Web redesign for Layers magazine column

When I first got the email from Jake Widman asking if I was available to do a web redesign for The Community Arts Center, I thought he was a potential client. Nothing in his email or his signature hinted of his affiliation with Layers Magazine. So, I sent a reply email saying I was interested and that we should talk price. When he said what the redesign was for, a slurry of emotions went through me…mortified that I thought he was a client…excited that I was picked from who knows how many designers…and fearful that I wasn’t good enough for such a prestigious magazine. So, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was good enough to work for Vulcan on their web team and I’ve been running a fairly successful freelance business for the past four years. I’ve gotten a lot of good reviews on Google and Yelp!, so I must be doing something right.I pushed my self-doubting genie back in her bottle and read through the design notes that Jake supplied. The good news was that I only had to design a home page and the “client” wouldn’t even see the design until it was published in the magazine. If they liked my design, they could pursue working with me directly, without the magazine getting involved.The current site looked dated. It took me about 10 minutes to find the address and phone number….a source of frustration for many viewers, I’m sure. The center just had some brochures and rack cards created that were very classy. I wanted to design a site for them that would be just as classy, while organizing the content in a better way.The new brochure was designed by another party. First, I moved the nav to a horizontal position under the logo so that it was more easily seen. A lighter background on the nav bar would show which page a viewer was in (in this case, Home). The center occupies a beautiful historic building. I used it as a background so it could be recognizable, yet not overpowering the true purpose of the center. The center also wanted more donations, so I created a button asking for them, as well as added a second nav with links to make a donation, volunteer, or be a sponsor. To show what the center does, I used black & white images of the various activities one might find at the center and made them into a collage that would eventually be a slide show. The center attracts a financially diverse population, so I made sure to add text pointing out that many of the events/attractions were free. Besides the FaceBook icon that they currently use on their site, I added some other social media icons and would recommend that they also use those services to help promote the center.My redesign of the Community Arts Center website is more in line with their printed marketing materials and is more up-to-date.Doing this project was a lot of fun and it got me to thinking about doing one web redesign each month and writing about it. An especially good project for when I’m lean in active projects.Be sure to pick up the September/October 2010 issue of Layers magazine to read the complete column.


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