The Design and Usuability Revamp

A few weeks ago I promised my faithful readers that a revamp of the Digital Farm was in order. Don’t worry I haven’t forgotten, it is on its way, it’s just taking a little bit longer than I first expected.

When I first decided to re-design my site I thought it would be a quick job: a few pretty, photoshop-edited jpegs, a little tweak of the CSS stylesheet, and a few extra buttons. Easy!

I then started doing some research, I studied some sites that had been revamped for the CSS Reboot, and found some creative inspiration. Some pretty imagery just wasn’t going to do it. A complete revamp of not only the design, but also the usuability was in order.

Google Analytics has proven to be very helpful, and well worth the installation a few months back. With my statisitics I get I have been able to really research the usuability of my site. It has so much functionality that informs me of just about anything I need to know about my visitors, their location, their likes and dislikes, where they are coming from, and where they leave my site to go.

The picture below for example informs me that the “Login” button is not used at all, and is best described as a waste of space. A very small number of readers have actually registered as a subscriber to my site, in fact only one person has! I don’t blame any of you either, a “subscriber” does not benefit at all from registering, he/she cannot view anything more than you can as a website visitor. Therefore this button is going to be replaced with a more usuable button, that entices the reader to venture deeper into my site.

The “Contact me” button gets a few hits each day, but could probably be replaced with something a little more attractive, a little more appealing to the readers. The “Contact” button will be moved to the sidebar.

Digital Farm Google Analytics Site Stats

Google also helps me establish where exactly my visitors are from. Not what country, but what city. I can even see your IP address. I’m watching you… just kidding, but it is quite scary to see how much information is avaliable to the webmaster.

Google Analytics Geo Location

This information helps me decide on what articles to publish. Seeing my visitors are mainly South African I can get away with local articles on the pitfalls of Telkom and Capetonians despise Eskom.

The stats also show me that linking to my previous articles in similar current articles, like I have just done, keeps my visitors interested in my site, lengthening their time on this site, and reducing their exit points. Pretty neat hey?

Digital Farm Archive Stats

I can also see that my archive menu in the sidebar is seldomly used. Today, for example, only 1 person has clicked on one of the archive buttons. Why? Because people would far rather click on a category, for example with the name “Digital Art”, then click on a button called “May 2006”. By clicking on “Digital Art” they know what they are going to get articles about, with the archive button “May 2006” they are not enticed to visit it by some attractive label.The archive is therefore going to be replaced with a single “Archive” button, where they can navigate and manipulate their search from a single dynamic page.

That brings to an end my two cents worth about the Digital Farm site usuability thus far. As you can read this site revamp should hopefully be an exciting one.

This usuability study has been a great learning experience for me, I now plan to use the knowledge I have gained here on some of our client’s websites and hope to see some great results.

Should you wish to read about the design aspect of this revamp, then let me know by commenting, otherwise I don’t wish to bore you all with infomation you don’t really want.

Expect to see the new site up and running soon 🙂

Design Personal Ramblings

Jou Ma Se Epos Cards

Unfortunately, Coda was unable to Spread the Love with the “Jou Ma Se Epos” Mother’s Day cards. Time just wasn’t on his side, and the creative community were a bit slow responding to his request.

I had a couple of attempts at some card designs, and instead of letting them go to waste, I thought they might benefit some cheap ass people. Rather late than never hey?

If you are really desperate, right click and save the images below. Send jou ma some love.

I miss my mom
I still love you mom

The time has come

The word at the moment seems to be: “design”, or should I say “redesign”.

With CSS Reboot having just occurred there are loads of freshly re-designed sites avaliable on the net, for your viewing pleasure. CSS Reboot was a community event for web professionals were hundred of designers from all over the world launched their web standards-based redesigns simultaneously on May 1st 2006, bringing traffic, interest and a little respect to their sites.

Locally, and both rebooted their sites. Both definitely worth a look at. Well done guys.

With all these new sites around, I have decided the time has come to step it up a gear, and redesign the Digital Farm.

I am reading lots of articles to assist me with the best redesign possible. The redesign will cohere to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which basically means it will be entirely Web 2.0 based, using divs and CSS stylesheets extensively. The header graphic will probably not change, neither the overall colours, but the usability of the site, and content layout will recieve a much needed overhaul.

Time frame? I have none, whenever I have a spare moment I will work on it. It could be ready next week, it could be ready next month.

Why? Let’s be honest, hopefully to attract some more design work my way! And of course challenge my skills.


Great Web Design Guidelines for a Request for Proposal

For the guys involved in web design:

How often are you approached by someone, via email, saying they like your web portfolio, and would be interested in having a website designed by you? They barely give you a hint about what their site is about, but want a quote.

Well it happens to me often, and today I found a very handy link with some great guidelines for a request for proposal. Whether you want to read about RFP guidelines or not, visit Veerle’s blog, and be amazed by her design skills. Web 2.0 doesn’t get better than this!

Veerle's blog

Barcamp Cape Town: Unique in Design

BarCamp Cape Town

The Barcamp Cape Town logo has been redesigned. We hope you can all see the significance of the symbol, and its unique Cape Town character trait. I can’t take all the credit for the design, in fact not much at all, Coda came up with the final draft. If you haven’t read about it already, make sure to read up on this “un-conference” happening in Cape Town in June, and participate in any way you can. Its going to rock.

View the Barcamp website here.