Much to Donna’s surprise, I’ve finished and launched our wedding website. Recently I’ve been collecting things I really want to try out but I’ve been waiting for the right project to come along. Seeing as a website for our wedding is about as personal as projects get, now is the time to buckle down and have some fun.

Designing in the browser

Ever since reading about designing in the browser in Andy Clarke‘s ‘Walls come tumbling down’ slides I’ve wanted to push Photoshop out of my workflow and jump straight into the browser.

The first thing that strikes me is how fast it allows me to work, going from one paper sketch to a working wireframe prototype within a few hours, and I’m able to see what works very early on in the process, something that doesn’t usually become clear until after Photoshop. Iterations and revisions are much easier, meaning that what would usually be major, structural changes take a fraction of the time and effort to complete.

I know skipping Photoshop isn’t for everyone, but my first experience has been so positive, adding an element of freedom I haven’t had in a long time and I can’t wait to work like this again.

CSS 3

Although we have been dabbling with CSS 3 at work for a while now, I often feel tied down by our commitment to legacy browsers and always have to tread carefully when implementing some more ambitious ideas. I’ve designed the majority of this site with CSS 3 in mind; the letterpress effect on the headings, differing levels of transparency and rounded corners are all pure CSS 3 and although not every browser will get the same visual experience, the progressive enhancement built into CSS 3 (pictured) ensures I don’t spend time making sure that the basics are in place universally.

cross_browser_css_3

Progressive enhancement in CSS 3. Left to right: Safari 4, Firefox 3.6, IE8 in Windows 7

IE6 and friends

I decided to forget IE6 during development completely, save for a glance on launch day, just to see what would happen. After all the CSS 3 and reckless behaviour on my part I was expecting to launch IE6 on a test machine and see a complete mess, although surprisingly, apart from two minor bugs (the background of the content areas isn’t showing, and the accommodation entries don’t line up) it’s completely intact. Maybe all those years of coding defensively have hardwired my brain to avoid IE6 bugs.

Still to come

I’ve still got plenty of things I’d like to build into the site later; I’ve got a pretty neat idea for a countdown timer which I will attempt in-between my client work and when we send out our invitations I’m going to implement an AJAX RSVP form.

Overall this has been a really fun personal project that has given me a chance to try out some new things and work in a way I’ve never worked before, I’m really happy with the final result and would love to hear what you think, so love it or hate it, drop me a comment.