I thought it over, changed it around, used what I had, went from here to there and Bob’s your uncle. Bob’s your uncle is a British thing and I do not know what it means other than, there you go. Below is the working first page of Parker Payroll Services. Below that is a link to the work-in-progress site. I chose a very different and not typical style. I did it because I could and because more and more often I am seeing “new” design and concepts that either I or former colleagues did years ago. At the time we did them we were shot down as being too modern because of a, “I haven’t seen that before” mentality. So I designed what I liked, what I thought was user friendly and a bit atypical. You might not like it, you might think it is bad design. It is not, it is good design. It is different, not that much, useable yet simple. As many people that love curry an equal amount of people hate it. By the way, the bottom row doesn’t work and won’t take you to another page. Click the logo to go back home.
So there it is, my web page layout. (See last week’s post.) It’s fine. I like it. But I think I want something a little more well, more. I’ve noticed lately that I can look at web site and tell that they are Word Press sites. There’s beginning to be a format or style about them. It’s very nice, but not what, you, as a client, is going for. I have some thumbnails below (quick little sketches) that I did on the bus. They are a bit shaky but I was kind of musing. The final will likely not look much like any of these or maybe it will. That’s the process, you try lots of things and refine, refine, refine. You, as the client, don’t see all the process and refinement that goes into a design. That’s the reason I decided to step back and move slowly through the process. This project does not have deadline so I can mosey through my process and document it. So how am I going to do this? I’m going to think, draw on the bus, think while I’m running, I will pay attention to posters, book design, web designs, magazine layouts looking for inspiration. I will tear out pages, mark book pages and create a file of ideas. It’s a process. It’s my process. Some designers get instantly inspired after days of agonizing and others have methodology that works for them. I am some place in between. You’ll see how I find my way to the design that will become Parker Payroll Services web site.
Here is the first pass at the web page. This only represents the color scheme and the layout. I think I want to add a photo montage for the top of the page. You know something expected, remember I’m going for strong dependable and yes maybe not predictable certainly not surprising or unpredictable. Notice however, client sign-in. That’s where clients of Parker Payroll can sign-in and enter their payroll data safely and securely. When I really have it ready I will do a couple of pages and provide a link that will go to a mini site within my web site that will have linked pages providing a true user experience.
Since I’ve decided to create a design presence for a fictional company I thought I would outline what I plan to cover. By starting from scratch with a fictional company I get to do what I believe is the best way to create a graphic identity. I’ve chosen a payroll company because while a yoga studio or gift shop is more exciting and has more creative capital that’s not terribly real world. With that in mind, I’ve chosen a payroll company. Here is the outline of what I intend to cover. By the way, there is no one way to do this, I am not doing this for other designers, this is a primer for non-designers. I don’t advocate any one who isn’t a designer doing this on their own. But I think by understanding the process and working with a professional designer this can be a satisfying experience for the client and designer.
I. Company name
A. The importance of thinking ahead and thinking big or small
B. Color Scheme
A. The how’s and whys and more importantly, why not.
D. Look and feel
A. Business cards
D. Tear sheets
A. Web site
C. Online services
V. Social Media
VI. Advertising traditional vs. new
Both terms have to with web sites and their content. CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheet. It acts very much like a template might in word. It contains formatting that can be used page after page and all the elements will look the same and in the same place on a web page. But a web page is not a sheet of paper. A sheet of paper is static it doesn’t change size. A web page, however, flexes it size depending on the size of the window width. A style sheet will flex with the size of the window.
CMS is short for Content Management System. It is software that helps non-techy people manage the content on their web sites. Some CMS software can do lots of things. Some are fairly simple and can only do basic tasks. CMS can be a double edged sword. Like all software, it can have a steep learning curve for really complicated tasks. But it can also allow your web site to be always current by allowing fresh content to be added by various staff on the fly. Your best bet is to keep K.I.S.S. principle in mind (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Posted in Advice, web
Tagged advice, CMS, CSS, web
I saw a web site last week that had about eight pages it didn’t need. When you pay to have a web site designed don’t look at the cost and weigh it against how many pages you get. Do you put events on your front page? Then why, oh why would you have a dedicated events page? Do you put news on the front page? Then you don’t need a page for news. Look at your web site right now. Well not right now. Do you have a page of explanation before you get to the meat of your content? Make your explanation a side bar and keep it all on one page. Having your visitors click through page after page is gratifying for your stats, not for your visitors. And if you have a web master or designer on staff have them design a site you can update. There are software programs that will allow you to easily update information on your site yourself.
Posted in Design, web
Tagged Design, web
When it comes to building your own web site, not everyone can, not everyone wants too and some just plain cannot. And, that is all there is to it. Which are you? You may be able to build your own web site but should you? You have a lot of options out there. You can subscribe to a web host who provides templates. You can get Dreamweaver, (Dreamweaver is web page design software) you can even save word files as web pages. If you are a company and a professional appearance is paramount to your credibility hire some one to do it. That said, work with that person to design a site that can be updated by you. I don’t mean design overhauls, I mean updating the date of the annual picnic. Announcing your big promotion, that kind of stuff. With Contribute, software that goes with Dreamweaver you can update your site yourself easily. If you want a site for family and friends by all means go for it. I would suggest you use a provider that supplies templates. The monthly rate may be a little higher but everything can be pretty much done for you.
Posted in Advice, Design, web
Tagged Design, web