It's been a while! Almost a year since I've posted to my blog. But I've got excuses...
I am now the (co-)director of my very own start-up! Sixth Domain is working hard to create a pastoral management system for schools called Reward System. Reward System is a web based behavioural management system for schools, built on the LAMP technologies with which I'm familiar.
We already have a proven product and clients, and while there is still plenty of work to do (when isn't there?), the future is bright for our little start-up. I'll post more on Sixth Domain soon, and we hope to get a blog live there in the coming weeks.
Find out more about my business partner, John Roberts, on Twitter.
As we're bootstraping our start-up, I started a new, part-time job working for edapt, the support & protection service for teachers, (it helped that I know the CEO, a certain John Roberts). edapt is a great young company, starting a business the like of which has never been seen in this county.
I'm the Web Developmenet Manager at edapt, so got to choose the great, open-source technologes with which the site is built and maintained - most notably PyroCMS and Git VCS.
I'm now based in London for my freelance web development work. Moving from Manchester was a big decision, but I've lived in London before and it is hard to beat for opportunity and vivacity.
My last site was build on a custom PHP framework I came up with (maybe more on this soon), but as some of you might know, while it's tempting using something brand new for every project, more blogging is going to get done with something stable.
The site is powered by PyroCMS; the theme is based on my Normal theme, which utilises normalize.css and HTML5; the font is called Roboto and is being served by Google fonts; and the design is based on a colour I liked on the Kickstarter site. I designed most of the site in the browser by playing around in Google Chrome's web inspector, and the images were created with GIMP.
I'm hoping to blog more frequently about web development, my tech start-up and the web in general, so please come back soon.
My site has been live for nearly two years now, and so I thought it was time to give it some attention and redesign it. I ply my trade as a web developer, not designer, so was tempted to get someone else to mock up my site, but I like a challenge, and wanted to stamp my own style on my site.
Where to find inspiration? Most design projects will include some sort of brief or branding guidelines, but when you're working on your own projects, you start with a blank canvas. The inspiration for the colour scheme of the site came from my 60's reissue Fender Stratocaster. It's a Mexican copy of an all time classic, but it still has those great strat looks.
Brown and beige aren't exactly sexy colours, but I thought they would work well in contrast with a bright green. Chris Spooner's blog uses beiges, and I really liked this shot on Dribbble by the Dribbble man himself, Dan Cederhorn.
I decided on orange for the link colour, and to keep the main navigation and links very similar to make it clear where the links are on the page.
The layout of the site is standard for a blog-type site. The most important element to include was the elevator pitch on the home page ("A web developer based in Manchester..." etc.). These are now very common on professionals website's, my last design included one, and they are a great way to communicate what you offer to your visitors. There is a great article from Yoast about summing up your business as succinctly as possible, which explains how an elevator pitch can help your SEO.
I'm a developer so I have to write a bit about the development!
The site is built with HTML5 (I've written a post about how to do that) and a little CSS3. This means that my site will look different in older browsers; the large headers at the top of the pages will not have the text-shadow effect, but I'd rather include the effect for people with up-to-date browsers than use images, or not include the effect at all.
The back end of the site is running on my own PHP framework, and the beginnings of my own CMS. This means that some of the time I could be using writing for the blog ends up being used on actually building it, but its a great learning exercise and interesting to see how much functionality can be included in a CMS.
Now, if I'd got round to building the commenting functionality for blog posts, you'd be able to tell me what you think, but for now you'll have to make do with telling me via Twitter, @npyett.
Wow, its been ages since I blogged. Look - its been over seven months! That's a capital offence in some circles, and basically SEO suicide. (Or is it?)
But I've not been completely idle. I've been busy on Twitter and keeping up with other blogs. Copyblogger is a great blog and always comes up with interesting posts, Codrops is cool for dev stuff and there are some great UX sites like UX Booth and 52 Weeks of UX. Also check out the Baymard Institute for usability.
The sharper eyed among you will also have noticed I've redesigned my website. But there's also quite a lot of development to it as well. I've been working with CodeIgniter a lot over the past year (making bespoke CMS's, delegate management systems, registration sites, you name it) so I decided to have a stab at building my own PHP framework. Its powering this site at the moment, but is still quite a way off it's first release.
There are still a few more i's to dot and t's to cross on my site, but its coming together. I'll post something soon about the design inspiration. And like I said, I'm not dead.