What I’ve learned + What I found difficult + What I would change =
What did I learn as a result of this assignment/project?
Building a website from scratch requires not only knowledge with coding but it also involves a strong understanding of user experience. For the second assessment, I have learned the importance of taking into consideration the usability and functionality of a website. The visual aesthetic also plays a significant role but this is secondary as user experience is the key priority. This is a valuable insight that I have learned throughout the first and second assessments.
From this project, I have learned that planning goes a long way. Before I started coding anything, I made sure to get feedback on my high-fidelity prototype with multiple users via usability testing. This gave me an opportunity to make any necessary changes before I start building my website. I also planned my website’s layout on paper by using the box model to identify div containers and its corresponding elements. By doing so, I saved time when laying them out in columns/grids with the Skeleton framework.
Another key lesson that I have learned is doing plenty of research. Whether it be online, in-class or asking others, there is a considerable amount of accessible information everywhere. Utilize it. I used Lynda, StackOverflow and YouTube tutorials as my main sources of help and information. I found these to be extremely helpful when I stumbled upon a bug or ineffective code. I also asked for my tutor’s help during class as well as other people building their websites. This helped me understand coding a lot better because it encouraged me to analyze the problem and find ways to solve it alongside others.
Also, I have learned to test and troubleshoot any code that has been added or altered. Any property or change in values that I have done, I would automatically test it to see if it works properly. It’s easier to troubleshoot a problem straight away rather than figuring out what doesn’t work after a chunk of code has already been written. I also viewed my website using different browsers throughout the process to ensure that it works across various browser platforms.
What key difficult technical obstacles did you encounter and how did you overcome them?
One key obstacle I’ve encountered was ensuring that my content remains responsive and clearly laid out when viewing it from different screen sizes. I particularly found this challenging because I usually work from the 27″ iMac uni computers and my 15″ laptop at home. At times, the spacing of the content inside my containers would change whenever I view it from either screens (depending on which device I coded it from). I tried to fix this by using media queries, but I still had the same problem so I am planning to learn a bit more on how to solve this issue in my own time.
What would you do differently if you had another opportunity to complete this assignment?
If I had another opportunity to complete this assignment, I would have loved to build my entire website so that it is fully functional. I really wanted to redesign my gallery after the feedback I received from my usability testing. However, due to time constraints and the 4 page requirement on the brief, I decided to build my scroll-through homepage instead. Also, if I had continued to build my gallery, I would need to allocate more time to redesign the layout and conduct usability testing which isn’t necessarily ideal with the given time to complete the website. Nevertheless, I am planning to complete my website in my own time to further hone what I’ve learned so far.
Another thing that I would have done differently is the structure of my website. If given the opportunity again, I would make 4 different pages rather than a scroll-through of 4 different sections. Although I am happy with my final outcome, it would be interesting to see how it would look like if it was structured differently. Again, I can experiment with this further in my own time.
Overall, I am happy with my website as this is also my first attempt in building one from scratch. I am confident with the technical knowledge I acquired (and will keep acquiring) throughout the project. I’m looking forward to building better fully responsive websites in the future. With what I have learned so far, I believe that there is so much more to learn and so many opportunities to keep enhancing my skills to understand web design + development in a deeper level. Bring it on Web Media Production II.