Website redesign notes

Some of my thoughts as I went through the process of redesigning my business site over the last couple of days…

Red Kite site from 2007

My old design had been up for about 13 1/2 months. That was starting to seem like a very, very long time for a web designer’s site and that was irritating me that I couldn’t find time to do it, much less even start thinking about what I wanted to do. The one big thing that finally got me going was that I wasn’t showing off my work very well – I didn’t have a big bold graphic showcasing my most recent work. Wanting to make a change in that aspect of the site got me thinking.

The things that bothered me about the old site, primarily:

  • It was too narrow on the page – not an elastic layout
  • The red grid at top and bottom seemed cool when I first did it, but was looking very dated recently
  • I wanted something more bold and fresh-looking
  • I wanted to do more with graphics, show off a bit more skill and have more color and images generally

On the new site, I replaced the gradient grids with a more subtle texture and grey gradient. I replaced my old logo with the new sticker logo that I use on my documents, and removed the search feature, which saw very little use.

Red Kite site, Nov. 2008

I moved the client login link up where the old search box was, and added a button with a CSS sprite rollover. I changed the tagline from ‘beautiful sites, inside and out’ to ‘beautiful sites from the ground up’ to better suit my kite metaphor.

I replaced the code-heavy (yet 100% CSS) inverted tabs with a super-simple text menu. And, I added a big image showcasing the current/most recent work with a bit of text about my contribution to the project and a link to the rest of the portfolio.

viewworkI changed the link and button colors to a deep sky blue to contrast with the red and grey and also to again refer to the kite metaphor. For stand-alone links, I made a bullet with an arrow to attach to the left of the a tag.

And most importantly, I made a new, bold red area with large friendly text and this is where my H1 tag and introductory paragraph for each section/page now reside. This is the first thing that catches a visitor’s eye and the most important text on the page, both for visitors and for search engines.

Overall, I’m very happy with the new site. I think it’s much more open and readable and more up to date in appearance. It was well worth the 13 hours or so it took from start to finish.

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