I finished the IEMS site and we took it live on Monday. There was a lot of struggling with cross-browser issues (it’s really nice that my copy of Safari 4 is Acid3 compliant, but it makes it all the more frustrating when the other browsers aren’t so good at following the rules)… So it’s still getting polished up.
This was the first job where I provided the client with an estimate, designed and coded an entire website on my own (I’m super proud of the PHP I used in the project, since that was a first for me) and kept track of my hours. I seriously underestimated the time it would take, naturally, but most of the extra time came from fiddling with cross-browser compatibility, not from the actual coding part. Next time I expect to have a much better estimate of time it will take to build a site, and I realized that I should probably be charging more than $15/hr for web design of the level in this project. But Rachel gave me an awesome squishy IEMS ambulance stress toy, so I think it’s worth it. lol. :P
While they always say you learn more from your mistakes, I really appreciated having a project that went smoothly (ok except for the cross-browser problems), and I learned a lot. IEMS was great to work with, the sort of client I think designers love to work with – easy-going, open-minded, but with some jumping-off points of what they wanted at the start of the project. I wish I had budgeted more time to work out browser issues and wrapping up the ends. But with less problems coming up in my work with them, I had more attention for concerning myself with professional details like invoices and so on that I hadn’t had time for in previous jobs. I’m gradually starting to feel more like a professional freelancer…
Here’s the process we went through to get to the final site:
The original site. They liked the site for VT’s EMS, so I used those two sites as the starting point for my designs. I followed up with research into styles and features, sketching, and a wireframe, to produce the following three first-round mockup designs.
And from there it was just coding. Unfortunately there were some issues with the CSS not playing nicely with everything, so the final live version looks different from the final mockup, as you can see: