Redesigning the Website. Part one.

It’s time for a revamp of the Cheshire Designer website and I thought I would document the process here. To begin with this will be a brief overview of the reasons and preparation work taken place so far.

I plan this to be a series of blogs written at the same time as updating the website–so if you are reading this in the future, you have probably already seen the final results of this adventure. If you have stumbled across this as I work on the web development, then please join me for the journey.

Why change the website?

The current site was always a way of learning the basics of responsive web design. I wanted to create a site that looked neat, loaded quickly and was responsive. I think I succeeded fulfilling my initial brief and learnt a lot, but a timely comment from a friend made me realise a few things too.

  • The site is functional but has no real personality. I haven’t really designed it.
  • I’ve always known content is important and I had some plans that never worked out, so the site is lacking in content that will keep visitors coming.
  • I have no brand and no consistancy across website, blog, social media or print output.
  • I needed to understand more about good web design. As someone with years of print design history, I realised I was at the stage of knowing the tools (html, css, javascript) but not the best design techniques to use. For example, how do I transfer using grids from print design across to responsive web development?

The learning phase

The last six months have been hard on the brain–I’ve had my head in books, searching the web and typing away on my laptop. It’s been a great voyage of discovery. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Downloading and experimenting with Twitter Bootstrap. A friend recommended learning more about how this framework is used and it really helped my understanding of grid based design for the web.
  • My favourite website is now Smashing Magazine and I have purchased most of their, highly informative, books (still more reading to do!).
  • I have also studied the basics of User Experience Design (UX) to help in the planning stage of the new site.
  • My explorations of online training took me to enrolling at Udacity and watching their training videos on Front End Development (some of these are very useful and also entertaining!)

The learning phase is still ongoing, but it’s time to put it all in to practice now.

For those of you from the future, here’s some screen shots of the current design.

Image of Current Blog Page
Current Blog Page
Image of Current Portfolio Page
Current Portfolio Page
Image of Current Cheshire Designer home page
Current Cheshire Designer home page

Ahh! Looking at the screenshots now makes me more motivated to do this! I have some ideas in my head already.

Next time, I will talk about which tools and software I chose to use, and why. If you have any thoughts,  (useful) criticisms or advice, please comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading

Gary

Author: Gaz

Freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator. Based in Chester, Cheshire Designer offers great value design and branding for local startups, charities and established businesses.

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