Designing a website is a pretty intense and sometimes, complicated process. The goal is to make the process as painless as possible. The redesign process of my website has been a continuous series of starts and stops for about a year. I was completely unhappy with my previous website and its layout.
As a matter of fact…I was not happy with the entire site! It seemed like I could never find the time to work on it. I knew that learning a new skill or working on a project was more important. I figured I would split my time by learning for a bit and work on my site for the rest of the time. This didn’t happen. There was always something else to learn. Or there was always another project that I needed to work on. Or there was always a project in the back of my mind that I wanted to work on and now was the time. My website was once again placed on the back burner. This is what I did, day in and day out.
“If I don’t do it now, it will never get done.”
Act One: The Decision
One day I decided to change all of this. It was now or never. If I don’t do it now, it will never get done. It didn’t have to be perfect. I just had to ship the product and if I wasn’t happy, then I would work on it over time.
My design process went through multiple stages before I decided to commit to its current version.
Act One 1/2: “The Kick-Off Meeting”
When I started the redesign process, I wanted to make sure that my website would be focused on the audience that I was intending to reach. This called for me to re-evaluate my focus – answering the “why” question that’s an initial part of kick-off meetings. This initial step didn’t involve designs at all. I had to map my ideas and structure. I used a list of bullet points to help facilitate this action.
Act Two: The Layout
The next question that I had to answer was how did I want to approach the layout. This is the point where I had to put my designer hat on. This was accomplished by writing on lots of napkins, pieces of scrap paper and basically anything that I could get my hands on when inspiration hit. If I wasn’t home, I would take the design and do a high-fidelity wireframe. I also had to decide on the type of fonts that I wanted and what images where going to be required.
Act Three: The Code
Next it was time to code the actual site. Now it was time to fire up Sublime Text and crank out some code. But before all of this, I had to answer two questions. Was this going to be a static site or should I build it using the WordPress platform?
Building a static site is pretty simple, right? You set up multiple HTML pages, place the content on each individual pages and you’re done! A WordPress site would be mush more efficient from a maintenance point of view. With a WordPress website, you can make a change to one page and each page would “pull” the changes to update automatically. Take for example a navigational menu. A website with more than 10 pages and 10 individual navigation menus would quickly become a nightmare if I had to make changes down the line. Since this is a small, personal site with less than 5 pages, I considered that this wouldn’t be too much of a headache if I later decided to add another page. So I decided to go with the static route.
Act Four: The Conclusion
In conclusion, I didn’t build my site using WordPress. Did I do myself a disservice? Possibly. Is this another learning experience? Definitely! This was just my thought process as I built my website and the structure that should executed when building a website for anyone. A static website is cool but a website that’s dynamic is super sexy! WP means seamless interaction with end-users (comments), a host of plug-ins to make the site do cool stuff and a knowledgeable community of developers and users. Will I eventually use WP in future versions? Absolutely!
What about you? Do you have any experiences similar to mine? What did you do? I would love to know. Post to leave feedback or follow me on Twitter and share your experiences.