I’m unbelivably excited to finally be able to write this post – my website redesign has been over 5 years in the making, and now it’s ready to launch! Just for kicks, let’s take a look back over the history of the PlanetJune website that brought us to this point:
In January 2009, I made PlanetJune my full-time job and redesigned my homepage so it matched my blog (below, right) instead of looking like a random hobby site (below, left):
I started working on my logo design, but got stuck, and it took another 3 years before I came up with my logo and put it up on the blog:
Before logo (above) and after (below)
And then I stalled again – although it’s bugged the perfectionist in me to know how disjointed the rest of my site was, my life has been a non-stop rollercoaster ride for the past 2 years, and I just haven’t the time to do anything about this. But now, with my new crochet book launching, completing this redesign is my opportunity to let my work finally speak for itself.
Today marks the culmination of a 5 year journey from becoming a serious business owner to creating a website that actually reflects that.
Here’s the all-new and much improved homepage! I’ll show you a screenshot below, but please do click through to see it in its full glory – it’s big and bold and I love it.
I didn’t design this entirely alone – although I built everything myself, I did invest in design consultations with a professional web designer (Brandi at aShadow) who was absolutely invaluable. The basic layout and all the nice visual touches on the homepage came from Brandi’s ideas, and I’d probably still have been staring at a blank page without her creative input! Consulting with an expert was also a great way to find out about some new css and jquery tricks that weren’t around the last time I did this kind of web dev work, without having to put in all the research hours myself.
Once I finalised the new homepage design, I overhauled the rest of the site to match. The new PlanetJune layout is wider, with my name at the top of every page (as it should be!) and the page title moved to below the menu bar instead. I’ve dusted off my web developer hat and built some new pieces and pages that bring all the disparate pieces of the site together more closely and reinforce the PlanetJune identity, with the same header, top menu bar, and new bottom footer menu on every page of the site, and a ‘Quick Links’ sidebar on the left (everywhere except the homepage and the shop).
I then used my web usability experience to make the site easier to use: you can login to your PlanetJune account from anywhere on the site (instead of having to go to the shop first); and I’ve tweaked the menus so the multitude of confusingly different things I have to offer are organised by what you’d like to do:
- Buy (pattern shop, commissions, buying toys from PJ sellers)
- Learn (tutorials, free patterns, punchneedle info)
- Info (blog, FAQ, pattern user licence, pattern catalogue)
- About (my bio, testimonials, publications, my art projects)
- Follow (social media and other places to find me online)
I think that makes at least some sense, and it’s definitely clearer than before! (Even I didn’t know where to look in the old menus…)
My website may not be perfect – and the shop, in particular, still needs more work when I have time – but I hope it accomplishes my goals for this project:
- To make every page instantly recognisable as part of PlanetJune
- To make it clear what I offer and let you find those things more easily
I hope you agree! This has been a massive but rewarding undertaking; I’m pretty proud of myself for accomplishing this. I think it makes a huge difference to my website, and I really hope you’ll enjoy the improved PlanetJune experience. Please do let me know what you think of it in the comments…
By the way, I’ve tested everything as much as I can, on as many devices as possible, but, please, if you see anything strange, broken, or confusing as you travel around PlanetJune in future, do let me know so I can fix/improve it – thanks!