the incomplete artist

My renaissance as an artist and designer

Web Design

The task for this lesson was to use WordPress themes to create a multi-page front-end web site design for a small business. We had the option to create a mock-up of the website, or for bonus points (which I think I may be in need of) to create a working website.

The recommendation was to build a site for a business with which we had a passing familiarity and, being a bookseller I initially decided to create a web page for a book-based business. I happened to be visiting my parents in Maine during this assignment and wandering around their 1850’s farmhouse filled with old books with cracked leather bindings, I decided I could do a site for a bindery. I did some research into other bindery sites and started an initial design but somehow found myself uninspired. I  find that I tend to waste a lot of time with false starts. Ah, well.
The Sunday before I left I took my parents to a local farm to celebrate  Maine Maple Sunday. We saw the sugar shack in action, indulged in maple syrup sundaes and maple milk and maple cookies.  I took a few pictures of the buildings and the mapling apparatus. When I sat down again to work on this project I scrapped the bindery  and designed a site for a business called Maine Maple.

I researched how to build a WordPress site with no outlay of cash and found myself focused on the concept of static pages. This appeared to be a way that I could build a site without having to pay for a domain name or incur any costs but the design would present as a website, not as a  blog. I downloaded the Edda theme which had one particularly cool feature – the home page has a sepia tone which matched the nostalgia of my topic. Even better, when you moused over the home page image, the image morphed to its original vibrant colors. I settled on a photo of the inside of the sugar shack that I felt was a nice representation of my fictional business. I designed a quick maple leaf logo and a tagline and added those to my header. I added four more pages: about us, contact us, a maple shop and an information page. I also added a widget with an embedded google map and the contact info to the home page. I wanted to do a little more so  I used thumbnail grids to add visual interest to the pages. and I added a recipe to the maple shop page.

This was another family project. My sister who works with Drupal websites helped me figure out the idiosyncrasies of WordPress web design. Together we sweated over the widget, stressed over disappearing information, and figured out how to make parent pages and a “contact us” form. My biggest struggle came with the maple shop. I could not figure out how to add a shopping feature. I THINK that plugins are only available to paid sites because when I looked for the plugin section on my admin page, it was not to be found. This stymied me – I wound up not being able to create a viable facsimile of a shopping page. I did screen shots of what I had  and added the shopping icons in Photoshop just to show what it SHOULD look like. Overall I found the experience intriguing. I did find myself feeling a little limited by the theme and the lack of plugins but I think the end result is a reasonable web site for a small business – as long as you don’t actually need any maple syrup.

If you want to look at the site, here’s the link

If you want maple syrup – here’s my inspiration – but you’ll have to go to Midcoast Maine

I got a decent grade so I guess I fulfilled the requirements and any lingering doubts that I had as to whether or not I had actually created a site as opposed to a blog are laid to rest. Still – I feel like I could have done/should have done better somehow. I wonder if the reason for my ennui is that its not really my design? I have to share credit with Edda.

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This entry was posted on April 13, 2016 by in Blog, graphic design, Web design and tagged , , , .
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