Web Designer, WordPress Developer, Navigation Architect, Programming Contractor
Beate Kirmse is an art gallery owner in San Pedro, CA who wanted to create an online catalog of her artists and provide online purchase inquiry capabilities for their artwork. She also wanted to create an online community for gallery visitors with a news section featuring regional art events. The site plan was extensive, on par with many commercial arts websites, and was modeled after British site murmurART. This site provided unusually extensive search capabilities such as artwork dimensions, predominant color, price, and image zooming and panning, like many e-commerce fashion sites.
I created the site’s graphic design and wireframe navigation plan incorporating JQuery overlays, accordion search constraints, and integrated purchase inquiry forms. Design was heavily informed by knowledge of the capabilities of existing WordPress plugins and focused on facilitating a simple viewing and purchase inquiry experience for the prospective buyer. Page mockups and initial html versions of the pages were created. The site was implemented in WordPress, which had released a substantial update with version 3.0 while we were designing the site. I found programmers from PixelJar to implement plugin customizations at the yearly international WordCamp in San Francisco. They implemented the designs for the final site.
This site was intended as a portal for arts information as well as being a portfolio for the gallery’s artists. The client was heavily inspired by UK art site “murmurART,” hence the site incorporated many e-commerce features not often found in the gallery world. Navigation design focused on three primary user scenarios; first-time gallery visitor, prospective art buyer, and art news reader. The challenge was to create a satisfying simple path that allowed the prospective buyer to view multiple artworks and send an inquiry referencing the items in the online catalog. Off-site exhibitions and group shows for the artists also had to be accommodated by the catalog, and on-site feature articles and off-site media coverage about the artists had to be easily navigable within the site.
Design was heavily informed by knowledge of existing plugin capabilities, WordPress functionality, and theme construction. JQuery accordion sorting and overlay image display were used to simplify the purchase inquiry process for the prospective buyer. The wonderful programmers from PixelJar modified a contact form plugin to achieve these ends, and ultimately constructed the final pages for the site. Unfortunately, a good portion of the typographic design was discarded in this final phase of the project.