At the start of this unit I hoped to create a well organised, easy to navigate and professional looking website as a showcase for all my future media material. As my website was likely to be sports based as the website is part of the Sports Journalism course I’m taking I used prominent sporting websites as inspiration for how to design mine. I looked at http://www.autosport.com/, http://www.fifa.com/,http://www.formula1.com/ and http://www.nfl.com/ as inspiration for my site. Now I’ve completed this module in reflection I feel the site I have created meets all the targets that I set out when initially starting this project. With four pages- Home, About, Blog and Contact my site is well sorted with all of the pages having relevant content and being easily accessible. Whilst I was not able to add all the design features I wanted this is mostly to do with the limitations of using WordPress for my site.
As I mentioned above the first step I took when designing my website was to look at other prominent sports websites for design ideas. When it came to creating my own site at first I only used a basic template design as I wanted to get the basics right first before adding to my site at a later stage. Soon after I came back to the design and went through the full list of design templates much more thoroughly this time looking for the right one. Once I had chosen the right template I then set about altering the default colours used. Finally I settled on a basic colour scheme of black and white. Whist it may appear slightly boring to some I chose these colours because I felt they were the most professional looking and that was the overwhelming priority for my site; for my site to look professional. After sorting out the design I then focused on adding a structure to my site through content, I subsequently added the about, blog and contact pages to add some structure to my home page. From this point I then focused on the smaller details which all together cementing the professional look I wanted from my website.
The intention of my website was to have a simple easy to use yet professional looking website. I wanted to keep my site relatively simple with only a Home page, About, Blog and Contact partly because of the amount of time given to us to create this site and partly because I wanted my site to be structured so it’s very easy to navigate for the reader. One of the features I included as a way of helper the reader visually see this is a sports based website was using a picture of famous racing driver Ayrton Senna as my header.
Whilst having a website with few pages may mean I lack in content to similar sporting websites the benefit to this is that my website does very well in speed as it’s very easy to load because of it’s relatively small size. Therefore when I tested the speed of my site on Pingdom it performed very well.
The results showed my site only takes 1.49 seconds to load which is 80% faster than other sites tested. Therefore the speed test didn’t influence my website very much because the tests had shown it didn’t need tweaking in terms of speed. The W3C test however was less straightforward as that showed my website had 6 errors and 3 warnings. The warnings however are far less significant than the errors so they can largely be discounted. In reality, the W3C test didn’t influence my website very much either because after looking through them it became clear all these errors were to do with the WordPress site itself and was no errors were of my own making on the site which meant there was little I could do to fix them.
From the original inspiration sites I have been able to incorporate some of their design features such as with Autosport.com their breaking news is all together in list form in the middle of the page. I have a vaguely similar design on my site with my latest posts being in list form in the middle of the page just off to the right. Also at the very top of the page they have all their different sections to the site for the reader, something I have done also placing all the navigation buttons at the top of the homepage below the header. These are both effective on my site as they make it easier for the reader to navigate my site which was their original purpose with the recent posts allowing the reader to easily find my latest posts whereas the navigation buttons are clearly visible on the home page for the reader too.
Through the design process the only problems I had to contend with was difficulty in making the picture of Ayrton Senna which I wanted to fit into the header bar. This was resolved relatively easily however as after several tries I simply chose another photo to use which fit the header box perfectly. Also I had a small issue with making the site name fit on one line in the header box which because of the length of the name I was unable to do. Whilst it looks slightly unprofessional, it’s a relatively small detail. However after exploring how to resolve this I decided not to resolve this small problem.
To change the header I would have to find a way to lengthen the size of the header or header photo, something I was unwilling to do as I previously explained above, the header photo was something that was difficult to implement. The only other option would be to change my blog title, something that is not wise to do considering the amount of work put in to create this blog in the first place. Therefore after considering these options I decided not to change anything simply to fit in the title on one line. The only effect this has is to compromise slightly the professional look of my site however in reflection I do not feel it compromises this enough to necessitate a drastic change to the header.
At the bottom right of my blog I implemented a recent posts section so that readers could visit other blog’s I’ve posted when they visit my blog. Initially the recent posts section was placed on the top right of my pages yet afterwards I was advised it would be better to place the categories section above the recent posts section. This is to allow readers to easily see the categories my blogs are written about so as to determine if this correlate with their interests ad hobbies.
The recent posts section is something I hadn’t given much thought to in the initial design process yet is something I would definitely include in future sites. This is because of the effect they have in making it a lot easier for readers to easily see if my blog posts are linked with their interests. It also makes it a lot easier for readers to navigate between blog posts on my site.
In conclusion I have learnt how to properly design a professional looking website and how to improve it through the use of coding and also testing such as the W3C errors test and the Pingdom speed test. I have also learnt to develop my content through tags and categorising my posts which help boost the popularity of my posts. This can also be helped with search engine optimisation which is another thing I’ve learn whilst developing this website. In the future I would ensure I had slightly more time to get it perfect but that’s the only thing.