Web design


Unlike my computer engineering friends, I’m not primarily a coder. But that doesn’t mean that the sight of PHP or HTML forces me to curl up in the corner, full-on fetal position. Code doesn’t scare me. In fact, I’m trying to learn as much about web design as I possibly can.

My first web design project was to revamp Michigan Hockey Online, a niche publication that centered on youth hockey in the state of Michigan. The older site was built using Dreamweaver and didn’t allow for daily updates nor an article archive. To help create a site that could be current, topical and easily brought up to speed, the client and I decided to use WordPress.

I settled on a WordPress template and incorporated my knowledge of CSS/HTML and PHP to mold the site to our specifications. Everything from the color scheme and front page layout to the rotating banners and site navigation were designed to give the site visitor an interactive and informative experience.

Go ahead and check it out in action, MiHockeyNow.com, and to read more about the Michigan Hockey redesign, click here.

Another web design project that I developed was for an IT company based in Toronto. They came to me wanting to use WordPress to create a simple, easy to navigate web site to help their customers and potential clients find their contact information and services.

The company sent over examples of sites they liked, and then I went out and found a WordPress theme that could be easily manipulated to their specifications. I highlighted their services on the homepage slider by playing off of their fun and quirky logo.

The ZeroPing website can be found at ZeroPing.ca

Full disclosure, this isn’t a working, live web site — it’s just a conceptual idea for a site that focuses on reducing cafeteria food waste.

The assignment was completed in my interactive web design class (which ironically, didn’t involve too much actual web design) at Michigan State. We had to choose a destructive behavior and then create a web site that aimed at dissuading others from participating in the act. After holding a meal plan for three years during my time as an undergrad, I came to see the horrors of wasteful activities that took place in college cafeterias.

Being a journalism student in a graphic design class, I took the time to do my due diligence and research the issue at hand instead of just using dummy copy on my slides (I’m actually really humble, I swear). I again focused on how the site visitor would interact with the information on each slide and developed an effective route for them to travel the site.

If a client ever comes to me in need of a web site aimed at reducing cafeteria food waste, I’ll have these blueprints in my back pocket.