- Excellent written and verbal client communication skills
- Professional web/interactive design expertise
- HTML and CSS
- Experience creating UI & IA documentation (wireframes, sitemaps, etc.)
- Proficiency in Photoshop & Illustrator
- Active proponent of web standards, usability & accessibility
- Emphasis on clean, usable & sophisticated layouts
- Meticulous eye for detail & style
- PHP, ASP.NET, or other server-side and database programming languages
- iPhone, Android, and mobile web design and development
- Knowledge of web content management systems (Drupal, WordPress)
- You don’t use Dreamweaver
- Flash design / ActionScript knowledge
At my brief tenure as the web designer/front end developer at the Illinois College of Optometry, I was given the opportunity of doing a full redesign of their website.
Next to my design of http://www.cafescribe.com, this was the biggest project I had ever worked on with a lot of moving parts.
The two major objectives of the project were to a)move it from an ancient Joomla 1.5 platform to WordPress so the content manager could easily update it and b) to make it responsive.
I looked at it as an opportunity to start applying some of the UI/UX theories and techniques I had been reading about, and learning in my User Centered Design class. I also tried to modernize and clean up the design from its previous incarnation, creating visual hierarchy, and fixing one of the biggest pain points, the small type, and the lack of a search bar on all pages.
While very modern in look, feel and layout, I would not say this is purely Flat Design, but very inspired by it, using modern web fonts, large blocks of color. It avoids some of the trappings of the modern Flat movement like parallax scrolling or heavy icon usage.
It was a very big learning experience for me.
I had never used WordPress before so it was a quick crash course on it. I learned how to use its backend, all the various plug ins and even got into doing some child themes work.
As I stated above I got to apply some UI/UX techniques I had not done before on other web pages:
Design/Competitive Analysis – I looked at about every Optometry School in North America’s website to see what they were doing, how they handled navigation, information architecture, page layout, what they were doing wrong, and what they were doing right.
I also looked outside of higher education, and went through the popular design showcase websites like
Hand drawn wireframes before taking them into Adobe Illustrator for quick iterations
Usability Testing (well it was kind of half assed, but I did record the audio sessions from two students while asking them to perform tasks on the website and think out loud. You need at least 5 for a good Usability study, and to be video recorded, but it was a start)
But perhaps the biggest lesson here was the art of letting go. Especially when you design for a client using a CMS so they can make their own updates or has another developer work on it, a web designer loses control of their “baby” the second they hand the project over. Websites are ephemeral things, with maybe 3-4 years shelf life. Unlike print, you have do have a physical copy to hold on and preserve. Web design can seem like it’s out there in the ether.
Great Video about getting discouraged/struggling in your web design career.
A good topic on the Linked In Creative Design Pros group.
Hmm, now its just trying to get a client to go along with it!
the New Ford Mustang, what do you think all? Keeps classic Stang design cues while pushing forward and looking pretty sexy.
More at Autoblog
I enjoyed reading this Fast Company article about creativity. Especially the part about tuning out and dropping out.
“1. Create time for solitude.
In interviewing others, I found that solitude is the No. 1 creative habit of highly creative people. If you’re immersed in online distractions and other busy-ness, you’ll never have the space to consider the ideas you’ve gleaned from elsewhere, or think about how to remix them. So while connection is important (see other steps below), time for solitude is just as critical and often forgotten.”
As an electronic musician, I always found melodies and song ideas come to me doing mundane things..walking the dog, taking a shower, washing the dishes.
Since I am redoing my online portfolio, can this work for me visually/graphic design wise also?
Unless I’m doing some intensive reading, I almost have music on ALL THE TIME. So the silence is a bit jarring. I even fall asleep to a light “relaxation” playlist of mostly soundtrack, ambient and classical music.
I took up long distance running in the Spring of 2013, so after reading the Fast Company article, I decided to do something i NEVER do. I ran without music. I was mostly playing with music ideas in my head though! Can I get visual thoughts too?
I’ll try it again this morning!
I have to stop procrastinating and fighting the forces of life. Every employer out there is looking for it. I guess I’m afraid of it. But not knowing it is killing my career chances.
But can I call myself a “front end developer” without knowing it. Just knowing HTML and CSS isn’t enough.
I think it boils down to fear. I’m very right brained and visual. I’ve always coded because I HAD to, not because I wanted to.
I do have a book on it, but I’m thinking of starting with code academy to soft launch me into it.
What are other people’s experiences with jQuery