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Web Site Design: Independent Projects

Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A., Concert Pianist, Composer

shirleykaiser06150aThe Shirley Kaiser, Pianist, Composer Web site is about the music profession side of SKDesigns' owner, Shirley Kaiser. Online since 1998, the Web site provides information about Shirley's concerts and workshops, her music, articles on music topics, and sound clips samples and information for Journey Within, a CD of her original music for solo piano.

Special Features

  • Music articles are available online and in downloadable PDF format for offline use
  • Printer-friendly format — CSS provides an especially printer-friendly format that eliminates the need for additional 'print' version pages
  • Three formats of sound clips provide listening samples of Shirley's CD, Journey Within, created by Gordon Burnham
  • User-friendly navigation and information architecture
  • Search engine friendly — design and development optimized for high search engine placement
  • Accessibility-friendly — accessibility to a wide range of browsers and alternative devices
  • Standards compliant — uses the latest W3C Recommendations behind the scenes, including CSS and XHTML, and follows the W3C's WAI Accessibility Guidelines to provide forward, current, and backward cross-browser and cross-system compatibility

About the Latest Design

Launched May 28, 2006, the latest design was inspired by the gorgeous grand piano, inside and out.

To help reflect the pianist and composer aspects of this site, Shirley considered various photos of pianos along with using a music staff somehow for the overall design theme and for the topmast design. Photoshop CS2 info via amazon.com Using one of her photos of piano keys for inspiration, she brainstormed in Adobe Photoshop to create the idea of one long piano keyboard with perspective angles with a sunset-like golden glistening effect that would stretch across and perhaps beyond the entire width of the browser window, depending on the visitor's browser window size. (The original photo was just a few piano keys, as shown in the example below.)

Using parts of this topmast image, she created the top-of-page global Web site navigation to complement this concept and ultimately provide a visual divider between the topmast and the content below. To add the 'composer' aspect, she then created a musical staff to curve across the angled piano keys and around the top-of-page website navigation, as if music was floating out of the keys into the air. The curves in the musical staff also soften the straight lines of the navigation. This curving musical staff is also repeated by itself near the bottom of each page.

Piano keyboard photo, topmast, curved staff lines, final result - examples at one-quarter size, two-fifths size

Then, for the 'ShirleyKaiser.com' logo, Shirley considered the typical beautiful gold piano maker name embossed into the keyboard backboard or along the right side of the piano. Using the sunset-like golden glistening colors from the topmast, the logo was created and added near the top left corner of the topmast image. The final result is shown above in the last image.

Visit the Shirley Kaiser, Pianist, Composer Web site to see all the details.

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