Learning and Growing
We ask ourselves a lot of questions. How can we use language and workflow that are clear and concise? How can we harmoniously balance our clients’ vision and goals for their websites with our technical and online marketing experience? How can we be sure we are communicating clearly? How can we ensure that we meet or exceed our clients' expectations about cost, deadline and deliverables? Well... just like everything else, it’s a process. Each project that we complete give us another layer of understanding and positions us for even greater success.
Recently, I interviewed Lisa Dubin, a prominent New York City architect and designer. We launched Lisa’s website (http://www.lisadubinarchitect.com) in July 2009 and have been working with Lisa since then. I did a Q&A session with her to get an idea of what worked and what could have worked better.
M&W: What motivated you to build a new web presence?
Lisa Dubin: Everyone asked me about my website. I knew that unless I had one I was going nowhere with business. That was the only way to be competitive with other businesses.
M&W: What were you inspired by? What was your vision?
Lisa Dubin: I thought about the website in terms of how I do my work; I wanted neutral colors and a simple and modern layout. I had envisioned a particular animated introduction, but when I discussed it with McCormick & Winter, they had some hesitations about the implementation so we worked together to come up with another concept.
My initial vision was of a block that came from nothing and continued to grow organically. I had wanted the block to be a specific proportion but there were user interface issues with that for the web. I think that [translating from print to web] can be a problem for people who are design-oriented.
M&W: What type of image were you trying to portray?
Lisa Dubin: My clients are mostly high-end apartment or second home owners. I wanted the website to show that I could be both modern and responsive. I wanted it to look like I could do any type of project that the client might want.
M&W: How did the development process go?
Lisa Dubin: The process was pretty good, though I didn’t know exactly what some things, such as the the speed of the animation, were going to look like in the finished site. I didn’t realize that page layouts could change so much based on the content of the page. For example, I couldn’t use the same layout that I wanted for my Publications page onced I wanted to add more than the three that I started with originally.
M&W: What kind of user decisions did you make (screen size, browser resolution)?
Lisa Dubin: We talked a lot about screen size and browser resolution. It was important to me to that my site was above the fold on a 15” Macbook. Also, I wanted Flash for its animation effects, but now with the iPads, we need to work on the non-Flash styling.
M&W: What did you learn during the process?
Lisa Dubin: I learned a lot about computer settings.
M&W: What feedback on your website have you received from visitors?
Lisa Dubin: For the most part, people tell me that the website is beautiful.
M&W: What did you think about entering in a Maintenance Agreement with M&W after the site was launched?
Lisa Dubin: My initial reaction was, what do I need this for? At first, I thought the website would be set in stone. Now I realize that it changes and that is where the maintenance plan becomes important.
M&W: Was search engine optimization important to you?
Lisa Dubin: It was the whole purpose for me -- to be out there for people to find me who didn’t necessarily know me.
M&W: What goals do you have for the future of your website?
Lisa Dubin: I’d like to add more to the in-progress section and add a blog.
M&W: Do you work directly with the content management system?
Lisa Dubin: No, McCormick & Winter does that. I don’t have a clue about how it works. I think that young people who are more technologically savvy are more interested in that. For me, and people my age, it's intimidating.
M&W: Overall, how was working with McCormick & Winter?
Lisa Dubin: You managed the whole process very professionally. I tell everyone that you are very supportive for people like me who are not so comfortable with technology.