullscreen 2.4.3
export previous blog and import to new home. populate empty photo spots with miscellaneous filler photos.
- [UX Concerns] while i loved the minimalist look of this layout and the fun flash cursor feature, this is a layout with poor navigation relative to the content. it is deceptively visually appealing in its simplicity, but ultimately would not work with the type of content i was planning to display.
- [UI incompatibilities] additionally, the white on black is quite dramatic and wasn’t quite in line with the type of branding i was interested in.
5.21 waffling on the theme, still trying to see if there were cheaper options than purchasing the photocrati suite. bluehost was approx $150 for a two year contract + additional privacy protect as site owner. photocrati for all themes, but unlimited use is $80. key appeal is photocrati is designed for photographers and also includes handy built in ecommerce capabilities.
- [what am i looking for?] the right theme would have not only the ability to support potential e-ecommerce capabilities, leverage existing wordpress content, but also allow for significant modification. i was not interested in designing a site from scratch but rather leveraging pre-built functionalities and only learning bits of code when necessary.
5.28 having exhausted research on the cheap and free themes, settle on photocrati. the additional “right-click” protection that they include in the package and the ability to modify any CSS code directly makes it the winner. switch themes, clean up placeholder image remnants from previous theme. create new slideshow tester images.
5.29 get used to some basic functionalities of the new theme. decide on colors, select gallery settings, test out layout combinations. put in placeholder images with temporary pagination. do a few code tweaks here and there (e.g. remove bluehost logos, remove theme logos, etc)
6.04 set up personal email, settle on categorization and design drop down menus with additional pages.
6.11 pretty unproductive weekend. handle backend details such as removing the annoying bullet points in my side panel navigation. begin the organization of photos. spend too much time trying out cool photoshop tricks. too many possibilities, am overwhelmed, give up for the weekend.
6.18 have a very productive day organizing photos for the photo section. learn that resizing can be done in batches with photoshop. remove drop down menus. settle on populating all photo-related pages with appropriate galleries. edit the about and contact pages. research mp3 skins and wordpress compatible players. settle for the blue color — will figure out code to modify later.