The 30-Day Web Design and Development Challenge, part 1

The 30-Day Web Design and Development Challenge, part 1

 

web design and development challenge

Yesterday was my birthday (yep, I’m a Leap Year baby). To celebrate, I’m going to redesign maryshaw.net from the ground up starting today and launch by March 31. I’m giving myself 30 days to complete this project from start to finish.

Why Am I Doing This?

Last year I wrote a blog post asking if UX designers needed to learn coding skills. Since then I’ve realized it’s more important than ever, so I need to walk my talk.

I also have a portfolio problem. Most of my UX projects involve non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). That means I can’t feature them here. Even though I’ve worked with many Fortune 500 clients, I can’t show you anything. That’s frustrating.

There’s also another reason. Besides UX/UI design, I want to offer clients WordPress web design and development services without having to outsource. To do that I need to round out my skills and build up my portfolio. Clients will benefit from working with a one-stop shop and I’ll still have the option to outsource if necessary.

A Catalyst For New Skills

I’ve taken several web design and development courses but have always struggled to finish them. I either get too busy or stuck on something I don’t quite understand.

My goal for this 30-Day Web Design and Development Challenge is to finally redesign this website myself and start building my WordPress portfolio. By declaring my intention publicly, I’m making myself accountable to really get it done. Maybe it will also inspire you to finish an important personal project.

How Will It Work?

The 30-Day Web Design and Development Challenge will follow Brad Hussey’s Ultimate Web Designer and Developer Course on Udemy. With over 30 hours of content, it’s the most comprehensive online course I’ve seen to date.

I’ve reviewed it from start to finish already, but haven’t completed all the exercises yet. And honestly, I feel a bit intimidated by the whole thing.

What I like about it is that it covers the entire design and development lifecycle. The design section has a great overview of the fundamentals and offers several hands-on exercises with Photoshop.

But most of the course is heavy on web development. It goes deep into front-end technologies including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery and Bootstrap. Once that’s done it’s time to move on to back-end programming, including PHP, MySQL and WordPress theme development.

One of the big challenges in the course is to redesign a blog or website from scratch. Lord knows this site could use a good makeover, so this project will make a great case study.

Web Design and Development Challenge Process

I’m going to approach it just like a client project and document the journey from start to finish. As a best practice, I’ll follow the classic “4Ds” of Discovery, Design, Development and Deployment.

Starting with the Discovery phase, I’ll establish site goals, clarify who my ideal clients are, who my competition is and how I plan to differentiate and reach my intended audience.

From there I’ll start to sketch out the design on paper and eventually move on to Photoshop. Once that’s done I’ll be ready to code up the site. I’m sure things will change a bit as I go along, and then it will be time to test and launch!

Ready, Set, Go!

I’m really excited to get started and hope you will benefit by following along with me. I have been putting off this site redesign for over a year now, so it will be very satisfying to see the new site finally go live.

And, I’m sure I’ll make plenty of mistakes along the way. But that’s the only way you learn, right?

All Talk Or All Walk?

So now comes the hard part. It’s easy to say you’ll do something. It’s quite another to actually do it. I’ve started lots of side projects that eventually fell by the wayside when I got distracted by other things. I don’t want that to happen this time.

It’s necessary to do this project around existing work and family responsibilities. That means I’ll have to figure out how to really stay focused.

And that’s why it’s good to blog about it. The gauntlet is thrown. Now we’ll see what really happens.

What About You?

Have you ever done anything like a 30-day challenge to motivate yourself to learn new skills? How did it go? What did you learn? What were the roadblocks? Please discuss in the comments.

If you liked this post, please share it. As always, thanks for reading!

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  1. The 30-Day Web Design and Development Challenge, part 2 - March 8, 2016

    […] to part 2 of The 30-Day Web Design and Development challenge. In part 1 I threw down the gauntlet and announced I was redesigning this website. In this post I’ll review […]

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