A familiar face on British TV, he is also a friend. I was excited when he contacted me through Facebook – how lovely to build a website for a mate whose work I really like!
It was an interesting challenge working with a client who’s a couple of thousand miles away in a different time zone (five hours ahead of me), but it actually proved to be surprisingly easy. Through a combination of Skype, email and Twitter direct messaging we were able to communicate and work together really well.
At the beginning of the process Dave gave me a couple of examples of websites that he liked which was great because it very quickly helped me understand what he wanted his website to do and how he wanted it to look. We tried a couple of themes before we settled on eBusiness from Elegant Themes (the Smooth Blue option).
Since Dave’s Twitter presence is so big it was pretty vital we found a decent-looking widget for his tweets. Having played with quite a few I actually plumped for the one that Twitter themselves provide – I tweaked the colours to match Dave’s site. Dave wanted to take this one stage further and produced a page called the Twitter Hall of Fame where he listed his favourite tweets. I produced a simple button to match the look of Twitter under the actual Twitter widget.
Dave wanted to remove the post categories bar (which appeared under the buttons in the original theme – look at my Chihuahua website to see an example where the bar has been left in) and add the categories alongside the static page buttons. Now all the pages and the blog post categories appear as buttons at the top of the page.
I tweaked the coding in the homepage php file so that Dave could have a static welcome message which always appears above his blog posts. We didn’t want a huge logo or big pictures in the header so we decided that something further down the page would be good.
I taught Dave how to use his website over Skype and he’s been really proactive in creating blog posts and pages, embedding YouTube and Vimeo videos, uploading dozens of pictures and asking lots of intelligent questions about how to get the most out of his website. It’s been a fantastically satisfying learning curve for me – Dave is the best kind of perfectionist. He’s pushed me to find ways of making the theme work exactly how he wanted it to. To provide the functionality he needed I’ve discovered better plugins. We’re both really pleased with the end result and I wish him all the best with the success of Dave Schneider.co.uk.
Marilla Wex is the founder and owner of Wex Sites.