Last week, I completed work on the Spokane Valley Partners website. They wanted a redesign of their entire site, a new hosting service, and e-mail set up.
The Old Website
When looking at their old website, it was functional and provided information. What they wanted was something that was more modern and would appeal to both clients (those in need of emergency services) and donors (whether volunteers or endowment).
Goals for the New Website
When redesigning the website, I wanted to accomplish a few things:
- Modern: I wanted to make the website to be comparable to other non-profits, and in many cases, excel beyond them.
- Informative: They asked me to create a design that wouldn’t be too sales oriented, although they did want a quick way for donors to get in touch with them.
Simple, Informative Design
To make the website look modern, I wanted it to be broken into a simple three part approach: header, body, footer. On other pages, the body includes a sidebar that provides quick information: upcoming events, the newest blog post, and a link to the FAQ.
To make it approachable and informative, I thought of newspapers and how they had separators. With a clearly delineated header and footer, it would be easier to navigate the eyes of the donors and the clients to what they need to visually see: the navigational panel separated by borders, links highlighted in orange, and headers for pockets of information.
Additional Coding Tidbits
- WordPress: Provide Spokane Valley Partners with the ability to add and edit their website.
- Events widget: For their various fundraisers as well as any volunteer events.
- Responsive Code: Their website changes to fit mobile devices as well as laptops and computers.
- Accordion: For the About and FAQ page, there is an accordion to make the information easier to read.
Additional Design Tidbits
- Photos: I took 2 out of 3 of the photos on the slider
- Icons: I designed many of the icons on the services page.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting David Weatherholt at Greater Spokane Incorporated, and after some conversation, he hired me to work on his Weatherholt & Associates website. He had a WordPress based website that he wanted updated to a design he had already created. So I had the pleasure of working on updating his WordPress 2 website to a WordPress 3 website.
When updating his website, I wanted to make sure it worked on any device, so I made it responsive to the browser window for it to work on tablets, phones, and desktop.
MyEmma API Integration
I had to spend some time updating the form to integrate Emma (an e-mail delivery service) API. When filling out the form, it adds the user into the WAConsult account.
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Compatibility
If you’re using IE8 on Windows XP, the site still works. It has conditional formatting that still uses the HTML5 and CSS3 for newer browsers, but in the case of IE8, it will revert to code that works for that browser.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important piece of your web-presence, but as I said previously, there are no secret tips. Instead, SEO is something that should be built into your website from the start.
Building SEO From the Beginning
When you begin writing the copy for your website, you’ll need to already think about SEO. SEO really isn’t something you think about after you finish your website, although it’s doable. A few good questions to think of are:
- What is my product / service / mission (naming as concept for the rest of the blog)?
- Who is my audience?
- What keywords would they use to find me?
If you’re wondering why my Creative Cube Company website looks strange, it’s probably because you’re using Internet Explorer 8, the bane of any web developer.
Now, I like Microsoft. All my computers have run Windows, and I recently updated my phone from an Android to a Microsoft Windows Phone 8. Like all companies, they make some spectacular products, and then there’re areas where they pitfall. What Microsoft does to the internet with Internet Explorer is a pitfall that goes straight into the center of the earth. Not only are they slower at updating to the newest in W3 standards (the people who dictate what the internet should be), but they don’t offer continuous support of their products after the “shelf life” is expired. In particular, Internet Explorer 8 is a browser past it’s shelf-life and should be discontinued.
Internet Explorer 8 still has 8.76% of the marketshare according to W3 Counter even though Microsoft doesn’t update it to follow new standards and protocols. This is a great stat because it was slated to have 28-33% of the marketshare in 2011. It was released in 2006 and was used by many for 5 years before Internet Explorer 9 was released in 2011. If your computer runs Windows XP, you most likely still use IE8 because IE9 is only for the newer operating systems.
Continue reading Why We Shouldn’t Support IE8 Anymore