My skills and expertise
I am a digital hybrid. I function as a digital designer with a user-focused angle providing creative flair where required. I also function as a front-end developer with the ability to create prototypes or full projects from concepts or full visuals. Having started my career as a dedicated developer I feel this has given me good grounding in creating user-focused and developer friendly solutions.
I am a user-focused designer
I design new websites, applications and system interfaces from the ground up.
Branding & Identity
Creating or refreshing a brand for online use is something I am required to do more than I expected. It is quite common that brand guidelines are not complete in certain areas or are dated / not followed any longer. My goal when I take on brand work is to create logo(s), colour palettes and fonts that will appeal to the target audiences. I often do branding work for clients and take projects all the way through to a website design and build with the newly created / updated brand guidelines and rules adhered too.
Understanding your user is a vital part of any successful project or product. My background as a developer helps me to understand how users interact with things in a digital world but also the innovations and limitations possible with new and existing systems. I have been practicing user-centric design for over 5 years now and have taken multiple projects through from initial planning to delivery via scamping / wireframing, prototyping, build and integration.
Having high fidelity designs is an essential part of any digital product. They are essential to know what the user will see, what the customer approves and what the developer builds. The User Interface (UI) design I do follows on from any wireframes / scamps that have been done. They take into consideration user interactions and any prototypes that may need to be built to showcase and test user journeys at a basic level. I use Figma to create rich, engaging visuals and then often prototype solutions in InVision.
I am an experienced developer
I build responsive websites and applications based on signed off designs.
I use up to date HTML5 standards to ensure that the website is built to the latest specifications. I firmly believe in keeping a tidy code base so other developers and I can maintain the system with the greatest ease. Often the HTML templates are written along with template-driven server-side logic code, usually from PHP (potentially using Twig). I have a good understanding of creating neat, tidy and well documented templates for various systems including WordPress and Craft 3.
CSS is where I get the chance to make an awesome design equally awesome on a web page. I ensure all the latest browsers are supported and use graceful degradation if required. I use CSS to style whole websites but I focus on transitions and animations to enhance user interactions and experiences. I use Gulp to process my SASS files which gives me great control of variables, components and minified output.
Having used a variety of different systems for a number of years I am comfortable with writing and managing PHP using procedural programming. I don't profess to be a PHP expert but I understand how to use it and integrate alongside it. At the most basic level I do this within WordPress by integrating HTML and PHP into template files and functions to create bespoke themes and plugins.
I understand and have a basic knowledge of MySQL and database management. I often use something like phpMyAdmin to manage databases, tables and queries. This is not something I have to do a lot of when developing bespoke solutions but usually I am involved in initial setups and basic management and maintenance as the project grows.
I have used WordPress for about 8 years now and I am very competent at creating bespoke themes to fit the needs of the website. I use Advanced Custom Fields to ensure that clients have an easy and intuitive experience when managing their content. Although I do not hate WordPress, it seems to have blindly become one-size-fits-all for a lot of websites. I am currently a big fan of Craft.