This page details the process of a freelance web development project I completed in 2017. The website design included three phases: structure, content, and design.
My first step in any freelance project is to select a dedicated notebook a week before meeting with my clients for the first time. It quickly filled with a content audit of their existing site, a genre analysis, reuse map, taxonomy proposal, and some very rudimentary wireframes. My clients specifically requested that I look at the website of another team of realtors in the hopes that we could emulate their style. After documenting my research on paper, I got to work on an initial information architecture for their site.
Throughout this project I documented my progress in checklists and timelines.
I have always been a fan of sketching things out, and after reading Information Architecture by Louis Rosenfeld, Peter Morville, and Jorge Arango I had the importance of diagrams and sketching in mind when I approached this project.
Here are two ways that I communicated my proposal for the organization of the site by hand:
And here is how those maps turned out when redone on the computer:
Content & Design
Once the overall organizational structure was established, it was now time to find a theme that could be customized to fit. As you can see our meeting notes grew haphazard as we had more to discuss at this stage. Below you’ll see the names of some of the themes I had researched and proposed. After some initial customization we decided that the Corporate theme was the best option.
As with any web development project, I listened to my clients’ needs and kept tweaking along the way. These changes were both the result of problem solving skills as well as the mapping of our technological and budget limitations. Since we could not feature the Flex MLS Embedded Search Plugin, we decided to add some action items to the Navigation to allow our users to access the Flex MLS that way.
After the visuals and menus were set it was time for content migration. We also made some key content choices at this stage, influenced by my background in content strategy, this included the decision to include:
- Blog posts
- Featured listing of the month
- Buying/Selling Guides
On December 27th 2017 the website thelisas.com went live. If you would like to see the finished project you can visit it here. Or, I’ve provided some screenshots below of how the website looked upon its release.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! Feel free to contact me with any questions.