Size: HTML and pure CSS build of 10 templates for a 100+ page website

My professional status: employee at Shift

Website client: Shift

Dates: October - November 2006

Categories: Client liaison, Project manager, Website designer, Front-end developer, Govt web standards tester, Writing for the web, CSS-based layout, e-govt/WCAG compliance, ExpressionEngine, Medium sites

Brief: Shift's new-look website was a long time coming, mainly because Shifties were always working on somebody else's website! I was part of the team that finally got the chance to complete it and get it online.

My job was to project-manage the team and complete the HTML/CSS build of the 10 templates used in the site, using best practice techniques and ensuring that the site met or exceeded e-government accessibility guidelines. I also designed some pages, based on designs already created for other templates.

My responsibilities included:

  • Development of the site in pure CSS and HTML 4.01 Transitional, which would then be integrated into Expression Engine
  • Design development of some pages, based on designs already created for other templates
  • Picking up and completing the build of some of the site templates which had been started by my colleague, Brian Smith, about a year earlier
  • Some project management, as this project didn't really have an official Shift project manager
  • Close liaison with the programming team, to ensure that the templates would fit seamlessly into ExpressionEngine
  • Extensive browser testing on both Mac and PC to ensure the site was consistent across the following browsers and platforms:
    • PC: Internet Explorer 5.01, IE5.5, IE6, IE7; Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera
    • Mac: Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape, Opera, Safari
  • Inclusion of all possible accessibility elements, including skip links, access keys, alt tags, titles, summaries, captions and full accessibility coding for forms, with accessibility testing of all pages (levels 1 and 2 mandatory, level 3 as many as possible)
  • 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
  • Running a series of staff CMS/HTML training sessions using my HTML with Dreamweaver course notes as a starting-point - enabling the staff members responsible for the website to use ExpressionEngine to its fullest capability.

The new Shift website was in the making for three years but because it was an internal project, it had regularly been set aside when our customers needed work doing (which was pretty much always). A whole bunch of Shifties past and present worked on it during those three years - and I was so happy that we were able to bring all that work together, finish it off and get it out there and online. It was a huge team effort and an absolutely gorgeous site.