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Archive for April, 2010

New Look for Website

April 3, 2010 Leave a comment

The Colorado Vacation Directory Website Header

Five years ago I began updating Web pages for The Colorado Directory. As the Web Assistant I maintained advertiser pages, created map illustrations, prepared photos and learned about the Internet. My experience was limited including a simple Website for a college course and a newsletter generated in Adobe PageMaker (currently InDesign). My college education in Technical Communications helped me to see that experience counts far more than ideology.

Yesterday, April 2, 2010, after my first year as Senior Web Designer at The Colorado Vacation Directory we launched a redesigned Website. The entire site has a whole new look, yet the work is just beginning. Formerly, the site consisted of tables and rigid, unpredictable markup (HTML). Use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) occurred mostly within each page of the site, meaning each page required maintenance even for style elements. Updating content of any form, even repetitive components, demanded accessing any page concerning specified information.

The first three years required a serious amount of learning. Graphic design and production using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, HTML and CSS for Web authoring and that’s just scratching the surface. Most things I learned without a formal classroom or even internet environment. Books, magazines, blogs and online reference sites gave me most of what I needed. The occasional Photoshop seminar helped me develop skills in graphic design and development. I found myself dedicated to my work and enjoyed learning all that came my way.

In 2008 I enrolled in an online class to learn PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor aka, Personal Home Page). At this point I learned the ropes of modular code and generating dynamic Web pages. I found myself overwhelmed by a new language and learning a bit of computer science. I studied late into the night on a regular basis and felt that I really didn’t understand the material. I managed to complete the course and move into some real world applications soon after.

Last year, the former Webmaster left and I received the position of Senior Web Designer. Transitioning the site was already underway to make maintenance and improvements easier. Using PHP and CSS styling and repetitive content could be updated and changed more quickly and with less chance of error. Once the previous site was changed over to a more modular format we soon began to look at a complete redesign.

In order to improve the site with a sensible design, I further continued the learning process by taking a class in design. I quickly learned how to combine design elements and think of the computer screen as a canvas. During the design class we continued to improve our understanding of design and added to our design as a complete project. At the completion of my project, I had created a simplified concept of what the new site actually looks like.

In the following weeks and months I will continue to post progress about the site. There is so much to be said about design, programming, markup and content generation that I will devote specific time to those also. I’m convinced that the new look is a marked improvement and I look forward to further improvements as Senior Web Designer of The Colorado Vacation Directory.

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Categories: Portfolio, Work