“Grinding out” a nice design doesn’t sound like the preferred way to go, but that’s where I am.
I keep feeling like there’s supposed to be a “euraka” moment, and I keep waiting for that lightning bolt. Reading Wroblewski’s Visible Narratives wasn’t the source of a spark (OK, I should clump stuff), nor was Guevin’s rule of three (OK, I’m supposed to make my design look like a lopsided triangle). Bowman’s A Design Process Revealed tried to help with how we should think through a design, so I drew some pictures. I paid darned close attention to Williams when I saw the proximity, alignment, repetition, and contrast since it has been repeatedly foot stomped in class…great guidelines to follow, but no Eureka!
Without the fireworks, I started an incremental approach, one little decision at a time. If you’d like to hear how I pounded through the design process, I describe it below. If you just have a few minutes, please send me some comments on the state of my design at www.oncombat.net Your comments have been of great help!
HOW I SPENT LAST WEEK (and weekend!) ON WEB DESIGN:
Big decision #1: white/black background with color pictures or color background with black/white pictures?
Decision: White/black background because my site will be organized around themes that will benefit from a neutral background and color can come in with paintings as headers.
Feasibility Check: The approach appears to be feasible due to Army, Navy, and USAF history sites with good artwork.
Big decision #2: find a good blog theme to use as a starting point. Non-hosted WordPress has the most flexibility and options, Cutline seemed to be a nice baseline
Implementation: First I had to first set up a non-hosted WordPress with GoDaddy. Lots of learning! Second, I tried out 5 or 6 themes. Cutline was the most promising so I built it up with a few small posts and a new header as a proto-blog.
Baby step: Create a prototype website with the Cutline CSS.
Implementation: There was daunting reverse-engineering to see how Cutline’s CSS works, and start re-writing. This entailed hours of trial and error. Good thing I had a weekend to spare.
Next baby step: re-read Williams, and apply rules of good design to the new website.
Implementation: Now we’re getting somewhere!
The design’s looking better, and ideas have been coming in from classmates. Thanks! Keep the ideas coming. Please check out the latest work in progress at www.oncombat.net
Bottom line: plugging away seems works in absence of a spark of inspiration
Elsewhere in the neighborhood:
Not too many blog posts out this week, Tuesday may be a busy day….
I made a comment agreeing with Maureen’s objection to Wrobleski, WE only get a few seconds with our puny websites..the Library of Congress gets a lot of time from people clicking through despite the hard to use interface. LOC gets away with it because of all the great (and free!) content.
I appreciated Lee Ann’s head’s up on the CHNM podcast, but haven’t cracked the code yet on how to subscribe to a podcast, but would love to figure it out soon. This podcast sounds like a great way to stay up on new media after we finish Clio 1 and 2. See comment.
I suggested to John that we should provide links to works in progress, so that we can make helpful comments. My design project has been posted for a few days and I’ve already incorporated great ideas from Jenny (see my comments to her here) and Maureen.