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Web Site Design: Independent Projects

Brainstorms and Raves

Brainstorms & Raves screenshotBrainstorms & Raves is an almost-daily column or weblog that covers the latest news about the Web, design and development, fonts and typography, music, and other topics of interest.

In December, 2000, SKDesigns initially created Brainstorms & Raves to try out weblog content management tools for clients who wish to have weblogs or update content on their sites easily. It quickly turned into an ongoing daily place for Shirley to write about the Web, design and development, typography, technology, music, and more.

August 2001: New Domain, Redesign

By mid-August 2001 a new design was created for Brainstorms & Raves with a more forward-thinking approach to provide greater content flexibility (by separating content from structure far more), creating a visually appealing design while being standards-based, maintaining accessibility, and being cross-browser and cross-platform friendly. An extensive categorized archive of articles was also developed along with a full site search capability, too.

August 2003: Redesign, Switch to Movable Type and all-CSS Layout

Two years later, August 2003, the big switch was made from Blogger to Movable Type for content management. Once the customizing and tweaking was done, a visual redesign provided the visual framework for the major changes that took place. A few of the new features included:

August 2005: Major Move to New Server

SKDesigns' ISP moved all our websites to a new server that's not only faster and much more powerful, it also has more capabilities including PHP, MySQL, .htaccess, and more. Upgrading the behind-the-scenes database for Movable Type provided provides far more flexibility and speed.

Also behind the scenes was a standards-based all-CSS layout utilizing XHTML 1.0 transitional. You can read more at the site's Colophon section.

October 2006: Visual Redesign, Behind-the-Scenes Upgrades and Overhaul

After three years with the same design and behind-the-scenes technologies, a redesign and server-side changes were made to take advantage of improvements in Web and server-side technologies. For example, the new design and upgrade includes:

  • improved CSS,
  • improved accessibility,
  • improved server-side scripting,
  • a new Web site logo and fresh, new colors
  • improvements in visual design approaches, and
  • incorporating skills added and fine tuned during the past three years.

The overall result is leaner pages that download faster, even easier maintenance, a fresh, new look, and much improved efficiency.

October 2006 Redesign of Brainstorms and Raves - screenshot of topmast, sidebar - collage

Readership Growth Continues

Readership continues to grow exponentially. While Shirley is continually amazed by its ever-increasing popularity, at least some of the reason is the result of the almost daily posts, the addition of RSS feeds, site promotion and search engine registrations and optimization. Above all, though, Brainstorms & Raves is a lot of fun to write, and as long as it continues to be fun it will continue to exist.

(2000-current)

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See the Client Projects section for samples and information about some of our Web site design projects and Web application interfaces work.

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