Designing a website is a bit like writing. There’s certainly writing involved; there’s a biography page, a home or index page, and a few other pages for pictures or art, sound tracks or videos, and then a misc page with a clever title to put the extra gunk that didn’t fit neatly into the other categories.
In other words, designing a website has a specific structure or theme that makes it feel comprehensive and have unity, just like writing!
For this exercise I’ll be using Dreamweaver 6.0 an adobe program, not WordPress although I understand that WordPress provides the theme for you. I want to design this from the bottom up, and I already have the Dreamweaver program which really makes my decision for me.
Page 1=home or index, the opening “get your attention” page. Hopefully it gets your attention or page 2,3,-? are a total waste of time. So what do you put on that first page that gathers followers? Or gets someone interested enough to read page 2? Or gets someone to listen to your music, or read your book?
Do you start with a sales pitch like a used car salesman?
Do you start with quotes from the press and other influential people telling the reader how great you are?
How do you layout that first page so that it’s interesting to look at?
Since each project is unique, I like to gather all the components into a pile and look at what I have to work with. I should probably storyboard it, but I usually am too eager to get into the process of putting it together to bother. This is where I have to stop myself and slow down, (remember my propensity for executive decisions) and consider my audience but most importantly the person or entity that I’m designing for.
Word to the wise: if you’re working on your own thing, take it and run in whatever direction captures your fancy, but if you’re designing for another person, take the time to storyboard your concept. You have no idea what they’ll like, love, or simply discard as irrelevant in your perfectly conceptualized kick ass website.
In the project I’m working on now I have 2 videos (you tube clips), 4 audio MP3 clips, oodles of pictures, some high-resolution images but most are smaller jpeg and gif files. I have a few old quotes from reputable people in the business that I can use to bolster my claims of wonderfulness, but I’ll need current ones as well. Press clippings are helpful, so I’ll have to do some digging on the internet to see what’s out there for grabs.
Ok, so you have a folder full of stuff to start with. Now what?
I ask for instructions. Specific instructions about color, backgrounds, design layout, and theme ideas.
My instructions are as follows:
- Keep it simple.
- Must have a Bluesy rock feel like the music it showcases.
- Edgy but sophisticated, not tacky or raunchy.
- Present me as a Professional musician, NOT interested in promoting myself as eye candy or a sexual object.
- Not cluttered or too busy looking.
- I like black header bars. I like black, a lot.
- Interesting but plain background, red or burgundy maybe?
- And finally ” I don’t know anything about colors or design, but I’ll know it when I see it.”
I loved hearing that last line because it leaves me absolutely free creatively to fall on my face. In fact I can fall on my face until I hit upon whatever image the client holds in their mind, over and over and over again. Which brings me back to the storyboard concept. Nike up and “Just do it!”
I call this the shampoo exercise; remember on the back of the bottle where it says shampoo, rinse, repeat as needed? That’s what I’m doing, rinsing it all away and repeating the process. This too is like writing, unless you know where you’re going you’re rambling and using the back or delete button a lot.
Enough procrastinating. I have a website to storyboard. Wish me luck!