I repeatedly force myself to remember what the world was like before web sites. The face and personality of an establishment was the “brick and mortar” store front. Only Sears Roebuck was renown for the unique ability to order from a catalog in my childhood. How we poured over those catalogs! When I was about ten, my mom would take me into Boston twice a year to shop at Best & Co. for that one, expensive, special outfit for church and holiday dinners. Flashy neon signs meant a bar, subdued foliage-lined entrances bespoke a high-end restaurant. The faces of business were easy to read.
Not unlike designing my book cover, I knew exactly what I want this finished face to be. I just didn’t understand the mechanics. I wasn’t used to not walking down the hall to the marketing design department and sketching it out for them. The look and feel of the Monadnock Oil and Vinegar Company, however was solidly formed in my mind.
Countless hours have been spent lately exploring web sites, researching their design and functionality. I’m getting to know this new face of retail. If there is a physical store, all the better, you can showcase it in photos, making it feel familiar to the consumer browsing online. Beyond the pretty shots, the text needs to be brief, punchy and inviting. Nothing kills a website for me like a small font in dense blocks of text. I’m in a hurry here, I will dig deeper if it is important to me, otherwise don’t drown me on the landing page.
Companies such as Weebly and WordPress offer a dizzying array of templates, many free of charge, to create a website. I happen to use WordPress here, but had looked at Weebly as well. The problem for me is the templates seem too constricting and blocky. I didn’t know how to look at them beyond the photos and boxes displayed. I couldn’t adjust the vision in my head to the catalog of products.
Enter team member Jim from Solene web design. We hashed through what I wanted and what various options we had. By mid-morning he had a working draft up and it was what I had seen in my mind’s eye. Bingo! Now to populate the shell with photos and text. It feels as if we have the interior painted and decorated, now just need to stock the shelves.
One more journey I’m taking where I only learn enough to be dangerous; and hopefully realize how little I know.