Interview with my “Client”

Okay, so when I told Curt it was time for the client interview he rolled his eyes.  Great start!  After 34 years of marriage we have a bad track record of critiquing each other’s stuff, so he was understandably nervous.  He didn’t relax until I told him I was thinking of throwing this whole site out and starting over.

The first thing he did was to minimize the whole screen so it went from that  ……. to this, so that he could see the whole thing.  Interesting.  Men are from Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 9.50.58 AMMars, right?  What that told me is that I really need to make the black stripe at the top smaller and maybe get ridScreen Shot 2014-12-06 at 9.52.52 AM of the logo, or put it at the bottom, so that the viewer could see more of the screen.  It also told me I had a fixed page.

Then he asked about the side bar.  He really didn’t understand that each line was a link to be clicked on.  The template in wordpress gives it a green color—I think I can change that to blue, but he wants a button format.  Hmmmm.  At the very minimum he wants ticks so folks know it’s a list and then the words:  click here or something.

He liked the video, but said it didn’t match the mission statement right above it and that I needed a different video or picture to go with the mission statement.  (I don’t have one).  So he offered to film me the next time I’m teaching.

That brought up a whole new topic for him.  He asked me what the purpose of the site was?  (I said he should tell me because he’s the client, but that didn’t fly.)  I said it was to drive business to us.  He said then I needed to just have business stuff in it and not bioshelter stuff.  I was really happy he said that because I own two web sites: and and I half own  He said that I should separate the consulting, teaching, and community building from the historical house.  I can link to it from, but I should not try to put both things in one web page.  I agreed and wrote those ideas down.  I asked him where food should go and he said it should probably go under community building.  Nice.  I like it.

He stopped to feel guilty that he’s telling me all this stuff right when it’s due, but I encouraged him to continue.  It was no big deal and it was really helpful to hear what he thinks.  (He is funding the business until it really starts going, after all.)  As we moved on, he told me to get rid of the silly bubbles that floated down the side!  I agreed.

We went to the workshops and courses page.  He said it was okay that the side bar followed as long as the top nav bar also followed and it did. Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 10.08.04 AM He liked the picture and thought it was fine that the links were under the photo instead of on top of it.  The links aren’t done and I plan to use jQuery for that later today, I think.

So I have my work cut out for me today.  I’m going to change this site.  What I really want to do is to create a fluid template to use, but then I have to learn how to upload my own template to wordpress and that, I think, is too much for today since it’s due at midnight.  Maybe I can learn that for my final??? Or how to move something from the Uni’s server to my own web space???

So, I think I covered what I learned, but what would I tell future students?  Hmmm.  I guess I would say that this is not an instant gratification class.  You have to hold that marshmallow all semester in order to get another one (see video).  I am not that patient.  I want it all NOW!

I think I would teach it backwards (probably because of my learning style) so that I had a template I could plug things into and see immediately.  Maybe that template would be introduced in Week 3 or something.  That would mean teaching Text Wrangeler first.  I think I would also just pick one for everyone to use (mac version and PC version), that way you would eliminate a lot of time searching around for something you like.  I wasted WAY too much time on that.

I would also make them pick a web page they want to design and just make it one track.  Merge the assignments (they pretty much are already because of the 2 assignments A and B) into designing for someone or some organization.  Warn them that it’s too hard designing for yourself—it takes way too much time.

I think I would not allow students to use Word Press or any other template at all, unless it’s only to blog about how each class went.  That way you could listen for frustration levels, etc.  At the end of the class you could have folks do an extra credit wordpress page.  Note:  I may be saying that because I already know wordpress, well, sort of.

I do appreciate the discovery learning style that all good teachers know is valuable.  I think the best one of that was when we looked at all the web sites.  In fact, that could be the very first assignment!  So people like me see what really looks good and don’t get carried away with every single bell and whistle that moves (note my cool sidebar).  I also like the amount of choice there is—but really it’s too much for people with little or no knowledge.  It’s almost like you need to teach this as a tic tac toe class where the basics are on top and then there are more advanced alternatives below each one for more accelerated students.  There’s a word for that, but it escapes me.  I always didn’t like that because smart kids would always choose the easy stuff and not challenge themselves.  But adults???

Well….I’m stalling.  Off to the coal mines!  I think I see a bird gasping for breath down there!  🙂