I have a completed programs in digital graphic design from Mount Royal University and a Web Developer program from SAIT. These programs have made me highly skilled in the Adobe suite of programs including Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. I am also skilled in front-end web development, from the design of websites to the coding and creation of them.
Many of my websites, including this one, have been created in WordPress. I tend to use WordPress because it offers a quick and easy interface to update and expand the content of a site. It is perfect for clients who have frequent updates needed for their sites but either are not savvy with web development or who have a small budget for their web development needs. For myself, I like WordPress because I have the ability to fully modify a website in its functionality and style through creating custom code, all the while able to go into the page editor and quickly add text and imagery in a straight-forward manner. My other personal website that focuses solely on my web developer skills has one page in WordPress (the blog page) and the rest is built from scratch on its own html/css pages.
My website design process begins with thumbnails. Perhaps it’s because of my illustration background but I need to physically pencil out a few layout options before coding anything. I rough out a few web page designs where I block out where a site’s content will go. Then I take these roughs and choose one that works the best and make what is called a ‘wire-frame’ in Illustrator. Once I am happy with the wireframe I create a colour palette that I will use for the entire site and begin creating a fully realized template for the website in Photoshop or Illustrator. This template will look almost exactly how the actual website will look.
With the templates fully realized I begin coding. If it’s a website made from scratch, I write the pages beginning with the HTML page to build the content then the CSS (sometimes in SASS) for the styling of the content. Once I am satisfied with the web pages in their layout, content and styling, I move onto the functionality of the website. Functionality can include creating a form and animations for links or otherwise static elements of the website. Finally, I add SEO factors so the website will rank high on Google analytics. A website in WordPress will run pretty much the same way except I choose a blank or simple pre-created theme that I turn into a child-theme and heavily customize it from there.
To read and see more about my web developer experience, please visit my other website mattstewartdesigns.com where I coded the pages in html/css and just the blog page is in WordPress.