We heart the Internet
Why I Design Websites
That’s why I’m here, the Internet is a marvel. It connects more of us across a greater space and time than any other technology. It allows us to keep in touch with our friends, families and colleagues. It fosters collaboration on an unprecedented speed and scale. It gives us power over the information we digest and empowers us to participate in creating that information. I believe it defines the age we live in and that‘s why I make websites.
I love the Internet and I want to make it a better place. That’s why I put so much emphasis on the processes of building a website. Because the technology changes so rapidly I’m constantly changing and evolving my process, but currently I break it down into four major parts. Each of these parts depends on the others to succeed and because of this relationship I try to not put too much weight on any single part. Though generally we start with messaging and UX, I prefer to develop all four parts in parallel as much as possible. This allows for a flexible development period ensuring your site reaches it’s maximum potential.
Four Acts to Making Sites
Act One: The Message.
The web is about communication and your first goal is to determine what message you are communicating. This is a graphic design perspective, but I feel that the message is an adept metaphor for the core currency of the web, data. Your message is the data, and your website is facilitating the exchange of data between people. Sometimes that data is broadcast from you to your users, sometimes your users contribute data back, and sometimes they exchange it amongst themselves. But there is always that exchange of the web’s core currency, data. This data can take many forms, it can be text, audio, video, or graphic but it’s the heart of your website, and this entire project is about it’s access and presentation.
Act Two: The U.X.
All good sites have a good user experience in their framework. To make a website that’s useful to your audience you must build the content and it’s organization with the visual site design. This most often means a well thought out site map and a wire-frame of all the content. This allows for rapid prototyping and revision of how the site will function, ensuring a good user experience.
Act Three: The Visual Design.
The visual design is the stage most over appreciated by clients and under appreciated by developers. It’s essential for several reasons, and I feel it’s often executed poorly. The visual design must communicate on many levels. The most obvious is usually the identity of the organization. Without reading a word on a well designed site you can know about the mood of the organization, the industry they are in, and the clients they cater to. Just as important as the identity, is the information design. This helps users parse a sites content and navigate it’s data. The visual styling of the information design impacts how easy your site is to use and understand.
Act Four: Development.
The development of a site is the actual construction, the plans are laid and it’s time to start building. During site production the framework to hold all of your sites data is built. Systems are put in place to receive data from and present data to your users. A well developed site is fast and solid. It should present what your users expect quickly and accurately. How well your site is built will determine how easily it will grow. Built correctly, a site will scale easily, accommodating more users and greater traffic. This means the site will last longer and be more effective.
If You've Got a Project
Currently, I’m only taking projects for clients that are devoted to sustainability or social justice, non-profit /ngo kind of work. That said, I’m reasonably flexible and if you are passionate about what you are doing than we should talk. My ultimate goal is to improve our lives through beter design, delivered via TCP/IP (aka the intertubes). If you have a cause you believe in that needs help online you are in the right place.