Off the Kitchen | In the End
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In the End

In the End

I think that this will be the last installment in my series of blogs about the re-design of my web site.  I’ve already described how I defined, designed and built a mobile-friendly site and how I used the process to immerse myself in design principles, learn new technologies and of course, improve my online presence.  However, I have a few last thoughts to share about a final step and future direction.

On very important and often overlooked step is to get feedback and outside opinions.  Now that my site was built and ready to deploy, I reached out to a few trusted friends  and directly asked for their opinions.

Honestly, looking back at it, I really should have been getting feedback all along the way throughout all stages of the design process, and I would recommend that if you are designing a site of your own, you solicit feedback from the very beginning rather than doing it as I did in a “big reveal” manner.  Having said that, I’m still very glad that I got some outside opinions, even if it was at the very end.

I chose to ask certain friends for very specific reasons.  Some had technical expertise and experience in web design.  One in particular is a writer and a designer and very creative.  All were people whose opinions I trusted and who would not be afraid to tell me things I didn’t want to hear.

They were able to point out things that I just couldn’t see because I was too close to the project; grammar mistakes, confusing navigation, coding errors and technical problems.  They acted as testers, checking the site out on different mobile devices and really kicking the tires.  Their feedback turned out to be invaluable.  I think I incorporated all of it into the final site.

In the end, I’m really happy with my new site and especially glad that I stuck to a design methodology and followed a process.  Will the new web site increase revenue or generate opportunities?  We’ll see.  I already feel like I’m getting contacted more via the site than I did in the past.

Regardless, there are certain aspects of the site that made the whole effort worthwhile, namely:

  • My site is very responsive and works well on mobile devices.
  • The content is less cluttered.
  • The look and feel of the site is consistent and cleaner.
  • Every page has a stated purpose.
  • The site communicates directly to the target audience via personal messages at the top of each page.
  • My reviews and awards are database driven in a hierarchical manner that allows them to be associated with CDs, songs and my live performance.
  • I now have an internal search function.

So what does the future hold?  Although I consider my new site to be implemented, there are still improvements to make, ideas to try, and errors to fix.  Some of the future work that I’d like to do on the site includes:

  • Create more theme images
  • Incorporate animated theme images into the site
  • Make the news and main slideshow DB driven
  • Make the back-end administrative pages responsive
  • Create more dynamic content so the site doesn’t become stale

So that’s it.  A web-site redesign from soup to nuts.  I’m not claiming that I did everything perfectly, but  I certainly have a more professional, cleaner, consistent, mobile-friendly site than I did before.

The only decision now is what to blog about next.   …anyone interested in hearing about a video project?

otkadmin
steve@offthekitchen.com
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