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Enough with the bee references! I wanted to take a quick break from the process and quickly mention some points that I have considered along the way that have helped me fuse my design, code, and vision.
Draft a Mission Statement
Before getting caught-up in the bells and whistles of jQuery interactivity, be sure to take a step back and write-up a quick mission that will help you guide your design and functionality to support your vision/branding. The mission should include a vision/branding statement, your goals for the website, and a description of your visual concept--in that order. Think about how each element contributes it's own aesthetic and emotional message--from navigation to font-size. Conflicting messages are often confusing!
Research, research, research!
Great way to find out what is out there and to get some inspiration. Web design trends are always changing, so decide whether you want to be on the cutting-edge or timeless. Review your mission again after sponging about the Internet.
Get a Second Opinion
To give yourself art direction is a little difficult since you tend to get too close to your own ideas. Let's just say that my fiance is very much over the question, "What do you think of this?". This also helps you justify your decisions (out loud) and fish-out those pesky elements that may be holding your website back.
Both in the design and in the functionality. If a link doesn't work properly, how does that reflect on your business?
Once you have launched your website, be ready to make it dynamic and interesting with new content, images, and social connectivity. This may also help you launch it in the first place--instead of dwelling on how many things you want to incorporate and how much time it will take, stick to your mission and add any of those time-consuming extras over time.
Boost Your Blog
I will also be redesigning my blog to match my web design so that my messaging and vision are consistent.
Now, back to work!