my final reflections

emotional and responsive design...

Having a site that matched the emotional and responsive techniques that we discussed in the beginning of the semester was always a goal of mine for my final site. Primarily, I believe that my site has successfully met the goal of emotional design. I was so excited to form a design persona for my site in the weeks prior to actually creating my site through code. I very much imagined my site as one directed toward a young creative, such as myself. I channeled a lot of inspiration from two sites in particular – Merritt Huey and Paige Bowers. I loved the simple, artistic, and minimalistic designs of these sites. Despite their simplicity, they very much reflected distinct personalities through their verbiage, layout, and photographs. I believe that my site accomplishes emotional design through its little quirks like, “hello, welcome to my site” and “let’s get in touch”. One of the little things I wanted to include in my site was inspo, which I was able to incorporate on my portfolio page through the quote at the top, which also connects to the work I have completed in my portfolio.

My initial sketches for my site were slightly different from how it looks today. The main difference between these initial sketches is that of my home (index.html) page. In the beginning, I was leaning more towards a home page that had information about myself below my main background image. However, after adding in my background image, I felt as though any content below it would take away from the powerful simplicity of the page. I also did not want to overwhelm those visiting with a lot of information as soon as they arrived on my site. I knew that if visitors wanted to learn more about me, all they had to do is visit the ‘about’ or ‘portfolio’ menu links at the top of the page.

Through every page, I made sure to create responsive designs by creating clear navigation, colors, text, and so on. I also made sure to code within the various screen-sizes and keep everything flexible (aka percentages and ems!) I think that I accomplished this by staying organized and always focusing solely on coding when I was coding – that means turning off notifications and putting away other distractions. I don’t know if others felt this way, but you really can’t have a conversation with someone when you’re trying to code!

Furthermore, regarding my sketches, my ‘contact’, ‘portfolio’, and ‘about’ pages are pretty similar to the initial ideas that I had for them. I am most proud of my ‘about’ page, which features a bottom Instagram grid. I was able to find this Instagram plugin online and copy the code into my html as an iframe element.

If I was able to change anything and I had more time, I think I would add more little “emotional” elements to my site to further enhance its personality and charm. I love Merritt’s site because it has a lot of little banners and boxes that further allow the visitor to connect with her on a personal level. This could be as simple as a social media “let’s stay connected” box on my about page. This is a much future goal of mine, but I would really love to add a page just for my beads on to my site. It would be amazing to allow people to buy my beads through my site, see more photos of them, etc. I think that this would further allow my audience to connect with me through my site.

my progress...

At the beginning of the second project, I was FREAKING out (that is not an exaggeration), because I was so nervous and scared to code an entire website. I am not kidding when I say I was terrified. We hadn’t been coding for a week or so because of Thanksgiving break, so I was feeling a little shaky with coding and jumping back into things. But, once I started coding, I was shocked to see how much I remembered and how much more I knew about coding for this second project. Once I realized and comprehended how everything is customizable through divs, sections, and classes, editing my site came so easy to me. I actually started enjoying coding and realized that once I got into the rhythm of it, coding wasn’t so bad after all.

Some of my successes with coding my site were little things, like floating elements and aligning content. However, I am slightly OCD, so little elements like these make me so happy when they are perfectly aligned. I was also really happy when I got my navigation bar styled correctly and working properly for the mobile view. Lastly, I was so happy to be able to incorporate my Instagram into my website. I looked at Merritt’s code for hours trying to figure out how she had her Instagram at the bottom of her site. I eventually figured out that hers was via a WordPress plug in. However, I finally found another option online and was able to copy the code and style it via my CSS.

I am pretty high in my comfortability with coding and writing for the web. I know very well that there is so much more I could learn and know, but as of right now, I am feeling very happy with where I am at. I love being able to look at others’ code via the Page Source view and actually understand what it says. Further, I think that writing for the web is a huge skill that is highly important, especially for today’s digital era. I am looking forward to applying this in the future.

In order to fully reach our potential, I think that the main thing I would suggest for future classes is starting the final project a bit earlier in the semester, or starting it in class with in-class coding sessions for at least one of the pages. I know that a lot of people in the class did not start coding until the Friday that you talked about our site project in class. Many were feeling overwhelmed and lost as to where even start, as well as rushed to get everything done. Coding takes time, and I think people felt as though they didn’t have the time to accomplish what they wanted for their site. I didn’t feel this way because I started coding for my final site about a week before this, so I had already felt and experienced these thoughts prior. If I hadn’t looked ahead and started coding, I think that these thoughts would have definitely hindered my creative process. SO, in terms of suggestions – I think that assigning the project a bit earlier may help with feelings of concern. Maybe even allowing some in class time to work on coding at least one of the pages may help students to feel more comfortable with the project. Thank you for a great semester!!