Salters Cartage

Size: 4 template pages for a 30-page website

My professional status: contractor at Plan A

Website client: Salters Cartage

Dates: June - August 2010

Categories: Scoping/pitching/quoting, Project manager, IA & UX, Website designer, Front-end developer, Writing for the web, Content-loader, CSS-based layout, jQuery/JavaScript, No CMS, Small sites

Brief: I was asked by Plan A in Auckland to develop their original homepage design into a set of design templates for the new Salters Cartage website, to build these templates and then to put together the finished website, using all-new content which Plan A had written.

My responsibilities included:

  • Writing a process document for Plan A to explain my working style and the process I go through to create a finished website
  • Creation and refinement of the information architecture and site schematics, including template wireframes and sitemap, based on Plan A's content which they had already written
  • Project management and ongoing liaison with Plan A in order to achieve all their client's aims for the site, and to work through a range of technical and implementation issues with them
  • Project management of my part of the project including the development of design/development timelines within a programme of work and ensuring that I achieved all my project milestones in a timely fashion
  • Design development of the site from a single template (the homepage) which had already been designed - including developing the look & feel, graphics and navigation into the new template layouts I had identified during the IA phase
  • Development of a set of 4 templates in pure CSS and HTML 4.01 Transitional, hand-coding to a reasonable level of accessibility
  • Incorporating dynamic graphical effects via jQuery for dropdown menus off the main nav (Superfish plugin)
  • 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, IE8; Chrome, Firefox, Opera
    • Mac: Firefox, Opera, Safari
  • The creation of a sitewide CSS print stylesheet
  • Ensuring that every template and page had been validated using the W3C Markup Validation Service and that it conformed to XHTML 1.0 Transitional requirements
  • Building the actual working site once I had completed the site templates, formatting the content from Plan A into the site and adding photos wherever possible
  • Ongoing liaison with the Plan A team in the run-up to go-live, to ensure that the new website was working as expected, and to provide additional HTML, CSS and content graphics as required
  • Proof-reading and carrying out a full content QA of the site once I had completed the content-loading, to ensure that all content was properly formatted and that the site was looking its best before go-live
  • Uploading the new Salter's Cartage website to their existing URL and retiring their old site.

This was a fun little project. These days the majority of my HTML/CSS work is building templates which are then integrated into a CMS by someone else, so it's always fun to go back to the old-school way of doing things and actually build the whole site myself. This project reminded me a lot of the old days, because I also did the information architecture and the design development, which I was often responsible for when I was working at Origin Design.

I really enjoyed working with Caroline at Plan A - we worked together really well and it didn't matter at all that she's in Auckland and I'm here in Wellington - or that we have never actually met face-to-face. This was our first project together, and I hope there will be others in the future.