I think that it is really important for someone's personal website to correspond with their personality and demonstrate who they are in the context that they are trying to present themselves. For me, I was looking to show a combination of my professional and creative side, so that someone who comes across my site would have a clear idea of who I am, and how I might operate in a work setting. I think that I have the ability to be fun and upbeat while also being serious about my work, and for my first time designing a website I think that I was able to meet those expectations that I set for myself. By meeting those expectations though, nothing from my design persona and my initial sketches look like what I have for my final project. It was hard for me to conceptualize what I wanted my final site to look like while we were just working on our resumes, so by the time that we got around to sketching things out, my mind was moving in a completely different direction. Once we created a homepage with an image that took up the entire screen, however, I realized that that would be the right direction for me to move in with my website. It looks much cleaner and more streamlined than any of the sketches that I had made with a scrolling photo carousel.
In terms of responsiveness, I think that my website is very easy to read and understand. I made sure that my navigation bar was visible from each page (since I made the background of it transparent) and changed the color from white to the navy blue that I use throughout the rest of the site. Additionally, I changed the rollover color to gray. On the other pages of my site, the navigation goes from a light gray to a dark gray so that the contrast is less harsh. I did something similar with my links to other sites as well so that someone using my site could see which links they've gone through. For external links, I also made it so that they would open up in a new tab, that way my website will remain open, making it easier for someone to go back and forth between something like my writing samples and my resume.
If I had more time to work on my website, I would probably have liked to refine my portfolio pieces to jut writing samples. The easy access to my writing samples that are already published from The Hawk's website made it easy for me to add them rather than figuring out how to reformat an essay from class that I did well on. I think doing this would help with my emotional design, especially for the purposes of my site. Although I am very passionate about photography, I see my website as more of a portfolio tool to send a potential employer who might want to look at a few of my writing samples. I would also like to make my website more responsive to the mobile/tablet view, as I have been struggling to have my background photo fit.
My site has changed dramatically throughout the semester. Being that this is the first (and only) communications class I've taken at St. Joe's I think that I had to spend a lot more time thinking about things like my design persona than I thought I would. With that, I don't think my lack of experience in the communications department kept me from succeeding in improving my site week after week. At the beginning of the semester, I remember spending a lot of time reading and rereading the book to make sure that I had a clear idea of how HTML and CSS worked. That way, once we began adding design elements to our resume it didn't take me as long to get the hang of things. By the time we started working on our entire site, I didn't even think much of it because I was pretty confident in my base knowledge to do the majority of it before asking questions.
After working on the majority of my website for about 3 weeks, I can say that I feel like this is a skill that I would put on a resume. While I may not be an expert, I feel like I have the base knowledge and the skills to figure out how to do certain things. For example, when I like the way that someone else's code looks, I'm not afraid to go into their page source to see how they achieved a certain look or style. I also feel like my comfort level has grown significantly with things in CSS and HTML because I can tell the kinds of things that I might need or want to change before even going into my own code. Even though I am not an expert, learning to code HTML and CSS this semester was a very big goal of mine that I was able to accomplish. I even plan to buy out my web design textbook from the SJU bookstore just in case I need it in the future!
Overall, coding has been a great experience this semester. For the amount of time we spent seriously coding our websites and not just our resumes, I think that I was able to achieve a pretty professional look that I'm satisfied with. My site is easy to read and I think showcases my personality alongside my professional work well. If I were able to take this course again though, I would have liked to have a little more time to work on the final site rather than the last few weeks of school. Open coding during finals week has been extremely helpful for that reason, so I've been able to keep up with the work tht I wish I might have had the time (or knowledge) to do earlier. I realize that a lot of what we were learning was foundational, but I think having more time dedicated to coding our entire site would have been more beneficial in the long run for the final product.