For the past two years I have learned a lot about web design in general and WordPress web design in particular. I demystified HTML and CSS for myself by taking the self-paced courses at Code Academy and then applied what I learned to customize some simple sites.
Through trial and error and a lot of ‘googling’ late into the night, I have taught myself a good amount of web design and WordPress skills.
I learned about the core capabilities of the WordPress CMS by getting a simple hosting account and experimenting. First by migrating my personal blog from WordPress.com to my own hosting and then offering to take on some family and friends as my first clients.
As I gained more confidence, and my commitment grew, I increased my level of investment beyond just owning a hosting account.
- I signed up for the monthly subscription with Adobe and graduated from designing with Gimp to using the professional standards of Photoshop and Illustrator
- I signed up with WPMU Dev and iThemes to access a rich community of knowledge about WordPress and web design. WPMU really opened my eyes about what can be achieved with plugins and iThemes BackupBuddy plugin is a lifesaver
- I invested in three awesome books (WordPress Web Design for Dummies, Web Designer’s Guide to WordPress and Blog Design for Dummies) that have given me more confidence in my foundational knowledge and where I want to focus this journey of discovery
I am now at a place where I have no doubt that I can be an exceptional web designer and a WordPress expert. I know how to get unstuck when I don’t know what I am doing and I have a borderline obsession with figuring out how to make my ideas come to life on the web.
My biggest obstacle is not talent or access to information.
My biggest gap is process.
It takes me too long to go from concept to implementation because I don’t have an orderly approach to my work. At the end of the project I have always produced work that my clients really like but it is sometimes too painful to get to that point.
The “figure-it-out as I go approach” is what has helped me learn as much as I have until now but I think its time to inject a higher level of professionalism and control to my work.
Inspired by Chris Coyier’s exceptional talk below, I realized that what I am missing is my own web design workflow that I can repeat and use to build consistency into my outcomes.
So over the next few months, as I work on my current projects, I will document my best practices on this blog. I know I still have a long way to go towards my goals as a designer, and I am excited because I know that this particular step is going to completely transform my ability to consistently repeat success.