The old website used tables and ugly out of date code with a bland layout, tiny project photos, ugly feature images, colors that didn't complement the company's logo and identity, and an unclear focus that confused potential clients. Left, old homepage, right, old service page.
My goals were to:
- improve SEO,
- develop a style complementary to the company's identity,
- refocus content to more accurately reflect our work,
- update the code to be cleaner, easier to update, and adherent to current webstandards.
I started off thinking about the site's structure, and reorganized the division of projects to be more logical to laypeople like myself. We discussed what new pages we wanted to add - a blog and a page about our sustainable practices.
To begin, I designed the homepage, which grew from the selected option (below) to the final page at watershedco.com. Funnily, I got stuck around permutation 4 for quite a while while I moved on to designing the service and project pages.
Final homepage (screen capture in firefox 3):
When I had a good feel for how the homepage would look, I started designing the subpages. I divided the meat of the site into sections - wetlands, streams, planning, etc, and each of those sections has a landing page listing services and projects.
Final service page (screen capture in firefox 3):
I started gathering content, since I wanted a description, statistics, and photo slideshow for each project. I wound up writing more myself than I thought I would at first. Also, I had to research options for the features I wanted - photo slideshow, text replacement, and a way to display projects. Originally we had been going to stick with our old webhost, which support asp - but not, I discovered after spending hours teaching myself about master pages, asp.net. Terrible, ancient hosting. Thankfully I convinced my boss to upgrade our hosting. That way I got to use .php instead, which I hadn't used before but now wholeheartedly embrace.
Finally, writing the code (which I prefer to do from scratch), testing, creating styles for print, mobile, and iphone viewing, and the launch!