website design

Jennifer Balkan website

Jennifer Balkan website

I have just completed a redesign of Austin painter Jennifer Balkan’s website into a WordPress website. We kept a lot of the basic style elements from her previous site, but added a very user-friendly filmstrip-type image gallery, so you can very easily view both the thumbnail and large images. You can click on each of the large images in the filmstrip gallery to open an even larger image. And Jennifer will be able to update and maintain her site without having to write her own html code (she had created and maintained her previous site herself in HTML).

 

Jennifer Balkan - Gallery Page

Jennifer Balkan – Gallery Page

Jennifer-Balkan - Large Image

Jennifer-Balkan – Large Image

Take a look at the site at http://jenniferbalkan.net/, and fall in love with Jennifer’s paintings the way I have.  They are terrific!17:36:3102/10/2015

Abstract Paintings by Austin Artist Marilyn Fenn, website design v4.5

Abstract Paintings by Austin Artist Marilyn Fenn, website design v4.5

I have been moving toward more subdued colors in website designs (especially for artists!), and I think even my colorful work might look better against a more neutral background than before.  Soooooooooooo, I redesigned my fine art site one more time.  Luckily, this redesign only took me a week, while the structural and visual redesign from last fall took about a month.

While subduing the color palette of my site, I also decided to greatly simplify the amount of distractions. I have removed many of the doodads from the sidebars, and even removed the sidebar from many of the site pages. In several cases, I combined several pages into one that’s still easy to navigate with the addition of post tabs, and I’ve streamlined the info in the footer widgets. In a continuing effort to offer as much as I can without download speeds being too terrible, I have also reduced the number of plugins I’m using (and I keep whittling at the speed issue).

I replaced the random image of my paintings on the front page with a slideshow. I’ve upsized my art images and thumbnails sizes for better viewing. Plus, I recently added an on-site shop where you can purchase my art. Overall I’m very happy with this cleaner design and my yummy new colors of butterscotch, eggnog and chocolate.

Anyway, I hope you like the new design.  Plus, look forward to more art coming from me soon!  Check out the changes at Marilyn Fenn Studio.

Blogs & Stuff webpage design, v2

Blogs & Stuff webpage design, v2

Several years ago, I gathered links to all my blogs and stuff on one page.  I recently decided it was time to redesign that little page design slightly.  I loved the look and the logo of the initial design, but the web page layout was created in tables, and the time to use tables for page layout has long since passed.  I even seriously considered (for about a minute) making it into another WordPress site, but soon realized that would be total overkill for something that’s actually not much of anything in the first place.

On the up side, except for the images, all the files for this web page add up to only 60kb.  On the down side, it was actually more work and more time consuming to add content to this one little page than it would have been had I done it in WordPress.  Luckily, the content for this page should not change much or very often.  (fingers crossed)

Marilyn Fenn Studio website redesign, version 4c

Marilyn Fenn Studio website redesign, version 4c

I have just finished yet another redesign of my art website! The new design is a slight refinement of the previous visual design (with which I’ve been pretty happy for awhile), but more importantly, it represents a major underlying structural change. I have upgraded my site structural and design files to WordPress 3.01 to take advantage of the new structure and features built into the latest version of WordPress. I’ve also used a number of excellent plugins to extend the functionality.

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The USS Macaw website

The USS Macaw website

I’ve just created a very simple design for a WordPress website for a friend of mine.  He is a journalist who has spent some part of several years interviewing survivors from the USS Macaw, a ship that sank at sea during WWII on which his father was aboard (and luckily survived).

I created the design and set up a WordPress site that will handle “siders”* for my friend Tim.   He will be adding all the content himself.  I am training him long-distance by phone.

You can check out the story and photographs from the ship and its crew at Tim’s site, The USS Macaw.

*According to Tim, a “sider” in journalism is a box on the side of the main story that contains related data.  On Tim’s site, the siders are used, for instance, to show photos (when available) and details about each of the crew members.

Ave-Bonar-Photography-website

Today I am announcing the launch of a brand-new owner-empowered WordPress website for Austin photographer Ave Bonar.  I created the design to Ave’s specifications and employed the technology, and Ave added all her own content.  Both Ave and I are very happy with the final design for her new website.

Ave has worked as a photojournalist for such magazines as Texas MonthlyTexas ObserverAustin Sun, and Third Coast. She has photographed such political and musical luminaries as Ann Richards, Liz Carpenter, Jim Hightower, and Elvis Presley.  Her portraits in black-and-white or color are simply stunning.  Some of Ave’s other projects include delightful narrative documentary photographs, experiments in 3D photography (including quite a few of musicians playing in Austin clubs), and fabulous color photos of vegetables.

Ave has written perhaps the best About page I have ever read.  Read her history and view all her excellent work at http://avebonarphotography.com.

I'm Talking to Myself travel photos website

I’m Talking to Myself travel photos website

Sometimes I wish that personal computers, the Internet, and blogging had been around when I was younger. For those young enough to be growing up with all these things, every minute of your daily lives can be documented in the greatest detail—to be looked back on fondly (or in horror) as the years go by. For those of us who grew up before then, we have to rely on diaries, memories, and (hopefully) old film to document our youth (I didn’t have a camera until my late twenties, so I missed a lot of photo ops!). A lot of the record of our lives has been lost, which is both a shame—because we did grow up in such interesting times—and a blessing—because many of the embarrassing moments of our youthful indiscretions can’t come back to haunt us.  We had less exposure and more privacy then.

Be that as it may, years ago, I started a website to begin documenting one part of our personal lives: I wanted to organize and display photos from our various travel adventures.  It was one of those projects that was always bigger than the time I had to work on it—in other words, it was always “in progress.”  I can finally say with not a small amount of pride that for now, it is more or less a completed project…at least, until we take another trip and have more photos and stories to post.

This new site design was done in WordPress, and the visual design is my own, aided by the rapid prototyping tool, Artisteer.  For the two or three previous designs for the WordPress version of this site, I tried a couple themes from Elegant Themes. They were gorgeous themes, but I’m more comfortable editing my own code, plus as a website designer, well—you know, my sites probably should be designed by me:

 
I'm Talking to Myself, On the Go theme

I’m Talking to Myself, On the Go theme

I'm Talking to Myself, e-Business theme

I’m Talking to Myself, e-Business theme

 

Before that, I tried using a Blogger blog for the travel diary and a Coppermine photo database to organize all the photos:

 
Travel at In for a Penny, Coppermine database

Travel at In for a Penny, Coppermine database

 

The first version was designed in plain old HTML with photo galleries exported out of PhotoShop:

 
Travel at In for a Penny, version 1

Travel at In for a Penny, version 1

Travel at In for a Penny, version 1, interior page

Travel at In for a Penny, version 1, interior page

 

The site has evolved into something more than my original vision and intent; in addition to a travel diary with galleries of travel photos, I am adding some posts and photos from closer to home (you may notice, we don’t actually travel that much), a few posts on diversions, and some reminiscences from times gone by. I’ll probably begin adding more local stuff, such as gardening; I’ve already added some music and art.

One of the design elements that has remained consistent from the first design through the latest design is that the basic hue has been in the brown family; now it is a yummy combination of chocolate and cherry—or looked at another way—the ancient colors of Roman centurians’ uniforms.

The website is I’m Talking to Myself, I Can’t Believe I’m Talking to Myself: Travel Photos and Blog (and some local stuff, too).

Pixel Wranglers website, version 2

Pixel Wranglers website, version 2

This is the new version of the website for the website design and development business that my husband and I are partners in. I redesigned it as a WordPress website to bring it up to date and make it easier to update. I added and massaged a lot of the content. I did only a slight visual redesign, because I wanted to maintain the basic look from the previous version of the site. You can visit the new site at http://pixelwranglers.com/.

Pixel  Wranglers website, version 1

Pixel Wranglers website, version 1

This was the original site design from several years ago — a basic 6-page site done in HTML/CSS.  I always liked this design, but I prefer the ease of updating a WordPress site, and the added functionality provided by the judicious use of plug-ins.

At Pixel Wranglers, we frequently work together to build more extensive websites and business applications than I do on my own. My husband is a certified webmaster with a degree in Computer Science, and is experienced in database development, design and normalization. He can integrate database applications, such as specialized lookup facilities and site-wide dynamic-page environments. He can customize database back-end applications and perform implementations for Unix environments (PHP/SQL) or Windows (ASP/Access). He is also an extremely talented writer.

Please visit our new Pixel Wranglers website for more information, and contact us if we can help you with any website or database design and development projects.

William Wahlgren

William Wahlgren website, v4

This is the fourth version of a website for Austin painter and fellow SAIC alumnus William Wahlgren, the last three of which I have designed. This version is basically the same design as the last, only now designed to work in WordPress, so that Bill can update and maintain his site himself.

Bill paints large, gorgeous oil paintings using an Old Masters’ technique, though his works are often more abstract visions that consist primarily of sky and atmosphere.

View Bill’s latest gorgeous paintings at WilliamWahlgren.com.  They’re some of my favorite contemporary paintings.

Marilyn Rea Nasky's New WordPress website

Marilyn Rea Nasky website, v2

Today we are launching the redesign of local painter Marilyn Rea Nasky’s website.  Her new site is done in WordPress, thus allowing her to do some or all of her own updates.  Visit her new site at lightwithinstudios.com: Marilyn Rea Nasky, Light Within Studios.

Bear Flag Construction website

Bear Flag Construction website

I’ve just completed a new website in WordPress for local custom home building and remodeling company, Bear Flag Construction.   Tom Ide, the proprietor of Bear Flag Construction, handles everything from Construction Management, Restoration and New Construction to Additions, Remodeling, and Home Improvements. He has worked from the San Francisco Bay Area to Massachusetts and now works in the Austin area.

Tom wanted a site to showcase his local achievements, and he wanted a site that allows him to do his own editing and updating, so I built a site for him using WordPress, and have trained him to work on the site himself.

Visit Bear Flag Construction at http://bfccustomhomes.com/ to view some of the excellent work he has done and read the testimonials.  Give him a call if you need some construction work done.  I can attest that he does beautiful work at reasonable rates, and he’s quite a joy to work with.

Marilyn Fenn Decor website, v2

Marilyn Fenn Decor website, v2

You may not know this about me, but besides being a website designer, graphic designer, illustrator and painter, I have also studied interior design.  It is one of my five favorite things to do, occupation-wise, though I am NOT officially an interior designer, I do not have a degree in interior designer, and I would not presume to do all that professional interior designers can do.  I do occasionally help folks decorate their homes, pick colors for their walls and buy great furniture.

You can see some of my little projects at a site I created for that purpose, Marilyn Fenn Decor.  I recently redesigned it into a WordPress site with a blog, which I am using to document some of the trials and tribulations and joys of undergoing a house remodeling project.  I do love my new design, which I tried to model after my previous design, while also updating the look and functions.  See the old design here:

Marilyn Fenn Decor website, v1

Marilyn Fenn Decor website, v1

Small Wonders Blogger blog

Small Wonders Blogger blog

I’ve just designed a new theme for a new Blogger blog I created for the purpose of selling my small art (no muss, no fuss — just small paintings at small prices, with easy Paypal “add to cart” buttons, called “Small Wonders.”).

Designing for Blogger is—well, definitely different than designing for WordPress or standard HTML/CSS websites.  Less complicated than WordPress, but less powerful, too.  I was able to add buttons, and with some coding hoop-jumping, add some pages, but I still haven’t found a way to create any kind of a gallery page (other than adding a Flickr slideshow).

Anyway, feel free to check out my site and my small paintings at Small Wonders.  Feel free to buy a painting, too!

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