What did I do?
Before we began adding content to the website we first needed a theme. Choosing a theme was important as this acts as a template for the site and is required to begin deciding where content will be placed on the site and the type of content that is required. For example, a very imagery based these would be less suitable for a project such as this because our website requires a large amount of information in order to effectively describe how to make a successful website. I helped to choose a theme that would be both appealing to look at as well as allow for lots of information which led us to Hestia.
When creating the website the sections that needed to be made were divided between the members of the group. The first section I completed was the group of summaries on the home page for Usability, Consistency and Accessibility. With these three summaries I tried to explain the main principles of the 3 areas in as few words as possible in-order to act as an example for the type of content that was going to be included within the rest of the site. These were also seen as the 3 main points for building a website and so these were placed on the home page for those not seeking incredibly in-depth descriptions.
Having completed the home page we created the ‘The Project’ page on which we summarised the assignment. I helped in writing this summary and explaining how we were going to approach the assignment. Moving onto the page title ‘MAMP’ I wrote an explanation of what MAMP and WAMP is and what the different sections of their names mean. I then explained the reasons that setting up our own MAMP or WAMP servers that useful to us and how that allowed us to create a better final website.
When conducting the research for our project we split it into two sections, those were ‘Topic Research’ and ‘Comparative Research’. I completed the comparative research in which I evaluated two existing websites, Deliveroo and Depop, based on the fundamentals of website design such as accessibility and usability. This then transitioned into the ‘Development’ page when I began explaining how the comparative research I carried out influenced our own website design and what we had learnt from these existing websites in order to create a more effective and professional website. Examples include how the research contributed to put information layout to make it as accessible as possible for visitors to the site. On this page I also explained how I designed the menus for the site using the menu tool within wordpress. I explained how I decided with pages to place in sub menus and which were displayed on their own in order to make the site easy to navigate and information easy to find.
What did I learn?
The main thing I learnt from completing this assignment was that designing the layout of a website requires just as much work as designing its visuals. After researching aspects of website design such as Accessibility I realised how unlike any other design task I had completed, the ability to find information was incredibly important. On a poster arranging information is fairly simple, the main aspect is making the correct pieces of information stand out the most. However, with website design it is much more complex. Websites have multiple pages each containing large amounts of information, users need to be able to easily navigate the menus to find the page the information they are seeking is on. They then need to be able to find the information they want on that page in a logical way. Users need to be able to relate to your site based on other sites they have visited and be able to find information in the correct place. For example, when visiting a website it is an unwritten rule that the logo for the company is featured in the top left hand corner of the site allowing users to press it and return to the home page. I learnt that my site needed to have the perfect mix of individuality and familiarity in-order to remain both intriguing and accessible for users.
What would I do different?
If I was completing a similar assignment in the future I would likely use a different service other than WordPress. WordPress is an incredibly powerful tool allowing for the development and design of professional websites. However, with the inability to pay for premium themes the customisability of the website is greatly limited. Pages with lots of information can end up looking more like a blog post than an interesting web page which would be avoided if there was more freedom for visual design with the free themes available. An alternative service could be Wix. Wix allows for a massive amount of customisation and does not limit this based on whether you have payed for a theme or not. Wix however does still offer extras if you pay but these mainly influence your ability to have a customised URL and less so the appearance of the actual website.