Ashley M. Lehmann

Audio Engineer/ Vocalist/ Songwriter

Category: Web Design

Musical Before and After

In searching for good and bad web design, I tried to remember a time when I’d been frustrated by a website design.  The first thing that comes to mind is the WXPN mobile site because you can’t get to all of the menus that are on the full version of the site.  I think NPR’s website might be like that too.  Anyway, despite those issues, they mostly serve the intended purpose – convey information about the radio station and current events in a digestible fashion. Here are a couple of screenshots of wxpn.org:

Not terrible, but still a little busy and a bit overwhelming if you’re just looking for the most recent song played.

In a similar vein, I’d like to explore a before and after. Being a musician, I’m alway curious about opportunities to get involved in projects with other musicians. So when I discovered Meridee Winters School of music, I was intrigued, despite the outdated website.

I read about the school on the Facebook page and in a job posting, and it seemed like a place that was making a difference in music education in the community, which incredibly important to me.  So I thought to myself, why does an institution that seems to have so much going for it still use this website. It is so cluttered with information, pictures, and graphics, how would one know where to begin? The pictures on the top of the page are even part of a rotating slideshow of student and teacher photos. This presentation lessened my confidence in a company of which I’d previously had no knowledge. So, I was very pleased to see that they released a new website within the last month or so.  It is leaps and bounds ahead of its previous incarnation.  The new site has a clearer overall message as soon as you see it -“In-Home Music Lessons,” so right away you know the main service this company provides. Should you explore the other tabs, a wealth of information waits for you, but it is all neatly organized into categories and doesn’t bombard you with pictures of every student. I think this is a good example of a website relaunch because it captured the carefree spirit of the school while also conveying the necessary information in a visually appealing way.

Trial and Error

In attempting to customize my process blog page, I’ve made some interesting changes.  I found a theme that was more customizable and still looked like something I would be able to change in a way that would keep it functional. Beyond this process blog, the site needs to function as a portfolio site, so I made changes with that in mind.  Here is where I started:

I used the Lovecraft theme, added a few widgets, and changed the accent color. I think it looks clean, professional, and serves the purpose of process blog and portfolio.

My attempts to customize the page have not been as fruitful as I had hoped. Here is the first thing I tried:

That theme is called “Ajiara,” and while I liked that it was a bit more customizable, it still wasn’t meeting all of my needs.  Things I did like about it were that it had an option for a video in the header of the main page and the clear presentation of the menu bar. I’ve been having trouble finding and resizing images to fit the headers for different themes, so that’s frustrating as well. I’m also pretty sure it was this theme in which I was unable to choose truly custom color combinations or change the font colors in a way that would create a pleasing yet readable experience. So I moved on to a third theme.

This theme is called “Lyrical,” and it’s a GoDaddy theme.  It also has the video option for the homepage, which I think is an advantage for someone like me who has video content to share. It is also much more customizable than the other themes I’d been using.  It allows me to experiment with a more colorful and artistic aesthetic, which feels more authentic.  However, I think it still needs some work to make it as easy to read and navigate as the original Lovecraft theme was.  So, I’ll be continuing to work out the kinks this week and as we progress through the course.

Adventures in Web Design

Hello and thank you for reading!  I’m creating this new page as a process blog for my first course in web design as I pursue my Masters of Science in Interactive Media through Quinnipiac University. If you’ve read my more formal bio, you know that music and the arts have been a huge part of my life thus far. My bachelor’s degree is in music with a concentration in Sound Engineering Arts.  I’ve been working as an audio engineer in radio and audio books since I graduated in 2008.  During that time, I’ve also been very active in music.  In addition to singing in choirs in New York and New Jersey, I also write and record pop-folk tunes.  In 2015, I formed the band, All Night Drivers, to continue my growth as a musician and songwriter.

In 2014 I discovered the strange and wonderful world of youtube. I created a vlog channel to document my observations as a musician, music fan, and life-long learner.  Since starting that channel my interest in visual media has continued to grow. In creating the video blog, I discovered that I had a lot to learn and began exploring ways to gain the knowledge and skills to create better video and web content. I hope that in completing this coursework, I will acquire the skills necessary to bring my vision of an interactive music history and appreciation curriculum to life.

As previously mentioned, this page will be a home for my first formal explorations in web design techniques.  If that’s something that piques your interest, I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

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