I just completed a microsite for a long-time client. For me personally, it was painful; most other web designers might chuckle. But this was my first experience with scope change (not creep). On the positive, it was my first chance to complete a web project using a web standards-based approach, instead of just pontificating about it.
Handling the Client & Project
The travel microsite is an attempt to focus on one supplier and one destination. For the first time, I went all out to plan it right (though the client pressed to just building fast). I started with an outline of what the goal was, then created some wireframes to communicate the content layout and UX flow. The client said “Yes, now please build it.” That, in itself, should have been cuase for concern.
I then designed the Photoshop prototype/mockup, with three screens, home page, listing page, and product detail page. Again, a first for me, I took a bit of time to “get it right,” thinking about the ramifications of design choices to the standards-based design. Again, the client praised the look, and asked “when would it be ready?”
Again, another chance to say whoa. But I pressed on, to deliver to a happy client.
I built out the site, in two waves of madness. The first over a week’s timeframe, the “template” and homepage were completed. Then over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a push to get all other pages (28) completed and populated with content. I even dabbled with PHP for the first time (my minor experience with classic ASP helped).
The client was frantic to get the microsite launched, but not for the reasons you might think. The site promotes several time-sensitive promotions and time was running out. That was my motivation. The clients motivation was more political related with the supplier. Leave it to say that I hope I’m not in that situation again, as I hope to approach things a bit wiser in the future.
Handling the Designer
As much as I preach designing for business goals, I found myself becoming attached to the design, which likely caused a few minor delays in tweaking. In the end, I’m proud of the outcome, and happy with the new things I learned during the project. However, I’m not satisfied with the resulting code, as I think it could be more efficient. But we live, work, and learn. I’m looking forward to my next project already.
Below are a couple of screenshots of the final design, the homepage, and a detail page.