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Just a few days before christmas we relaunched our own agency website at schwarzdesign.de using ProcessWire! The old Drupal-based site was getting a bit outdated, we wanted to rebuilt it with fewer, more focused content pages, clean & minimalistic design and better performance for mobile visitors. Note that the site copy is only available in German.
After a couple of successful ProcessWire projects such as Engfer Consulting and Joachim Kobuss, we decided to use it for our own site as well, mostly for it's small footprint and developer-focused API.
We also have a dedicated ProcessWire page on our new site, check it out here!
ProFields Automatically Link Page Titles TinyPNG Image Compression Color Tracy Debugger Sitemap Duplicator ALIF - Admin Links In Frontend A focus on content
We went for a minimalistic approach with a limited set of design elements to highlight our content, which is mostly copy about our services and approach to web design. The two-column layout is built with a single Repeater Matrix section with fields for left and right copy, left and right images and a couple of display options for column width and alignment. Other Repeater Matrix types include a full-width image with some additional links (used on the homepage), teaser sections for current news and projects as well as a list of services.
We used dedicated page types (templates) for services, projects and news. This allowed us to use those as taxonomies for our reference projects, and create cross-references to those pages in one go. For this purpose, there's also a dedicated CMS template and pages for all Content-Management-Systems we use, allowing us to categorize our projects and news in regards to the CMS used and show appropriate pages in the recommended content sections.
Server-side, we use the ProcessWire page cache to minimize server response times, as well as Cache-Control headers and GZIP compression to make sure all assets are as lightweight as possible and cached client-side. One problem we had were the large header images requiring transparency. We ended up combining a couple of approaches to minimize image loading times:
SVG assets where possible (for example, all the service pages (Kompetenzen) use SVG for the header images. Responsive images to serve the smallest possible image for each device. PNG compression using the TinyPNG service and the TinyPNG module. This had possibly the highest impact, sometimes reducing the image size by about 80%! Design highlights
One of the adornments of the site are the large, variable sized header images. Position and size can be controlled through the backend: We built display settings for size in viewport width or height, vertical and horizontal alignment as well as optional offsets. The header images are fixed to the viewport, so they always stay in the background. The blurred background uses CSS filters, with a fallback to a simple opacity reduction for older browsers.
As a gimmick, there is a light and a dark theme for the website, the latter being the default. You can switch between themes using the sun icon in the menu. On the technical sides, both themes have their own stylesheets, compiled using the same SASS source files with different variables. Only the active theme's CSS is directly loaded on the site, the other is included as a preloaded asset. The active theme is saved in the session, so it stays active for the duration of the browser session.
For our reference projects (Referenzen), we replaced the background color with the primary color of the project (each project has a color field for that purpose). We determine the luminance of the primary color programmatically to find if the color has higher contrast to black or white, and use the light or dark theme accordingly.
When I ran Google Developers PageSpeed Insights to check out my developed website for performance and improvement I found that my images (thumbnails, backgrounds, etc...) can be compress more than what I have so I look for Image Compression Tools and this what I found http://www.creativebloq.com/design/image-compression-tools-1132865
I hope this helps other too.
I was interested if anyone who's been involved in the web design industry for a while had any pointers or tips to people like me who are at (or near) the beginning of their journey with web design.
Or if not, just share how you got started, things you're happy you did or regret doing.
I'd been in business for a number of years and was working for a hotel in France when we needed a new website. I got fed up hanging around waiting and I was sort of already the "go-to" tech guy (I think almost by default ) so I just thought I'd take a look at this website mumbo-jumbo. My brother has also been a web guy for years and he's always tried to get me involved but I just never got the bug but once I started I was hooked. I was always fascinated by starting with a blank page and I think my favourite moment was when I first saw my code turn into actual content on the web!
That first site I made is still up there despite me having left the hotel a year or so ago and totally blagging my way through building it (Though they should probably change it!). i don't think it holds up too badly all things considered.
It's only in the last month or so after more or less 15 months of constant "learning" that I feel like I've got a grip of enough stuff to build solid websites but I do often envy those guys who've been coding since they were at school!
I'm also finding it quite tough to get new work. I feel like I want to be working for small/medium sized companies who need a web presence but aren't necessarily after a huge site, the problem with this area though is people seem reluctant to spend even 400/500 pounds on a site when they see the likes of Wix and others advertising for next to nothing. I guess it's a case of trying to convince them of the support and flexibility they'd be getting with me.
Anyway, was interested on hearing from some of you guys your stories (if you want to share that is )