Overall, I feel the project wasn’t a complete resounding success as I’d hoped, but I am happy with the outcome of the work. I may not have managed to build the site at the end, but I am very pleased with the concept I created.
At the start of the project, I got stuck straight into the research and got it out of the way as quickly as possible, so it allowed me to quickly move on the next stage and give me more time to do the rest of the work. This is an improvement from previous projects, as normally I tend to wallow a little bit with the research, and spend more time on it than I need to.
Conversely, time management was one of the main reasons why I didn’t get to the build stage, especially towards the later stages of the project. Over the last 2 or 3 months, the client project I was involved in took up most of my time, which meant this project was put on hold for a while. This is why at the end, there was not enough time left to be able to build the site.
This made me realise that time management is so important, and I cannot afford to take time management for granted. I have learned that I need to manage my time across all projects and not just one. For future projects, I will take what I’ve learned in time management and plan across all of them.
In terms of my design, I’ve always created designs that I like and that appeal to me, instead of how the people I am creating it for like it, or how they need it to be. It was pointed to me that while the research I did in the discovery phase was good, I needed to put this into practice. I always seem to leave the discovery phase behind for when I start designing, but I should be using it to help inform my design, as that is the point of the discovery phase. I also came across a bit of a stumbling block with my design, but this is only because I didn’t use my discovery phase properly to inform my design.
My initial designs were also created before I decided on the colour palette; however, this is bad practice, as the colour palette is part of the discovery phase and should have been done before starting the designs. In the future, I need to fully complete the discovery phase before starting any design work.
For future projects, I’ve learned that I need to effectively use my discovery phase in order to create a more suitable design.
I have learned a lot of new skills and software over the course of this project, too. The use of Balsamiq allowed me to create simple sketch wireframes, to take onto using Illustrator to make them look better and more professional. Its drag and drop interface was very easy to pick up and is something I will use in the future
Invision was a brilliant app to use. It was great for creating a working concept of how the actual site will perform and it also helps to bring a user journey to life. This is also another key thing I’ve learned from this project; a concept is much more important than I thought, because in a design company, it makes a developer’s job easier, as they can use the concept to see how the site should behave and perform, so they can easily implement it into the development and build of the site.
When I look back at the project, and the past year in general, I have learned a whole lot more than I did in the first year. The things I have learned this year will help me greatly in future endeavours, both professionally and academically. When I use my discovery phase properly, the designs I create will be much more suited to my target audience. Once I effectively manage my time, my projects will run a lot more smoothly, and I won’t be panicking at the end of them, rushing to get everything done.
It is a shame that I didn’t manage to build my site, because it feels like I didn’t complete what I set out to do. The project feels a little empty without a final site at the end, but this will only spur me on to do better next time. This year has been a huge learning curve for me, and I look forward to future projects.