Since my initial briefing with Anna, at Paddles swimming in the summer of 2015 . . . . the final completion of this website has been a while in coming . . . .
. . . . but I am pleased to be able to show it to you all now.
It’s a fun friendly website for swimming lessons for disabled children . . . .
. . . and it’s run by . . . . . wait for it . . . . .
none other than top Paralympics swimmer and MBE Matt Walker.
This project had come via my colleagues at DBN, who had already had a bit of a chat about their website function requirements . . . . .
. . . so my job was to get down to the nitty-gritty of making the front end of this friendly website look great.
Arranging a meeting during school summer holidays means accommodating my 2 boys . . . . .
however, the lovely people at Paddles obviously deal with children all the time so bringing my own kids to a briefing meeting was not a problem for Anna.
She couldn’t have been sweeter . . . . . and my kids loved her, and we had a great family friendly website meeting.
friendly website – briefing meeting
We met at the kids friendly Amerton Farm and in the Tea room and she brought them coke and J20 to keep them quiet . . . . .
. . . . while she and I chatted about her ideas.
They already had a logo . . . . . (done by a friend) who had used a fish picture and added a paddle.
It was a bit DIY, but nothing that I could not improve.
So the friendly website . . . . . they wanted an animation of their fish paddling it’s way across the screen . . . . .
they’ve done a lot of preparation work which was nice and refreshing to see and I made lots of notes.
Anna then even gave my boys £5 to spend before she left . . . as they had been so good sitting quietly while we had our meeting.
SO now it was my turn to sit quietly . . . . . .
friendly website – getting creative
. . . . and while they chased around the big play barn . . . . . I sketched out ideas for friendly website designs around what Anna and I had discussed.
Not sure what it was about the noisy play area . . . . . or maybe it was the diversity of the project. . . . but I got loads of fantastic ideas and I sketched and wrote notes a plenty . . . .
. . . and then with my ideas all safely recorded in my notebook I could enjoy the rest of the day with my kids at the farm.
The first thing I do when I start back at my computer is look at the fonts. . . .
Following the friendly website theme . . . . . it’s not corporate . . . . . and it’s for children so they wanted something friendly and a nice lighthearted typeface that looked like it might have been written by a child . . . . .
. . . . . . It does however still need to have an element of professionalism about it and be easily readable
Starting with a search of handwritten styles, I was delighted to find something that seems to fit the “friendly website font” bill perfectly . . . . not too formal not to script . . . .
to a little bit loose but still legible when presented in a paragraph format.
Next step . . . recreating the logo.
The files that they supplied was quite a low quality JPEG so I re-drew this completely in its entirety in a vector based software. . . . .
. . . created my own colour-blend . . . . . recreated the fish’s fin and saved a selection of high resolution print and web artwork files for when they needed a logo to use for other marketing collateral.
Anna was excellent at providing content, when I asked her . . . . . which some clients seem to under-rate,) based on how difficult it is to get them to supply it) . . .
. . . . . but it’s like I’ve said before you can’t bake a cake without the ingredients . . . .
It’s also kind of like building a house . . . . . if you don’t know how many people are going to be living there you don’t know how many bedrooms to put in!
OK so you remember I said that Paddles had asked if we could make their fish swim across the top of the page . . . .
. . . “no problem” said Dennis, the webmaster . . .”design away”
Ok so let’s make the surface of the water near the top of the page . . . and have the fish paddling across.
and put the header information above the water . . . . . and everything else . . . . . the content of each web page should be below the water.
With the help of my favourite image library . . . who (at the time) had a “download 5 images for $0.99” offer for new clients. . . . .
I created a realistic watery surface for the fish to travel along, and added an under the sea background . . .
I placed the paddles fish swimming within it in various directions, carefully positioned away from text areas.
Paddles had also asked that the menu buttons be made to look like bubbles . . . .
(similar to the style in the logo, where each bubble contains a letter to spell the word disability.)
. . . . and they also provided plenty of photographs of the children having fun in the swimming pool . . . .
. . . . . . . plus a set of photographs of the teaching staff all against the same background (brilliant consistency and professionalism).
friendly website – information
Next stop . . the basics . . . what . . . who . . . . when . . . .where . . . information . . . and how to present it.
Website visitors to any site are generally looking for more information . . . which when placed as blocks of paragraphed text can be a bit cumbersome and uninviting to read . . . .
. . . and with the friendly website theme in mind it felt even more significant that this should translate to the user experience too . . . .
. . . . meaning the design needed to make it really easy and quick to answer those basic visitor questions. . . . .
For my user friendly website format I chose to present the text on the homepage as a list of FAQ / FACTS with a toggle down option for the user to quickly find the specific information they need.
This allows for plenty of content within this site . . . . . but you are not bombarded with a daunting paragraph of text to read . . . . .and you can pick and choose the sections relevant to you
which leaves plenty of space for those all important friendly website pictures . . . . . to do their “ I’m better than a thousand words” thing.
Creating this friendly website design was really enjoyable to do . . . . . something a little bit different where I could let my hair down a little bit and be extra creative.
This screenshot shows the paddles fish half way into his journey across the page.
Anna and the team were really happy and then Dennis at DBN did his wonderful job of turning my flat designs into an interactive and functional friendly website. . . . .
. . . and just in case you were wondering . . . as with all our sites . . . . it is a tablet and phone friendly website too. (responsive).
if you live near Leek in the ST13 area and you’re looking for someone to give your disabled kids that extra bit of confidence then check out Paddles . . .
(remember one of the coaches is a paralympian)
. . . . . OR if you want your own friendly website, that’s coded with exemplary skill . . . then you know where to come.
A friendly website chat and quotation is completely free and with no obligation so you have nothing to lose.
This blog is created and written entirely by Linda Wild
Thanks for reading.