Thursday, May 9, 2013

Web Design Process: Yet More Lists

ll right, first things first. Before I go trying to put my website together willy nilly, I need a plan, a master list of desired components and functionality, and a general idea of how to get from here to there. Disclaimer: I have not actually done this before! I've worked on sites designed by someone else, I've done some super basic HTML/CSS work (like my pesky resume and my placeholder website), and I've certainly spent plenty of time thinking about it and reading and researching. So here goes:

Things I'd like from my site:
  • A Gallery of photos: no commenting, prints for sale, easily populated (Lightroom export?), cataloged by keyword, location, highly searchable, and someday I'd like it to include interactive collaging
  • About/info page: bio 
  • Contact: email, links to me elsewhere like twitter etc, RSS for photos and blog?
  • Blog: old posts from blogger + new posts, shiny layout, browseable, comments, share buttons
  • Portfolio: other design work, samples, articles, projects, certificates, whatever else
  • Someday: a sandbox area near the portfolio for projects in progress, something to do with Github? 
  • Aesthetic: simple, lots of white space (or black space), nice OFL (Open Font License) fonts and thin lines, simple image display, good navigation, one animation/movement/interactive element on top page. 
The basic steps outlined below are a combination of my notes from several sources. I learned most of the prototyping and user-testing steps from a class called Human Computer Interaction taught online by Scott Klemmer from Stanford. Not my favorite class on Coursera due to some frustration with the peer-grading setup, but nonetheless informative.

I also discovered that a local web design etc firm called Clikzy Creative posted their entire design process to their site so that clients will know what they're getting into. My process will be a bit different, of course, but it's good to know how a more formal environment would handle the same task.
  • Essentially: "Discovery, Site Map, Content, Wireframe, Mockup, Revise, Develop, SEO, Launch."
The Moxie Design Studio also has their process up on their website. They do a bunch of websites for local Alexandria businesses, so I had seen their work quite a few places already. They also list a general set of project prices on their site, which is somewhat unusual, but very helpful since I had no idea what I should be charging for my work.
  • So again, an essential process looks like: "Discussion, Goals, Mockups, Revisions, Development and Programming, Soft Launch and Client Training, Full Launch and two weeks included Support." 
It's really hard being independent and not letting clients take advantage of you by asking "just a quick question" that actually takes half an hour and is billable. And that's just one reason I'd rather not work for myself!

Back to my own website. A few basic steps to get there:
  1. Define required elements - site map (above)
  2. Find appropriate platform
  3. Wireframing, prototypes, mockups - grids?
  4. Testing it on unsuspecting potential users - feedback and revision
  5. Build, develop, whatever you want to call it
  6. Design details/ illustrations? Finishing touches
  7. Later additions: animation, better databases? E-commerce... 
Each step along the way will probably be a bit more involved, but that should give me a good starting framework to go on. Don't mind me if both my website and blog suddenly disappear while I'm shuffling things around...

1 comment:

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