design for style
My wife and I celebrated our anniversary the other day and a large part of the festivities involved me _not_ touching a computer. My work is almost always on my mind, though (sorry, Sam), and at lunch, I stumbled upon the realization that what a person goes through trying to find a bathroom in a restaurant is a great illustration of what we go through when we try to use web sites. That is, bathroom findability is analogous to web site usability. Refer to the footnotes below to see the similarities.
I recently completed a redesign/relaunch of http://www.simplycats.org. Key features include: empowering the client to update their own content easily using a browser-based interface.
Additionally, adding images to the site is automated for the client - no resizing or cropping of the original photos is necessary, as the site handles that when the user uploads the photos. Check out http://www.simplycats.org/view/images.
I love smooth workflows, efficient practices and logical progressions. Before I worked with Drupal I'd gotten my workflow highly refined.
- define/clarify site needs and functionality (work with client, share proposals, present wire frames)
- produce a workable, extendable data model (usually in the form of a relational database)
- code business logic (usually a PHP app)
- design interface and presentation layer (XHTML and CSS)
- test and debug
- reiterate back through this process as necessary for maturity
I've been musing about the "systems" we, as people, work within daily.
Thinking specifically on the system implicit in providing web development and design services, the following points come to mind as contributing to a healthy system:
- No us/them dichotomy. Our clients are part of our systems (or we are part of theirs), and seeking for client feedback regarding "our" processes is informative and essential.
In my capacity as web master for the Idaho Library Association (which is technically not part of my Dotted i work, but instead a product of a professional affiliation) I recently redesigned and launched a new, Drupal-powered version of that organization's web site.
I'm rather proud of the theme of the site, which changes depending on the season (summer or winter at the moment, until I come across some great Idaho landscapes for fall and spring at wide aspect ratios).