NZWood (resources site)

Size: 14 template pages

My professional status: employee at Shift

Website client: NZWood

Dates: April - June and August - September 2008

Categories: IA & UX, Website designer, Front-end developer, CSS-based layout, ExpressionEngine, Large sites

Brief: to build a set of template pages for the NZWood resources website, as part of a series of websites for the organisation.

The resources site, which was the largest of the three sites and its main focus, provided wood-related resources, tools, research and case studies for a range of industries that use wood, and could be encouraged to use more - such as architects, interior designers, engineers, builders, surveyors and landscapers - as well as wood product retailers.

My responsibilities included:

  • Development of the site in CSS and HTML 4.01 Transitional, which would then be integrated into the ExpressionEngine CMS
  • Liaising closely with the ExpressionEngine developer to ensure that all templates could be easily integrated into the CMS
  • Hand-coding in HTML 4.01 Transitional to a reasonable level of accessibility
  • Extensive testing of the site at all stages of the development process, ensuring complete consistency across the following browsers and platforms:
    • PC: Internet Explorer IE6, IE7; Firefox, Netscape, Opera
    • Mac: Firefox, Netscape, Opera, Safari
  • Ensuring that every page and stylesheet had been validated using the W3C Markup Validation Service and that it conformed to HTML 4.01 Transitional requirements
  • Development of print stylesheets sitewide
  • Identification of missing templates towards the end of the project, and wireframing, designing and building these, based on the design of the rest of the site.

The resources site design and build was closely based on the corporate and campaign sites, both in order to maintain a level of consistency across all the NZWood sites, and also because it would enable the technical aspects of the production process (HTML build and CMS programming) to be completed quickly and efficiently.

This project was an interesting challenge because at the time it was created, the client was still in the process of deciding exactly what the site would include in the way of content. For this reason the IA and design was very open-ended, with page layouts that could potentially accommodate a wide range of different types of content. By the time the templates were ready to be integrated into the CMS the sitemap had become a little more clearly defined, and together with Tom St George, my CMS programmer, I took the responsibility of re-assessing the site and identifying missing templates, which I then wireframed, designed and built.

The homepage and some of the list-type templates such as the species index, vendors and case studies pages were refined and altered to improve functionality in August-September 2008.

Other NZWood websites