There are as many different types of websites as there are ways to build them. Some are built to deliver sortable and accurate information to facilitate research. Others are designed to sell product, sway public opinion, or collect donations. At the other end of the spectrum are sites that exist for the purpose of entertainment, or are entertaining in and of themselves as they seem to serve no discernable purpose at all.
When it comes to building a website, no matter the category, I tend to focus my attention on certain specific goals:
Optimize for loadtime
- Compress all images to the lowest possible filesize while retaining as much quality as possible (PNGQuant and ImageMagick are my favorites. Use of streamlined SVG where possible is also a strong option.)
Be mindful of form AND function
- Balance graphic design priorities against user goals (Make sure the user can get what they came for, don't bog them down with what YOU want to show them, unless you are specifically aiming to entertain them.)
Plan, Prototype, Publish, and Peek
- I'm a big fan of sketching and thinking before building. When it's time to build, I like to showing progress along the way at key intervals (I think of this as "prototyping" - showing off the project during development to get feedback). Refine the prototypes and publish. Publish early and often, and change gears or try something different if the results aren't what was expected. And don't forget to "Peek" in on your analytics to see if people are actually using what you made.
RQ&N Attorneys - www.rqn.com
Tools: Wordpress, ZURB Foundation, MySQL Workbench, ACF Plugin, MPDF Library
Design / Art Direction: Eric Larson
The challenge in this project was converting an old non-responsive Drupal website into a more modern and user-friendly Wordpress one. Using MySQLWorkbench I created a model of the old database schema for reference and then used that to determine how the data could be migrated into Wordpress ACF-powered custom fields. Aided by the Advanced Custom Fields plugin and built-in Wordpress functionality like custom post types and taxonomy capabilities I was able to salvage the 100(ish) attorney records from the outdated Drupal build and re-package them into a sleek user experience. Both the front-end user and back-end content management experience were vastly improved.
Zero Fatalities Nevada - www.zerofatalitiesnv.com
Tools: Wordpress, ACF Plugin, Manning's Super Simple Responsive Grid, ImageMagick PHP
Design / Art Direction: Eric Larson
This site was a re-packaging of existing HTML content into a new responsive framework. Instead a using a heavier grid framework like Twitter Bootstrap or ZURB foundation, I opted to create a simple percentage-based grid system. (I like to think of it as a the Metric Grid System for Websites). Graphic enhancements like SVG navigation buttons and BX Slider powered carousels provide some aesthetic focal points.
Utah Transportation Coalition - www.utahtransportation.org
Frameworks: Wordpress, Enfold Theme w. Avia Layout Builder
This project involved rebuilding an existing custom themed Wordpress site into a more flexible layout builder based template. My role was to analyze each page of old content and rebuild it using the Avia layout builder which is part of the excellent Enfold Wordpress theme.
Valley to Mountain Study - www.valleytomountainstudy.com
Frameworks: Wordpress, ZURB Foundation
The main purpose of this website was to educate stakeholders and collect stakeholder feedback. A transportation project study was being conducted to determine how to best modernize State Rd. 224 in Summit County, Utah. This website provided users with different transportation options and a jQuery powered form system collected their preferences and comments regarding each proposed solution as they worked their way down the page content.
Markerface - www.markerface.com
Frameworks: PHP, HTML, CSS, Velocity JS
The "Markerface" website was part of a Zero Fatalities Nevada campaign designed to encourage motorists to serve as designated drivers. With the aid of the HTML5 Canvas element, we allowed users to use a virtual marker to draw on a virtual face, and then submit their creative works for a chance to win a designated driver service. This project represents a collaborative coding effort between myself and web developer James Taylor.
Zero Teen Fatalities - www.zeroteenfatalities.com
Frameworks: Wordpress, ACF Plugin, ZURB Foundation
Design / Art Direction: Kenny Hammond
As the name probably suggests, Zero Teen Fatalities is a young-adult variation of the larger Zero Fatalities traffic safety campaign / brand. This site educates teens about the dangers of driving distracted, intoxicated, or drowsy. Using the embedded WuFoo forms system, we also provide an opportunity for them to subscribe to email updates. With the aid of the powerful Wordpress REST API, the site dynamically loads "In Memoriam" stories from the main campaign site (zerofatalitiesnv.com).