How did it go – a small design process of a small business website

First of all I’d like to say I was impressed how everyone put themselves in designing a website for Hill Farm. Each site was different and at the same time each one was really good!

Thank you all for feedback and comments. I will take everything into consideration and make a few changes in a couple of weeks – for now I need a break :)

Here is how my design process went…

INSPIRATIONS

Before I start designing anything, I usually browse websites related to a particular topic.

I found a few articles linking to beautifully designed hotel websites: in Vandelay Design Blog, Webdesigndev Journal and Creative Fan. Obviously some examples repeat in each of them but it’s always useful to look at various galleries.

My favourite hotel websites are: Accommodation Manjimup (clear layout, design associated with villages, nice big images, eye-catching navigation), Trapp Family Lodge (large images, not too much text, everything created on a paper-like background), Jackson Hole Dude Ranch (details related to nature, large and clear top navigation), Visit Snowy Mountains (vivid boxes colours, large buttons).

I also found two websites advertising farms in Cornwall: Hilton Farm Cottages and Bocaddon Holiday Cottages. Both use green colour, horizontal primary navigation and large images.

And when I get stuck having too much information or no ideas in my head, I go for a walk or do something completely different :) Nature and contemporary art help!

LOGO

Creating a logo was a big challenge for me…

The first floral ones didn’t go well with the green background and large main image below. So I decided to use a solid colour instead, still using the same Just Old Fashioned font. Still the effect wasn’t as good as I expected (thanks David for suggesting I should spend more time on my logo).
Finally I realised using too many fonts doesn’t mean the website looks better. That’s why I decided to stick to Verdana as my main font, use Delicious Heavy for the logo and Delicious Italic for the strap line.

Links to nice free fonts available in Smashing Magazine article.

BACKGROUND COLOUR

My background colour is quite vivid. I must say I love playing with colours. That’s why I couldn’t resist styling fonts and background. I do agree the body text is not readable enough, both because of not enough font contrast, and too small line height.
I will look into it in a couple of weeks. Let’s see what can be done to improve readability.

USER FEEDBACK

I’m experiencing some problems with hovered links because not all the styles I applied seem to work… (it also depends on the browser apparently).
Anyway, this is another issue that needs improving.

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