BOYD 2019 WEBSITE PROGRESS REPORT
The Week of Jun 3-7
Wednesday June 4
Jen asked me to provide more details, such as what photos have been loaded and what needs to be loaded,etc.
Currently, while I am working with the website, I am uncovering things are not showing up, or they are not showing up where they are supposed to show up. Every product entry has scraped images from our current site. The scraped images, for the most part, are smaller dimensions than what we need for the new site. So I am in editing mode on how the products are looking on each fixture page.
Currently, in the website media library, there are the current tear-sheets and technical PDF’s.
The 2019 product photos from David are being uploaded as soon as he has edited them.
From our current website, the data scrape grabbed the old Classic and NewBoyd photos along with all the installation photos. Most of these images need resizing for the larger image blocks. I am deleting the images that are not going to be suitable for the look of the new site. When I find an image that needs reformatting, I replace it with a larger updated image. In some cases, I have adjusted the white balance to change some of the beige-like backgrounds to grey. I am not doing major surgery. These are quick photo edits. Click on the images below to see the before and after.
For the classic fixture pages, I am only using the original tear-sheet image. If we are still going with the white background, these updated classic images will look a lot better. The updated images in the larger image blocks of Grant’s design make the Classics, quicker and easier to digest, It’s a stronger selection. We all agree that we have a wide range of image qualities. If we continue with the dark site and replace the backgrounds of all the old images, then we are committing ourselves to a particular style and look.
I am going through these images product by product. If there is another angle or important detail image then I will include them in the image stack as well. At the same time, I am checking and rechecking the product info. This part of the edit is tedious, at the moment, because there are a lot of fields that are incorrect or redundant. Studio 678 is close to being finished but they are still in building mode.
Content that we need as soon as possible:
the new header image for the Home Page.
content images for the front panels on the Home Page and their link destinations for the new home page stack.
Page designs needed from Grant :
The Collections (submenu) pages this page can be a template for future designer series, families,
or any other grouping of related fixtures.
The Resources page - a link page containing Look-books and Catalogs for the general public
The Showrooms page - like the David Alexander Page (temporary)
The Company / About page -
The Contact page - most likely a form like our current contact.
Monday June 3rd
This morning, I sent a punch list of issues to Mike and the team on Basecamp. There's a lot of cleaning up that needs doing. It's a big list. I had a phone meeting with Mike to discuss. He told me that it would take two or three days to complete. Mike and I discussed our deadline, which has been June 10th for a while now. Mike says that his team is still going for that. I appreciate that, but in reality, I am going to say that it will be June 15th. This is going to allow us to have more time to proof and correct any issues or omissions.
I intend to have the front of the site cleaned up and working for the launch. The front-facing features shown in the best light. No dead links, no quirky behavior. I am focused on what needs to seen, what needs to be in place. Some of the pages will continue to evolve after the launch. Pages like the "Company" page, for instance, will launch as pages that will be lighter than what it will be later. I will get back to you on this when I know more.
This afternoon, Aaron Gobler installed the core updates to Boyd's current site. He sent a note saying that he is preparing to copy the site to the new server tomorrow. Aaron will start building and re-skinning the Rep Intranet and order tracking pages. I will have an image of this for us to discuss in a day or so.
Mike Waters called this afternoon. He said that he had an encouraging meeting with the rest of the Studio 678 team. They have been working on a local version of this site. They have switched the background from dark to white. Mike says that the site will be finished on Friday. Then we will proof it and make corrections in preparation for the launch.
THE WEEK OF MAY 27th - 31st
On Monday, Jen submitted her layout ideas for the Home page based on the meeting with the 4 of us on the 21st. We are using the same Home Page as the original design but we are altering the content to show editorial links as well as links to the new fixtures and the fixture pages.
NEW BOYD HOMEPAGE
These are Jen’s ideas for homepage blocks that can link to blog posts or fixture pages. There are eight blocks, four of which are fixture-focused and can be re-ordered to give each new fixture exposure at the top of the page.
Please note these imperfections:
Photos have not been edited and might appear blurry
Some text is a placeholder
Horizontal lines are not consistent in size
The red you see is not the EXACT red we will be using
AS YOU SCROLL DOWN THIS PAGE, IMAGINE YOU ARE SCROLLING DOWN THE HOMEPAGE AT WWW.BOYDLIGHTING.COM.
Tuesday the 28th, I discussed this idea with Mike of Studio 678. The current header with the Portal (Hand) image has been hard coated based on Grant’s design files. We will need to have a better upload field in order to have access to this Header image panel. It is our wish to be able to change this image periodically tfor story telling purposes. We also would like to be able to put video in this panel as well.
It has been added to the to-do list and it will show up on the Home Page soon. We will need to layout these new pages for the series and the editorial content. The look of these pages at the time of this writing are TBD
On Wednesday, I continued to work on the fixture pages. Every time I go to edit these pages, I find more issues that needs refining with the CMS. The menus and the categories are still being dealt with on the teams local server and some of their change don’t get added right away. This makes the fixture pages slow and tedious to work on but this a temporary issue that needs patience and diligence.
Wednesday afternoon I met with Aaron Gobler to begin working on the change over to the New Rep Portal. Aaron is going to make a copy of our current site on a new secure server that will be the new home of our Rep Intranet and Order lookup.
We set up a new sub domain for the Intranet portion. There are new core updates to our current intranet. Aaron will perform those updates before he copies and re-skins the Rep pages.
Thursday and Friday we continued to work on the fixture pages and the navigation of the different fixture types.
The week of MAY 17th - May 24th
I asked David to send me 3 or 4 images of all the new products that he had shot and to place them in one Lightroom Catalog. I used these images to make the front home page look decent for a meeting with the four of us and the new prototype.
During that meeting, we discussed this home page as a way of telling Boyd's story. We talked about landscapes and new horizons. The Home page would feature editorial content and links to the latest products.
We discussed the Logo and changing the site from dark grey to white. We all agreed that we liked the new Logo and the lighter look of the background.
Mike and I continued to refine the CMS for fixture pages. And I made a formal request that we change the site to the white background. Mike said that his team would install the color change, but that we won't see it for a week or two. They are trying to make headway on other more complicated and pressing elements.
On Thursday, the 24th, I had a long discussion with Grant.
I had checked in with him about images, and I sent the new photos that I had received from David. Right away, Grant was critical of the new images. Grant does NOT have a light touch when it comes to discussions or disagreements. I relayed to him, respectfully, that I was concerned that every time I give him images, new or otherwise, he has a problem with them. I asked him to be strong and flexible. To work with us but we want to use these images rather than his usual process of replacing all the backgrounds. He said that this wasn’t what he does and felt like we were no longer using his design. I was calm with Grant during this conversation. I told him that we were making some style and color changes to his design.
This new site is being built using the structure and design of Grant's PSD design files. We are, in fact, changing the color and we are using David Mitchell's product shots. Everything else is Grant. And this site is going to be beautiful.
The week of MAY 13 - May 17
I am working with Studio 678 to get a functioning prototype for discussion. I started editing the fixture pages in the CMS. I am filling in and re-configuring the data scraped off of the current site. Some of the fields are duplicates of CMS document that I had sent Mike during the interview process. So currently, the CMS is a confusing and tedious editing process. We are sorting that out.
The Taxonomy and categories of New Boyd, Classic Boyd, and New Release Boyd have been confusing. The navigation menu is being refined and simplified. We are figuring out where Grant's original PSD design files and the actual build are different. For the most part, these differences reflect Grant's initial ideas about navigation. His navigation was a starting point.
We are making changes to the original menu contents. For instance, all Classic Fixtures are getting a different grid. The Classic grid will have no sub-menus and get one big grid with portrait Thumbnails and grouped by fixture type.
The New Boyd grid has landscape oriented thumbnails of the fixtures. There are separate grids for each fixture type. This refinement is an ongoing process, but we are getting closer.
The week of MAY 6 - May 13
I met with Mike Waters this morning ( Monday 13th). Studio 678 spent most of the last week developing actions for the grids and the site navigation. I had thought that we would have a functioning prototype on Friday. The updated delivery on this is Wednesday this week. I will be working over in the East Bay on Wednesday and will coordinate with Mike. He says that we are still on track and that we will be able to start filling in some of the fixture images and data after.
I worked with Aaron Gobler, Thursday and Friday on the CSV scrape of our current site. I sent a test CSV to Studio678 to see if it was functional. Mike said that everything looked good with that file. We finalized the script this morning. I re-ran the scrape on the old site and I downloaded a new updated CSV and resent this to Studio 678.
I also talked with Aaron this morning about the Rep Intranet Portal. Aaron is preparing the old site to become a stand alone version of the Rep portal. My intention is to have a mock up of the rep portal this week.
Grant has finished his book show project and reports that his schedule has opened back up. He still drawing up page designs for the designer pages and the Classic Boyd grid. We will be collaborating on the classic grid this week. We are "mastering" the older images so that they feel connected to the over all look. We will be working on a template for handling the thumbnails and the larger versions.
Grant and Mike connected on Friday to make sure that Grant had provided what they need, at this point in the build.
I will check back in a day or so with another update.
To be continued….
The week of April 29 - May 3
Mike Waters checked in on Tuesday. His team is translating Grant's PSD files and are assembling the site framework. They have installed Wordpress, WooCommerce.
They are formatting the header and footer and side navigation.
He believes that this should be in place towards the middle of next week. He is going to populate at least one portfolio grid section. Then the product detail view as that's the meat of the project.
We are hoping to have a functional prototype of the week of 5/13
Aaron Gobler reports on Friday May 3, that he can use the source code for a fixture page for a scrape of the content. He can create a J-Query function to perform the scraping part of the data and add its findings to a CSV file. The first scrape provides the structure for the data. Then, we use a list of the URLs for each of the fixtures/pages. The URL list instructs the query run through those pages pulling the correct data.
At the end of this process, we'll have a CSV file of the fixtures and their associated data. This action takes a couple of days to check and re-check. We want to make sure that we are getting everything that we need off the old site.
This is a screen cap of the first “test” scrape performed last night. This is very exciting!!
Friday, April 26
Grant submitted his first work PSD files to Mike to begin styling the pages. Grant designs the layouts in Photoshop. Layering different visual assets that make up a particular web page. These images are works in progress. The images are analogous to blueprints in architecture.
The actual look of the website may vary in some instances from these files.
There is still concern about the "dark night" look of the site. Is it gender neutral enough or is it too masculine? Is it consistent with Marketing collateral? This is an important discussion.
We will be able to explore these options in real time, soon. Once the walls are up for us to look around in, we will be able to tweak the look to meet these concerns, practically, instead of theoretically.
With that in mind, please view these images with "soft eyes and a light touch."
The following are flat images (figures 4-9 )from Grant's PSD File:
Grant and I discussed the handling of the product images. Sky also connected David and Grant to discuss photography and composition.
Grant discussed his need and desire to “touch” every one of the photos to create a unified look. David and I are also concerned with a unified look. For the moment, we have reached a compromise to keep David's images intact for the most part. See images 1-3 - click to enlarge.
The week of April 22-26
Both Grant and Aaron Gobler are in the final days of their projects that preceded our Boyd site.
Grant is finishing a large project that has taken over his productivity. He is working on the Boyd design, wherever and whenever he can. Grant expects to be able to return to work on the Boyd site files the following week (April 29)
Aaron is also wrapping up another project. That project has stopped his work on the Drupal export until April 29.
I began work on my own manual Drupal Export. I spoke to Grant about this. He suggested that this would be an excellent back up in case there were any issues with Drupal export. Moreover, we would be able to cross-reference to the current Boyd fixture page content.
Thursday, April 18
I met with Aaron Gobler (Drupal Assist) to discuss the export of our current Drupal site. This export is for populating the copy and details of the products on our new site. There are many complex ways of doing this task. Aaron is working with his developer to figure out the most efficient way to gather the info.
Aaron and I also made a plan for the Intranet Rep portal. For the time being, we will use our current Drupal framework to house the rep portal. We plan to re-skin the Drupal site to show what we need to show the reps. We plan to design a new "front door" with a new entry login.
Tuesday, April 16
Mike Waters of Studio 678, Grant and I had a kickoff meeting in person, to discuss the project. We set up a task and communication platform for monitoring our work via Basecamp.
I opened an account with WP Engine to host our new site. WP Engine is a managed WordPress hosting account. WP engine enables us to always have the latest changes to security and updates to the WordPress core.
Both Mike and Grant began their prep work on the back end and framework of the site.