Had a lovely informative meeting this morning with HH. She’s been working as a web designer for about two years. Completely self-taught as am I.

She confirmed a lot of things I’ve been doing and pleasantly questioned a couple of approaches I’ve held onto.

First, she approaches web design from a WordPress theme at the start if the process. Meaning, she interviews her client, nails down what sort of functionality they require and what site designs they already like or feel are appropriate to their needs and then finds a theme that most closely mat he’s those needs. The bulk of her time is spent researching themes. It’s a smart way for someone who has no code capabilities (nor interest) to start filling in the blanks.

She mentioned that with every single project there’s some problem solving involved and that she typically learns something every day. This is fantastic to hear as I’ve been learning how to build a theme from scratch—a much more difficult and code reliant method of dealing with WordPress. While I don’t think I can or should step back from the Los Primos challenge, it’s comforting to note that I should be challenged by what I’m trying to do.

Her approach is very pragmatic. She’s not interested in the major code side of things (specifically php). She only learns what she needs to get the site looking how she wants and allows plugins and widgets to do the rest.

“Why reinvent the wheel?”

This means I can take some of the pressure off the students (and myself). If they can learn and understand HTML and CSS, they’ll be fine to rework a Child Theme and thereby give a client the functionality they think they need. I say “think” as, from our meeting today and through the few clients I’ve had, they believe they need the ability to update their site but precious few actually do it regularly.

She also works live on the client’s server to avoid transferring the database from MAMP to the real world. She uses a plugin that creates a “Coming Soon” page. This is a great idea as my first attempt to migrate a site from MAMP to a client server was fraught with difficulties.

Other useful HH tips:

  • AJAX calendar plugin
  • Sidebar plugin
  • Recent Posts Plus
  • Page Links 2
  • Ultimate Coming Soon

About

Rob is a graphic design instructor and practicing designer/illustrator. He likes monsters.

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