final reflection

emotional and responsive design:

At the beginning of this assignment, I was nervous to see how my designs would translate digitally throughout the website. I had a clear vision of what my website could look like based on the various emotional design theories we read about. Creating the design persona and using it as a strong foundation for the site aesthetic allowed me to better manage what I was trying to say and how I wanted to say it without using words. Once I created the skeleton of each page, I was able to refer back to the design persona.

Initially, my landing page was similar to ones we reviewed in class – big images, a simple “hello” and subtle links inviting you in at the top. However, I realized that since most of my work is tiny (under 100 square inches) a large image didn’t necessarily reflect the portfolio I wanted to highlight. I started looking into how other artists marketed their exhibitions, created their online layouts, and translated their artistic style on a digital platform. I ultimately decided on a set of “navigation boxes” that mimicked my square canvases with images that fit well into my moodboard. As inspiration, I sifted through sunwoven studio's and Pretty in the Pines' sites. While both of these sites are much more populated than the simple design of mine, I can imagine if I moved forward with this project that I would continue to analyze how they incorporated content without that content cluttering their pages.

(Side note about the moodboard: these are great when you are trying to create a concise “vibe” or “look” so to speak. If you afraid that something you’re working on is deviating too far from the original aesthetic you were going for, the moodboard can be used as reference. It sets the tone for everything else!)

Creating a responsive navigation bar and other hover responses throughout heightened my responsive design overall. My footer and contact page also gave me opportunities to add text as if I was speaking. Many of us write much different than we speak. It is more formal and calculated. Instead I wanted to put a more casual spin on things. These features also remain consistent throughout the site, which is something I put high on my list of importance. Without a consistent header, the navigation would be more confusing for the user. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for anyone to navigate through the site.

My site stayed relatively consistent with my initial sketches. I think this is because I played around with the index page (html and css) before putting anything on paper. Originally, I tried to incorporate parallax scrolling on a single page with anchors for each section. If I were to continue, I would like to reincorporate some of these images. And find a way to effectively merge my pages for the smaller screens (perhaps something unique for the phone size.)

In the future, I would also like to add a commission page. This would include FAQs about commissioned work and a survey that I have given past clients (what kinds of blues do you like, what is the overall mood you are looking for, etc.) My aim in the design persona was to create as little of a barrier between me and anyone looking at my website as possible. The commission process is all about communication. When people are looking at the site, I want them to feel like they can easily have a conversation with me.

progress from start to finish:

If you asked me at the beginning of the semester if I would be capable of coding an entire website, I would have probably laughed. Even starting the resume assignment was intimidating. I thought there would be no way I could code multiple pages to create a stylistically consistent website. We had spent half a semester working on one page. How was I supposed to create multiple new pages that are linked through responsive navigation especially after I was off from coding for weeks? It didn’t seem possible. Yet here we are…

I am proud of the online persona I created. It follows the brand traits in a way that reflects who I am. And in all, the website looks less clunky than my resume. Unfortunately, during the break in between project one and project two, I didn’t retain as much coding knowledge as I had wished. In a lot of places, I felt like I was starting from scratch. I overlooked simple errors in code after spending hours looking over what I had written. At the beginning of the second project, nothing was coming as easily as things did the first time around. Coding in NOT like riding a bike.

And then something changed. Visually, my pages started coming together. I was able to successfully take risks and try new things. I was able to visualize how minor changes could create big, positive impacts. Looking at the website now, I am proud of what I have done.

Given the time, I would like to try using different plug ins. I found a few for Instagram that I preferred for aesthetic purposes over the one I ended up using. But they all required a premium or I couldn’t secure my site (no https). I also used a mailchimp sign up form on the footer of all pages aside from the contact page. It would be interesting to play with this in css more. Many other elements I thought of adding required more knowledge of Javascript. Even elements that looked clunky and complicated had in depth java needs that I simply could not carry out. I would also like to add more content to the website and create additional inner pages to better categorize all of the material.

I would say I am moderately comfortable with coding and writing for the web. A big challenge throughout this project was keeping everything organized. I opted for one css page but in the future I would probably create two or three (or more) to better organize my code. While there is so much more for me to learn, I am satisfied with how much I learned this semester. I genuinely didn’t think I could do it… I thought Web Design would be my most dreaded class. It ended up being a class I was most excited to work for.

For future classes, I would suggest breaking the final project down into two separate projects. – maybe a landing page with navigation and then other inner pages. Starting the website with less than half of the semester left was overwhelming in the beginning. And with the short break in between, moving from a single page resume to a multidimensional site felt like a lot to take on. I also noticed that students in web design work at very different paces. I finished my resume much before the assigned due date and I moved on to trying different codes that I ended up discarding. Yet for the website I felt like I was behind other students. It could be nice to have some intermediate assignments to test our skills further. Students can later add these assignments into a design portfolio that already has the necessary alt texts and descriptions.