|This layout was implemented in 2014, but relies heavily on older existing structures.|
For some time now I have wanted to do a total overhaul on Soles of Silk when it comes to its design and structure. To be 100 percent honest, I am a much better designer when it comes to print materials than web. I only learned basic HTML coding and am self-taught in Dreamweaver. I've been using it since it version 1 - when it was owned by Macromedia. Since then, I've learned enough to get by with what I need. The happens of last week, however, just might have forced me to learn something new and might actually be a blessing in disguise!
Early last Wednesday morning, after I published the July 29, 2015 update, Windows had a critical update. Like an idiot I had my Windows updates set to automatic and the computer downloaded the update on its own and restarted. When I tried to use the computer the next day I was greeted by a black screen on start up. Good times!
For the next few days I tried everything I could think of to make the desktop appear once again, but with little to no luck. That's when I decided, on Sunday, to go ahead and back up all my files and do a clean install of Windows 7. The update took some time, so I had nothing better to do that look at some things on my iPhone. That's when I lucked upon a YouTube video talking about Adobe Muse.
|I haven't gotten to play with this amazing looking program... yet!|
Adobe Muse is part of the Creative Cloud, which is Adobe's more recent subscription based service for its applications. Having an older copy of the Creative Suite, I was totally against this new subscription based model. I felt that it was a rip off, and part of me still isn't 100 percent sold on every aspect of how it works. Those complaints, however, are besides the point I'm making here.
Once I saw this video about Muse, I began seeking more. I watched about half a dozen videos on the program and I realized just how much potential the new Creative Cloud might have. I could streamline my work flow and make my designs even better.
Since 2004 I have kept a similar, albeit constantly updated design scheme for Soles of Silk. I've made changes to the navigation, headers, and a number of other aspects to the site. The part that sucks the most is when I have to do a major change on the site - like I did a few times throughout 2014.
Not being trained in all the functionality of Dreamweaver from the start, just learning enough to get going, means I have always had to update each page individually. As you can imagine, with hundreds of HTML pages and thousands of files on the site, that is quite an undertaking. In the back of my mind, I knew there were probably existing ways to do things better, but I was so far along I stayed the course.
So as I sit here writing this, I am downloading programs from my new Adobe Creative Cloud account. I went for the $49.99 a month plan that gives me access to all the programs I previously had (newer versions, obviously) and new ones, such as Muse. I am eager to get in and play with these programs to see just how much faster and more efficient I can make things.
With my current schedule I would not expect to see an all new Soles of Silk in the immediate future. No, I don't have that much free time. I will continue to update Soles of Silk using ongoing methods. Once I am able to get into Muse and play with its functions, I plan on building a second copy, if you will, of Soles of Silk. Each time I update Soles of Silk with a new update, I will also update the new site locally on my computer. When I am able to have everything duplicated into its new format, then it will be uploaded onto the server.
When it comes to changes on the site, it looks like I might be able to implement a number of changes many of you have been wanting to see, as well as a few I've been thinking about. Two of those ideas include:
- Slide Show Galleries - This has been something many people have asked for, including my own models, for a number of years. Not having to click on a thumbnail and then back out to the gallery for each photo would be a welcome change. For years I've wanted to explore this, but knew it would mean a total overhaul of the site. With the way it is currently designed, that would take a lot of work and time. I'm hoping Muse makes this easy.
- Streamlined Navigation - In the videos I watched it looks like Muse does a lot of the manual work of keeping navigation organized and automates it as changes are made. This would mean adding in new sections, or archive pages would become much easier.
Lastly, one of the other amazing functions I saw in Muse was the mobile design ability. Let's face it, I'm 36 and when I learned basic HTML and Dreamweaver on my own, designing sites that worked with cellphones and tablets was not a thing. Soles of Silk does indeed show up on phones, but eventually I'd like to come up with a simplified version of the site for ease of use. This, however, will come after a new desktop version of the site goes live and works as planned.
I will be sure to keep everyone in the loop if/when any changes are being made. You probably already saw some changes to the site over the last couple of weeks. Those were done using the current, tedious method. I really can't wait to dive into Muse and hope it's everything I hope it will be. Until then, I'd love to hear some of your thoughts, suggestions, ideas for Soles of Silk. Is there features you think could be improved? How about things you really enjoy and want to make sure don't change much, if at all? Right now, I'm open to ideas.