The old website used tables and ugly out of date code with a bland layout, tiny project photos, ugly feature images, colors that didn't complement the company's logo and identity, and an unclear focus that confused potential clients. Left, old homepage, right, old service page.
My goals were to:
- improve SEO,
- develop a style complementary to the company's identity,
- refocus content to more accurately reflect our work,
- update the code to be cleaner, easier to update, and adherent to current webstandards.
I started off thinking about the site's structure, and reorganized the division of projects to be more logical to laypeople like myself. We discussed what new pages we wanted to add - a blog and a page about our sustainable practices.
To begin, I designed the homepage, which grew from the selected option (below) to the final page at watershedco.com. Funnily, I got stuck around permutation 4 for quite a while while I moved on to designing the service and project pages.
Final homepage (screen capture in firefox 3):
When I had a good feel for how the homepage would look, I started designing the subpages. I divided the meat of the site into sections - wetlands, streams, planning, etc, and each of those sections has a landing page listing services and projects.
Final service page (screen capture in firefox 3):
I started gathering content, since I wanted a description, statistics, and photo slideshow for each project. I wound up writing more myself than I thought I would at first. Also, I had to research options for the features I wanted - photo slideshow, text replacement, and a way to display projects. Originally we had been going to stick with our old webhost, which support asp - but not, I discovered after spending hours teaching myself about master pages, asp.net. Terrible, ancient hosting. Thankfully I convinced my boss to upgrade our hosting. That way I got to use .php instead, which I hadn't used before but now wholeheartedly embrace.
Finally, writing the code (which I prefer to do from scratch), testing, creating styles for print, mobile, and iphone viewing, and the launch!
I've been having fun modeling stuff for the shop:
The jewelry I make ranges from fun and modern to old-fashioned Victorian & Steampunk, but I feel it's all quite original, so I wanted something that would reflect that range.
My favorite color combination is hot pink and yellow, so I thought that would pull in the fun feeling of my jewelry. I tried to imply 'classic' in a couple different ways - creating an old style initial 'stamp' with cursive K, using a beautiful serif and traditional quatrefoil shape. (The first option below didn't quite get there, although of the three I feel it's the strongest mark.)
The first option was vetoed because hearts aren't really my thing and the 'k' didn't fit. The third option was vetoed because (as Robin rightly pointed out) it evokes quilting. The second option, though flawed, had the feel I wanted.
For revisions, I needed to revise the design to work at small sizes as well as the current large size. I liked the text from the first option above best, so I pulled that in. Moving the text off the quatrefoil made it feel like it was missing something. I came up with this:
Although this would reproduce well at small sizes, it feels too chunky to me, and most of the things I make are more feminine. I also thought that for printing purposes I should make something flat / cut the gradient. I started playing around and came up with something completely different:
I played around some more and came up with a wide version that I think I prefer:
My favorite!!!! I may keep this... ;D
I also adore this one. Lately I've been using a lot of cameos.
Another (Victoriana) cameo piece.
At first I didn't really like this but the pretty delicacy has grown on me.
I've been starting to work with gunmetal (the black colored metal) too.
Onyx is so beautiful! I also couldn't resist the lucite hourglasses.
I ordered a shitload more of these plastic flowers!
Jade, brass, and glass.
Czech fire-polished turquoise glass with faux cream pearls for an old-fashioned bracelet.
I have been utterly exhausted from this class for the past 2-3 weeks (it was a 6 week class). But now that it's done, I have time to start a new project! ;D
My new project is going to be coming up with a curriculum to teach myself more about different varieties of ecology, get back into scientific reading, try and figure out if grad school in ecology is something I want, and what flavor of ecology if so. Also I need to take the GRE, so studying for that will be tied in. Wheeee!
2008 Secular Humanist Calendar [pdf] (1Mb)