I finally have a design

April 27, 2011

After looking at my ideas and designs in the seminar group, the people in the group thought I had some good ideas. But after leaving the meeting and getting home I decided it was time to start again.

I spent the next few days looking on the net at various portfolio web sites and trying to come up with some ideas for my own site. I tried quite a few different designs none of which I was happy with. I spent quite some time on it and came up with an initial home page design I was happy with.

I sent my proposed design to a couple of people in my group and asked them for their honest opinion. The feedback I received was that they both really liked the idea and suggested a few things that I could do to improve it.

I spent the next few days implementing these changes and designing the rest of the pages until I was completely happy with the outcome.

I made the decision that I was going to use WordPress as a content management system for the site and try and use new HTML 5 and CSS 3 features wherever possible.

Hopefully with the design and the technology I’ll be using I will be able to create a portfolio that I’m proud of.

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Designing for yourself is hard

April 6, 2011

After doing a competitive analysis last week it was time to start designing my own portfolio. Initially I thought this would be really easy and was quite excited about designing a portfolio to show off all my work.

I started by looking on the net at various portfolios and gathering ideas for what I would like on my site and what kind of things other people have included. It was at this point it dawned on me that this task was going to be much harder than I thought.

A lot of the portfolio sites I saw I didn’t like and a lot of the ideas that I thought where original turned out to have been done hundreds of times already. I wanted my portfolio site to be original and have some ideas that people would look at and think wow I like that, but so far I’ve struggled to come up with any ideas that are going to give the wow factor.

I looked at well over a hundred different portfolios and still had no idea of what I would like mine to look like. Even now I’m not 100% on how I want my web site to look. But regardless I did some initial wire frames of different ideas of how I thought I’d like it to look. I’ve experimented with these initial Ideas but so far haven’t got one in my mind that I’m dead set on using.

Tomorrow I have a seminar group however to show my ideas where individuals can comment and offer constructive feedback. I’m hoping after doing this I’ll have a clearer idea of exactly what I want the site to look like.

Competitive Analysis

March 30, 2011

Following on from my last post to create an effective portfolio for my work the next task was to look at other professionals that I would class as competition.

After searching the Internet and looking at various portfolio sites I came across Mark Petherbridge. According to Mark’s portfolio web site he is working towards a Bsc Web Information Systems and Services degree at Sheffield Hallam University and has also done a commercial placement at a local company like me. It doesn’t give a date on this post however so he could have finished the course by now.

The main reason I chose Marks site over the others I found was that his portfolio  web site was actually pretty good compared to the others I viewed. I wanted to produce a portfolio better than the best I viewed and not the worst.

Screen shot of Marks Site

My first impression of the site was that it was clean and modern, neatly laid out and followed a consistent theme. The navigation was easy to find and use and the site used a four column layout throughout.

Upon looking at the site in more detail I noticed the footer was grass, a fence then the body was the sky and his logo was the moon. On the right hand side of the page is a display of stars around a button linking to his portfolio work which I thought was quite clever and looked clean at the same time.

Screen shot of the footer of Marks web site

The typography of the site is consistent throughout using the typeface Calibri bold for headings and regular Calibra for most of the body text. More of a personal feel has been added to the site by having little handwritten style comments saying things like “Check out some of my cool & funky work” giving it quite a friendly feel to the site.

The about page gives a nice insight into Mark and his skills and personality, The addition of a picture on this page gives a nice personal touch so you can put a face to the name.

The portfolio page divides the work clearly so you can see exactly what your looking at Identity, Web Design and Print, making it very easy to select what type of work you wish to look at.  The work itself is good showing a range of different skills from design to development.

The contact page displays plenty of different ways to contact Mark from various social networks to his telephone number and a built in contact form allowing users to email him from the site.

From looking at the site overall I found it to be quite good, however I found things I would do differently to make my web site better. These are as following:

  • Less columns on the page as there’s too much information in such a short space.
  • Not to use white for the entire text of the site as it became hard to read after long periods of time.
  • On the Portfolio page display the pieces of work in full not snippets of it in small box’s.
  • Have some way of showing what page you are currently on in the navigation.
  • Have consistent spacing throughout the web site.

Hopefully taking into account everything I have learnt from looking at Marks web site and implementing the suggested improvements when I design my own. I will be able to create a portfolio that not only looks good but is easy to use and find any information required.

In my last post I mentioned what technologies I might be using to create the site. I’m still thinking that I will use HTML 5 and CSS 3 since these are new and upcoming technologies it would be nice to implement them. I’m thinking of using WordPress as a content management system but still not 100% sure yet.

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