Project Review: Dean Letts Portfolio & Blog

View website: Dean Letts Portfolio & Blog

As I am finishing up this site I thought I would write a short review about the project, and of course give my friend some exposure at the same time. I think writing reviews on future projects is a good idea too, kind of like a self evaluation.

Dean’s new portfolio and blog web site actually looks better than mine! Though this has always been inevitable, as I discover new technology, software and resources and as I learn more about them, it’s only natural that my next project or web site will be better than what I’ve made previously. There are actually a number of things that made this project really good and it was not only the resources provided and used, but the site had a pretty clear goal which really helped in saving time in decision making situations.

I’m no design nerd, I’m actually better at the programming. Give me what you want the site to look like and I can make it. However I think the look of the site turned out good. Most notable is the “Portfolio” section, which is the main purpose of the site. The WordPress theme I used had a built in way of making a portfolio page and for what Dean does, the way it manages portfolio entries is perfect. With the portfolio being the main focus of the site, I wish I could have found a way to make the home page reflect this idea a little better, but I don’t think it turned out too bad. Keeping sliders to a minimum is always a better idea, but I think the pictures of Dean at work add a bit of personality to the page. I took some time in getting a logo up too because again, design isn’t my strong suit, especially not with images. I don’t care if the logo might look cheesy either 😛

The theme I used had a lot of customization options built in to the back end of WordPress. It’s not entirely perfect and certain things, such as shortcodes I had to look up in documentation, instead of it being part of the GUI of the options, but otherwise a relatively easy theme to work with. I made code changes by making a child theme and most things were editable, but I felt like it was a bit clunky in allocating the right files to edit when making certain changes. For example, the social icons on the top right of the site had to be edited in the parent theme itself. I have no problem with doing this, but when best practices usually state it’s a good idea to use a child theme, it should be made easier to work with and I think that’s mostly the theme’s fault. One final complaint about this theme is that I’m not sure on how good the SEO features are, if there are any. Other than that, this is actually a really great theme with lots of features. I might use it again, but I’ll also look into other themes with similar functionality.

Overall this is the best project I have worked on to date. I learned a lot about WordPress I didn’t know, especially in establishing best practices for certain tasks. I think the site turned out great and of course, the client (yeah I called you that :P) is very happy with the end result.

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