Having worked on the front end of large websites, I'm a little more than familiar with databases and server-side scripting languages, but back end site development just isn't my cup of tea. And for the ease of updating, I needed this site's content to be dynamic.
I had tinkered with WordPress and even went so far as to begin building a template but I ultimately decided that the Joomla CMS allowed for a little more flexibility in my site's design.
This site began just as so many of projects do — and that's with a pencil and a sheet of paper. I started by sketching a logo — something to anchor the site's navigation. When I was satisfied with what I had produced, I began to draw the layout. I wanted the site design to be simple, clean, straightforward, and very easy to use.
From there, I rendered the logo in Illustrator and began to develop the site's imagery in Photoshop. When that was finished I sliced the document in Fireworks, and at that point, I began to scour the web for a free template that I could modify to suit my design.
It's funny how many poor templates clutter those free websites. They were obviously made by programmers who really have no business designing anything. And the ones that looked halfway decent weren't compatible with my design.
I had to settle on something that was in the ballpark, but the more I worked on it, the more that template changed, and became my own. That wasn't easy and the process consumed many hours of trial and error.
When I put my mind to it, I've always been something of a quick study. And the more time I spent developing this site, the more comfortable I became with manipulating a Joomla template and its CMS. And while I wouldn't say I've mastered it yet, I certainly have come a long way in just a few short weeks.
The site is still a work in progress. With so much more content to add and subtle design flourishes to come, it could be quite some time before I think of this site as “truly finished“. But the feedback thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, and that, of course, is encouraging.