JamesPask Design

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How this site was created

a picture of a trackerball mouse in the grass

What is the site for?

The site was originally going to showcase some of my design work. In July 2011 I purchased the Adobe Creative Suite and started self-teaching myself design. I’ve always had an interest in design and digital media and wanted to do something with it.

I started having a play with Dreamweaver but then decided that I needed to do something more useful with web design. I’d always had an interest in the content management system, WordPress but had always taken comfort from using templates that were already prepared. This time I wanted to do something different so I attempted to create my own from scratch.

 

Why was it developed?

In the Summer of 2011 I was facing redundancy and wanted to create an on-line portfolio to showcase some of my work. I avoided redundancy as I was able to move into a new position at the college but I still do design work on the side as a hobby.

 

How did I start the site?

The first version of the website was created in HTML5 by hand in Dreamweaver. I used the site to complement my CV and showcase what I could do with modern web techniques. I started by using a wireframe template within Adobe Fireworks. This current site is version 3 and was created with WordPress.

 

Why did I choose the Twenty Ten theme as the base design?

To begin with, WordPress scared me a little. I’d been using the system for a number of years for various blog projects but had never taken the plunge to develop my own template from scratch. I attended a WordPress training course and the tutor chose the Twenty Ten theme as a base for the design. I therefore thought that it would be safest to start with a template that I was familiar with.

 

Why have you coded it like this?

The first version of the WordPress site (v3) was styled using snippets of CSS code developed from various different sources. When I started doing the Treehouse training I began to realise that the site wasn’t “mobile first” which is a big thing that they go on about. I also hadn’t got any media queries and wasn’t using CSS3 to its full advantages. I know that there are various different CSS grids and templates to get you started, especially for WordPress but I wanted to ensure that I knew 100% what each style was doing. This would ensure that if I wanted to change anything, then I knew exactly how to find it and how to alter it. Where I have used code snippets from the WordPress codex, these have been documented in the code so if I need them again, then I can get them easily.

 

Challenges so far?

I knew that my shady CSS skills were holding me back so I knew I had to do something to develop them. Buying books and attempting to do free online courses didn’t really meet my needs as I’m more of a visual learner and needed to be guided through how to do something then try it myself.

This is where Treehouse came in. I’d heard of it before but hadn’t considered it because of the cost. I then considered that a monthly subscription would encourage/force me to learn on a regular basis so I took the plunge.

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