Custom Code Written
- 1 customized template
- 500+ lines of LESS
It was beyond time for Phyllis to launch her updated portfolio website. Like many projects for our own businesses do, her site redesign had been puttering along for months, taking a backseat to her client work. She had gotten it mostly built out in SquareSpace over that time, but it still needed a little more finessing before it was ready for launch day.
She just did not have the time to figure out how to get things looking like her mockups, but she needed to have the site launched, like, yesterday.
SquareSpace is always an “interesting” 😉 platform to work with from a developer’s perspective. They heavily restrict what I as a developer can access and change, meaning that I often have to get really creative with styling and scripts to achieve the result the client is after.
Scheduling work was also a challenge here. I did most of the development on this project on a retainer and hourly basis, meaning I had to fit it in around the full custom development project I was working on at the time. I didn’t want to leave Phyllis hanging when she had already waited so long to get the new site launched!
I didn’t have to worry about building out the entire site or inputting content—Phyllis had already done most of that herself—so I did have a leg up on this one right from the beginning. I just needed to make a few tweaks to the “base” that she had carefully crafted already.
I started with the mobile and tablet changes, as I always do (mobile-first development for the win!). I adjusted the page spacing/padding, tweaked the styling of the mobile top bar to more closely match the desktop menu, adjusted some font sizes that looked out-of-proportion, manually moved the breakpoint between mobile and desktop styles to better fit the site content, made the overlay text on the homepage’s top banner truly responsive, and made the homepage’s call to action section truly responsive as well.
I added some special elements to the site that weren’t possible without custom code, like a unique back-to-top arrow; the sunburst detail at the bottom of the top banner on the homepage; a custom hover overlay effect for the gallery images on the Case Studies page; a custom scrolling arrow script that could easily be changed and reused from page to page (seen on the About page below the opening paragraph).
And, finally, I did some more tweaking to the site’s styles: removing the color overlay effect on top banners but leaving it untouched on the homepage; more adjustments to the page spacing/padding for desktop; changing the stubborn tri-color hover effect on the footer social media icons to more closely match hovers around the rest of the site.
All those little changes added up in a big way on Phyllis’ new site, and she was finally pleased enough with it to reveal it to the world. She’s still using her new-and-improved portfolio site in 2019, so it must be working for her! 😉
The client's opinion
Were you skeptical at all before starting the project? If yes, what about?
“In this specific case -- nope. Because we'd had the pleasure of a pre-existing working relationship and I was already extremely confident in your ability to translate my requests into reality.”
What went into choosing the developer you would work with?
“Two things in particular were important about the developer I hired for this project -- 1. That they were comfortable working with a designer like me aka really particular and pixel perfect when it comes to getting my designs translated to code and 2. That they'd demonstrated a high comfort level for working within (and around the limitations of) the SquareSpace platform. I had hired others in the past to do SquareSpace code customizations with very mixed results. I didn't want to see my time and money wasted on someone who couldn't actually do the work I was giving them.”
What was the one most positive thing about working with me?
“You were always so patient with my nitpicky requests and never complained if we had to adjust things 1 or 2px to make it perfect. It makes such a huge difference to work with someone who understands the insanity of that and doesn't make you feel like a burden for wanting it.”
How did it make you feel to outsource the coding so you could focus on the design?
“It's funny, SquareSpace is probably meant to cut down on the need for designers to outsource coding, but in fact, I absolutely LOVE that I can outsource custom coding on SquareSpace as well! I design for a multitude of platforms and while I enjoy the ease of use on SquareSpace to make my own changes without being beholden to a developer, I also love that I can still customize quite a bit on SquareSpace so that it stops feeling like a SquareSpace website. If I can save myself some time and headache by working with a developer on this platform too, then I'm all for it.”
How has working together transformed your business and how you work with your clients?
“I've been so pleased with the results of our working relationship and that you've become one of my go-to developers on WordPress and SquareSpace projects. In the beginning of my business, I felt like I was always hopping in between service providers, trying on different developers on for size, and always finding something lacking. What I really wanted was a partner who demonstrated both a high level of skill for their work, as well as a high level of respect and understanding for working with designers. It was starting to feel like that person was a unicorn until I met you! Now if I get a project inquiry for WordPress or SquareSpace, I don't have to worry about wasting time finding the right developer -- I already have one!”