Presentation and Critical Reflection
For my final project in New Media Production, I decided to freelance for one of my friends and build a website for her to display her art and writing. She has been producing writing and visual art for several years now, but didn’t have an easy way to showcase her talents for others to see. She is also interested in selling some of her artwork, so I’ve created a digital portfolio for her existing work and a shop to list her commission pieces and prices. The two main goals of this website are creating a digital space that contains all of Emmeline’s work to be viewed by potential employers, and to build a shop where Emmeline can sell her work.
When you first navigate to Emmeline’s website, you see the header and a simple description of what you can find on her website. The homepage also has a nav bar with all the other site pages and all of her latest posts. After discussing with Emmeline, she thought that having her latest post as the homepage would be the best option in order to make the site really feel like a digital portfolio. She wants her newest pieces to be what greets you. The sidebar on the site has a search feature if you are looking for a specific piece or tag, categories, and recent comments. We also chose a simple theme for the homepage so the main focus is the art. However, Emmeline’s favorite color is green, so I wanted to have a little bit of her personality spice up the simplicity of the theme.
The first two pages on the site are Emmeline’s writing and art. Both pages are static and are basically a master list of all of her work separated by medium. I wanted to have a master list of her writing because the posts on the homepage only show a short description and also with how much art she posts, the writing might get lost. This way, the entire piece is visible as soon as you click on the page and there is only writing here. The art page is similar in that I wanted to have all of the pieces in order of when they were posted. The first piece of art on the site is at the top of the page and the most recent is at the bottom, so it is the opposite of the homepage and ensures some of her older work isn’t lost.
Next, I created her commissions page. This is her shop with details about what type of art can be requested and for how much. We discussed just having a list of different possible requests and a contact form asking for email, name, and request type. However, we both decided that having a button where one could actually purchase the commission and describe the art all in one place would expedite the customer’s buying process. I installed the Woocommerce plugin, created and configured a shop account, and made the shop page you see up on the website. This was one of the more difficult aspects of this project because I have never worked with this particular plugin before. Woocommerce is relatively user friendly, but configuring the page and product details to fit what Emmeline sells was tricky because a commission is a request for an item, not a physical product that already exists. I ended up having to post example images of the types of art you can request Emmeline to create in order to really create a visually appealing product listing. I am the most proud of this page on her site.
The next two pages are an about page and Emmeline’s resume. The about page is simple, containing a short bio about Emmeline and her work, a picture of her, and contact info/links to other social media accounts. I thought having an about page would make the site and the art more personal for viewers and potential customers. I also wanted to make a page that only showed Emmeline’s resume for potential employers. Since this website is a portfolio and shows off all of her work, I wanted potential employers to see her other accomplishments as far as school and jobs is concerned and possibly contact her about work.
The final page on this website is a contact page. I created this page by installing another plugin I’ve never used before. I did some research, and installed WP Forms because it seemed like the easiest and most user friendly way to create a contact form for Emmeline’s website. Emmeline wanted a way for customers to contact her easily if they had questions of a specific quest that you couldn’t readily purchase from the shop page. The plugin already has a simple contact form ready, so I made a small edit so it had a multiple choice question asking for the ‘reason for contact’ to help organize the information on the backend.
Overall, I learned a lot about communicating with a client during this project. I of course wanted to create the best website I could for Emmeline that functioned like she wanted, but I also had to create a well structured website. So, making sure Emmeline was informed about what I was doing and involving her in big decisions like theme and colors were important. At the end of the day, this website is hers and it needs to do what she needs it to, so I really tried to put in the work researching the best shop plugin. We both wanted her site to be user friendly because she wants everyone to be able to visit her site from her friends and family to potential employers and customers. Also just brainstorming ideas and figuring out exactly what she was looking for before ever even starting to build the website helped. Furthermore, keeping in touch with Emmeline and reporting on the updates I’ve made to the site kept her involved and apart of the website building process. I am very proud of the website I built for Emmeline, and I hope it gets her a lot of work.