Assignment 8

How well do you think you’ve done on the project so far, and why?

It was all going well (for the most part), until I hit the wire frame part of the project. Trying to visualize and figure out how the essentials of a website is/was challenging. And when it came to the Midterm, yes, I admittedly “bombed” that one. I ran out of time, due my day job issues taking up valuable study time, and didn’t get to do the personal branding part of the Midterm.

What are your biggest challenges with the project?

The biggest challenges have been trying to come up with fresh approaches in the design process without being derivative. That and time management–I’m a perfectionist and can spend hours on trying to get one little detail right.

What are the most valuable things you learned from the midterm presentations?

The feedback on improving the layout in the wire frames was very helpful. It was good to get a fresh pair of eyes since one can get too deeply immersed in a project and not see other possibilities.

How can you improve your project and what specifically are you going to revise, change, or add to improve your project?

In the wire frame, it was suggested that the link “The Arts” in the top navigation bar was superfluous. The “Follow Us” section was also deemed unnecessary as the social media icons displayed did the same thing. A “lock” icon was suggested for the “Inside SMC” link to denote the user was going to a secure part of the site. Lastly, it also was suggested that the “News” and “Event” sections be moved down further on the home page and the “Arts” section expanded over on the home page.

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Assignment 03 – Communication/Project Brief

List the seven basic steps to a good design brief.

  1. Objectives and Goals of the new design
    What does your client want from their new design? Is this a redesign or reworking of an existing site, or is it a completely new design? Do they already have solid ideas for what they want their site to do or are their ideas more vague?
  2. Budget and Schedule
    Determine from your clients beforehand what kind of budget they have to work with, so you can tailor your services to give them the most benefit for their money. Having a schedule is also as important as a budget. Sometimes clients have certain deadlines that they want to meet, because of events happening with their company or industry. They might have an upcoming product launch or trade show and want their new site ready for it. It’s important to find out why they want things to fit within a certain schedule and whether that schedule is flexible or not.
  3. Target Audience
    Who are your clients trying to reach? A website designed for teenagers is going to look and work a bit differently than one designed for corporate decision-makers. Ask your client who they want to appeal to with their website right from the beginning. If your clients aren’t sure who they want to reach with their site, ask them who their ideal customer is who buys their products or uses their services.
  4. Scope of the Project
    Not every project is as in-depth as every other. Some clients want a completely custom solution. Others just want you to adapt an existing template or other design. Some clients want an entire ecommerce site with a shopping cart, while others just want a brochure site that gives basic company information.
  5. Available Materials/Needed Materials
    Does your client already have a logo, brochure, product photos, or other materials that would be useful to your design?
  6. Overall Style/Look
    Getting a sense of what your client wants in terms of style is vital. They may have a grunge design in mind when you’re picturing something clean and modern (or vice versa). Most clients have very distinct likes and dislikes. But they’re not always good at expressing what their tastes are.
    Asking clients for examples of designs they like and designs they don’t like, even if they’re the designs of their competitors, can give you valuable insight into what they like and don’t like. Your clients should provide you with a handful of examples prior to starting the design phase.
  7. Any Definite “Do Nots”
    At least as telling as what a client likes and wants is what they definitely do not want.
    Some clients hate certain features. Some clients don’t want an ecommerce site, or a three-column layout, or a slideshow. Getting an idea of what your client doesn’t want can save you from wasting time designing features your clients will then reject.

Assignment 02 – Competitive Analysis

1. What are the three basic steps for a “quick and dirty” competitive analysis?

The three basic steps are: 1) do a basic review of the competitor’s website; 2) try user testing your competitors’ websites; and 3) assess how accessible the competitor’s website is.

2. What are the series of questions to do a basic visual review?

    • What is the message and tone of voice being used on this site?
    • What content and functionality is highlighted on the homepage and in the navigation?
    • What image are they trying to project through the design?
    • What functionality and content do they have compared with your own website?
    • What labeling are they applying to the content areas and site sections?

3. What are the two tests that you can use to help assess how many users your competition may be turning away?

The first test is is to look at your website on as many different browsers and computers as possible. The second test to perform is analyzing how fast the site downloads.

Assignment 01 – The Client Survey

Eleven questions you should ask your prospective clients before you start their project:
1. Why do you want a website (or have your current site redesigned)?
2. What’s your business/organization all about?
3. What sets your business apart from your competition?
4. What problems does your business solve?
5. Who are your prospective customers or visitors?
6. What do you want visitors to do on your site?
7. What is your budget?
8. By what date do you need the site completed?
9. What are your long-term plans for your site?
10. Who will be responsible for updating your site?
11. What do you not want on your website?

Assignment 01-The Web Design Process

Discussion Questions about the Web Design Process
What are the six parts to the Planning stage?
The six parts to the Planning stage are: 1) requirements analysis, 2) the project charter, 3) site map, 4) create contracts that define roles, copyright and financial points, 5) gain access to servers and build the folder structure, and 6) determine the required software and resources (stock photography, fonts, etc.)

What are the four parts to the Design stage?
The four parts to the Design stage are: 1) wireframe and design elements planning, 2) create mock-ups based on requirements analysis, 3) a review and approval cycle, and 4) slice and code valid XHTML/CSS.

What are the five parts to the Development stage?
The five parts to the Development stage are: 1) build the development framework, 2) code templates for each page type, 3) develop and test special features and interactivity, 4) fill the website with content, and 5) test and verify links and functionality.

What are the four parts to the Launch stage?
The four parts to the Launch stage are: 1) polishing the website design, 2) transfering the website to a live server, 3) testing the website, and 4) performing a final cross-browser check (IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, iPhone, BlackBerry).

What are the three parts to the Post-Launch stage?
The three parts to the Post-Launch stage are: 1) hand off the website to the client, 2) provide website documentation and source files, and 3) project close, final documentation.