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helpshAck

web design

The Web Design Process

06/01/2009 07:54 PM

When designing a web site, I begin by sharpening my pencil rather than firing up the computer. Although it is tempting to immediately dive into beautiful color swatches and graphics, that always comes much later in the design process. The most important thing is to first figure out how to break up information into logical chunks and build a navigation that is easy to, um, navigate.

helpshAck has a fairly straightforward information architecture. Still, by drawing out a diagram that breaks up the chunks I can easily see if my basic navigation is working and, if not, easily make changes. Info Architecture

This is an essential part of creating a site that is about the user rather than about me. I want a visitor to my site to easily find what they are looking for and not have to fumble through pages to find it. I have seen many sites that have chosen instead to design with themselves in mind and therefore wind up having a website that is difficult for people to navigate. Yes, it may be cute to say "Background Check" but isn't "About" so much more intuitive?

After I am happy with the navigation information, I can begin to sketch out design ideas with pencil and paper. This is the fastest way for me to comp up designs because I can immediately see which ideas "work" and which ones do not without wasting a lot of design time on the computer. After a few sketches for helpshAck v2.0 I immediately saw one which had a balanced and appealing look and feel. This is the sketch I found worked best for this website.

First Sketches

You can tell my website looks very similar to this basic sketch. After deciding on a layout only then am I comfortable to turn on the computer.

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Tracie Monroe
Jun 4, 09:56 AM

Looks great! I like the colors and floral graphics used. My only suggestion: Could you have your 4 “portfolio” sites you list on the left side of the home page link directly when you click on them?

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