Imran Noor - Weblogs
Weblog 1 (Ideas for website)
Last year @ uni I made a website on dream weaver about music. It was based on me as I’m a dj and I produce a bit of music. Didn’t really use much flash but did use Photoshop for most of my images and through dream weaver made them into rollover buttons and stuff like that. The site was audio heavy but wasn’t all that interactive...this time id like the user to be able to be more involved; being able to start/stop/change volume of the audio on my website rather than having to open real player.
Id like the overall look to be a lot more professional as well, as my previous website was very dull and standard designed. Now that we are learning how to make Gif/Flash animations I can put down a lot more design ideas to make it look that touch more professional. Over the last few days I’ve been looking at cool websites to see what ideas I could use and just looking at the overall image of a ‘professional webpage:
Images: images on most pages were very tight and smart; you can tell that a lot of effort was put into them through using software like Photoshop and so on. And most images on other pages are original unless they are an advert or reviewing something, so this time round I would like to gather images of my own and boost up the quality to the standards. I could maybe take shots of some of my favourite records using a digital camera and boost up the quality in Photoshop as my site is going to be based around music-history of a specific genre. I also thought about having the image of a dusty vinyl on the background of each page and make my menu bars in the style of tracks written on the back of an old album. I want the overall look to be old n dusty but with cutting edge style if that’s possible.
Text: All text is consistent in style and flow, how it should be. I am going to keep this is mind for my website too as I think it is a crucial part in designing a site. Ill probably use the same texts as they used on the old sugar hill records label or even defjam because that will be quite effective with my dusty vinyl background. The colour will be standard black or silver, those are the two main colours you find on vinyl.
Flash: All the best sites use a bit of flash or make the whole site with flash, im not sure how good flash will look with my old style of design but im sure it will be something unique. I don’t want to over do the flash thing though, I will only use it where it is necessary and not just put flash images in there for the hell of it. I will mainly use it for my homepage and for my menu buttons on every page. And I wouldn’t mind making a really good looking audio player in the form of a technics SL1200 (silver) that would be cool. In fact another idea now comes to mind, I could have an image of a record box with a few records sticking out from the top, and each record sticking out could have the name of a button on it. so when u select it the record comes out of the box a bit more and directs you to the page.
So that is my idea so far and I will be researching into more of the design and content of my webpage.
Weblog 2 (change of plan)
Well it turns out that we are not allowed to make a website for ourselves as we don’t count as clients. It turns out we have to make a website for an actual client but for free which really is unfair I think. Ok, we gain experience and all the rest but creatively we could go a lot further if it was based on something we wanted to do or on ourselves. I don’t think it’s a good idea making a website for a client yet, because like some other students I do not have a clue how to use flash. I mean how could you get a bunch of novice flash users to make websites for people who seriously need websites? It just doesn’t make sense. I mean yes we are learning things in the lessons but it’s kind of hard to take in everything and remember it for when you have to sit and make a site all by yourself. We’ve learnt had to make gif animations, its really cool being able to make something move about on screen and use as a button too but then followed by that exercise we would have to do tweening or something and the knowledge of the ‘gif’ would just go out of the window. Well that’s how I feel anyway, it’s all moving too fast and I feel we are learning things backwards. Rather than learning how to make the small things for the website, shouldn’t we be learning how to make the actual layout of the website so then we can start thinking about filling it with these little animations or whatever? Well I think it would be better if we started to make the website together as a class and then we could progress each week.
Enough rambling form me, so now we have to find a client to make a website for. Rather than waiting for a client to drop in my lap I decided to phone a few friends who have businesses. One of my friends who owns a communications company agreed to let me design a website for him and we briefly spoke about the kind of design we would use and what we would include. I was quiet excited about this because he is a good friend and I was certain we would communicate well and work well together when needed to. I mentioned to Eduardo that I have a client and he said to me that their will be a fee of up to about £100 etc. So that plan folded and im back to square one.
Weblog 3 (Meeting with clients)
Well it was an interesting day today as we were told out of the blue that we were going to have a meeting with some potential clients for our websites at the canal basin. So we all got down to the canal basin offices and met with this company called Tabeisa. We all sat down and watched a presentation by Tabeisa, I was expecting different companies to follow after each other and give presentations because I didn’t really understand what was going on. Anyway it turns out that Tabeisa own different companies and they all needed a website. So we were given a list of companies with a brief explanation of what they do. I decided to go for ‘PLI Corporates’ as they are watch and jewellery makers. I decided to go for this type of company so I could really experiment with different ideas I had. Also I was interested to see what kind of products they dealed with and what the company background was. So we went away with no information on our clients what so ever, we just confirmed what client we were going to design for. This whole thing seemed as it ifs going to take for ever. Our clients were overseas from South Africa
Tabeisa explained what they would expect from their website designers;
- They wanted people who put a 100% in to this task
- They didn’t just want an okay website, they wanted the best from us
- It was important these clients were given the most up to date style of website as they previously have had no website
- If you are not prepared to be dedicated then they will not require you
This was fair enough as I would expect the same from someone who is working for me. But we are still in the learning process and we are not professionals so how could we agree and promise to these kind of terms I do not know.
I went home feeling pleased that I and a client to work with but I felt more and more worried about using flash professionally to design a site for someone who is expecting a lot.
Weblog 4 (Researching similar companies and sites @ home)
So I went home from the meeting and decided to quickly do some research and look at some jewellery and watch sites. I jus did a ‘yahoo’ search and looked at the top sites like Cartier, Tiffany’s etc. The sites were not too complexed but the designs were very professional looking. It was kind of image and style I expected from a jewellery website. The most advanced part of the websites was the images of the products navigation, as the main purpose of the site was to sell their products. I started sketching some ideas on to paper for the presentation crit session next week. We have been asked to present three design ideas for a website to show Eduardo and also show to our clients. I emailed Tabeisa and requested some information on PLI Corporates; I asked for company information and what they wanted o their website.
Weblog 5 (Trouble contacting Tabeisa)
Tabeisa did not get in contact until a week later. I had to email them again only after Eduardo emailed me saying that Tabeisa have not heard from you ‘what is going on?’. So they finally replied and it was Jeanette that I spoke to. I jus briefly spoke to her about the designs I was making for the presentation and I would be coming down over the next few days to show her. She said this was fine and just to email her when I was ready to present them to her. Also I was provided with the information I required. I was given a few documents attached to an email from Tabeisa. They gave me a letter head with their contact information and also a company logo for PLI. They also gave me a document which had company information in it but it didn’t sound relative because their was no mention jewellery or watches? I ASKED Jeanette about this and she explained how PLI is a big company that has small businesses under its wing. This gave me a much clearer idea of what the website could look like. I was getting somewhere, finally!
Weblog 6 (Designing three ideas)
I have made three designs for a website; the first is very basic looking and is kind of professional but not very flash advanced. The second design is much flashier and it stands out for what it is (a jewellery shop). I used a lot of light colours like blue, white, grey, silver and it is my favourite design out of the lot. The third design is based around the colours of PLI logo which was supplied to me from Tabeisa. In my opinion the third design is the weakest but it does scream out PLI as it’s made with the colours of the logo, very basic but could work?
Weblog 7 (Presented ideas + Feedback response)
I made a presentation in the form of a website with links to each of my designs. This is the feedback I got;
Eduardo – thought they were kind of basic and simple, suggested I should have more design involved in the pages to look more up to date. I explained that I had no images to work with yet.
Harmeet – Good use of information, very clear, easy to understand, great ideas, organised.
Carl – Strong ideas, very positive site, good use of text, good use of flash images.
Tom – Very impressive, need progressing, good communication.
Alex – Interesting site, good aspects of design, nice colour scheme.
Tabeisa - Jeanette like my designs but preferred the design layout of the actual presentation itself and preferred me to make it along the lines of that. The pages that she wants included are: loader, home, contact, images and company info. I also mentioned that I would have a music player on their so people could listen to some music while they browsed. This was okay with her.
Weblog 8 (Visited Tabeisa to take pictures)
I borrowed a digital camera from a relative and went down to Tabeisa to take some pictures. Jeanette was very helpful and gave me a huge variety of products to take pictures of. I managed to get some good shots and took them home to edit with Photoshop just to clean them up.
Weblog 9 (Made some music for site)
Before I began piecing my website together I thought I would make some original music for the company. I made something calm and chilled and even used some African drum percussion. I thought this would go down well with the client and also the audience. The music never took me that long to make as it’s just a little two minute loop that will play over and over and again with the option to pause or play it.
Weblog 10 (Website production)
I decided to go for the professional corporate look. I designed an image to sit in the middle of my page while you navigate around it, it took some fair time getting the colours right and also the layers but it was worth it in the end because it really gives the site a great look and first impression. Not forgetting about the company logo though, its been placed in the side of the pages of the site somewhere where it looks smart but still stands out enough to see who the company is.
I didn’t want my navigation to be too crazy. I wanted to keep it as smart and professional as possible without over doing it. So the navigation is based on the side of my website where it is still very visible but has its own space. It’s in the form of a ruler and each little dash has a link next to it, but it doesn’t open a whole new page instead the information just appears in the middle of the page and replaces the information from the last link.
The music has got a separate player for it altogether which is in a small and discrete place but still makes it obvious to know that you can control the music from their. Their wont be too many options for the music, just a simple pause and play.
The image navigation will be the highlight of this website so I must get this right. I am trying to make it so that every time you click an image it appears in the middle or alternatively opens a whole new window with the image in.
The company information and contact details will be come straight from the documents provided by the clients. But I will be cutting out all irrelevant information. The contact details will have a direct link to an email service so it’s easy to send emails to the company.
I want this site to look as professional as possible that’s why I haven’t included so much colour, I am keeping the background white in order to give me much more room with experimenting with flash.
The loader is the key thing to all of this as it’s the first thing that everyone will see; I need to work on the logo (tidying it up using Photoshop) and also animate the logo so it still looks professional rather than looking cheesy. I want to be able to click the animated logo and it sends you straight to the homepage.
Weblog 11 (Finished product)
Making this website was a headache, somebody please remind me not to use sound again on my websites. As much I love sound. I really wish I hadn’t of bothered using it for this site. The amount of hours in the middle of the night spent on it was ridiculous. Did anyone else have the same problem with sound starting and stopping and even returning to the landing page whenever it felt like it?
Anyway I’m happy with the final product considering that I am very new to using flash, I do think I’ve done a good job for a beginner. Most of my action scripts were from tuitions I looked at on the internet. If it weren’t for the internet tuitions and help from friends online I would’ve been doomed.
The landing page is the big first impression so I’ve gone as far as I can with it to make it look professional and as edgy as possible. I’ve kept all designs very subtle as I didn’t want to cheese it out too much. There were a few things I had to negotiate with. Personally I did not want to use the logo provided by the company because I felt that it wrecked my design, however I did find a nice spot for the logo to sit and it doesn’t look all so bad.
The music was the main problem but after a good 6 hours of messing with it at night it was finally working. I kept having the problem that the file was too big and kept having to make sure I was working in the limits of 800kb.
My final verdict on my site is that it looks good and does what it’s supposed to. If I had been a [professional Flash user with more experience then I would’ve been able to make better but considering this is my first attempt, its good. I look forward to seeing everyone else’s websites and would also like to see hat problems they came across whilst producing their sites.