Glue Gun Crafts: A Web Design Case Study
Web Design Stuck in the Past
The old Glue Gun Crafts site was perfect…. when it was created, ca. 2005. It was right up there with the current trends, and faithfully served Craftzilla for 3 years. But it was time for a makeover in 2008.
The problem: The screencap at the left shows a major issue on the old homepage. The featured article had a one-size-fits-all approach. Text flowed over the featured image. And only certain types of posts could be spotlighted, cutting flexibility down even further.
The solution: A standard image size and treatment, spotlighting the most recent post (from any category). We chose not to display any extra text there, instead linking to the full article.
Ingenious Research Solves Sticky Usability/Aesthetics
Now that we identified the problem, it was time to start the re-design process. Inspiration came from browsing magazines and talking with Craftzilla, who knew pretty specifically what she wanted. We ended up with a list of goals (ie: wider design, new color scheme, etc), but we wanted to do more than update the old site design. We wanted to inject some new life into it and provide a stunning backdrop for the articles, while still showcasing to perfection the subject matter: glue!
Upon putting together a color palette, we went on a shopping spree at the craft store. We got way more than we could ever use, but it was still within our budget. For the really decorative ribbons, we purchased only the minimum amount required (3 inch lengths). Knowing that a graphic-intense site design would require significant image tiling with css (if you don’t know what that is, click here for a primer), we only needed small pieces anyway. Then we found some textured papers, stickers, and rub-on designs. The designs themselves were more important than the colors, since Photoshop can easily change the hue.
The next step was scanning in all this new collateral. At this point, we only had a very vague idea of what the design was going to look like. This site didn’t require tireless pre-planning and sketching of designs. In fact, for such a homemade, crafty site, the less perfect it looked, the better!
Slowly a cohesive design emerged. Creativity was used to showcase glue in tasteful, charming little touches throughout the site.