Update: Well that was a short-lived romance! The client has replaced our gorgeous whirlwind design with a completely different one, with which we had absolutely no involvement. Such is the life of ninjas for hire.
For the record, our website design looked like this. For the sake of inaccuracy and confusion (and a net increase of both) I have left the rest of the text of this post unaltered. Enjoy!
Oh. My. God.
Today we are proud to announce the launch of www.cynthiathielen.com, a joint effort brought to you by Brainside Out and Jake Ingman.
As some of you may know, Jake and I went to SXSW last year. We knew each other through a mutual friend from years ago, and happened to reconnect last year on the 37Signals personal ads. One thing led to another and before we knew it, we were snuggling with each other in the same hotel bed, fighting off hangovers and cockroaches together.
Jake Ingman is an incredibly talented designer and a huge usability geek (not to mention an avid mountaineer), and ever since SXSW we’ve talked about working on a project together. Life being as inconvenient as it is, what with brilliant theses to defend in the spring and wilderness to trample in the summer, we’ve never really had an opportunity to smash our heads together. That is, until this little ditty came along.
And what a ditty it was, let me tell you. Cynthia Thielen is running for US senate in Hawaii, and they summoned the great talents of Jake to help them with their website design woes. Jake is a brilliant man when it comes to dishing up design and layout in Illustrator and Photoshop, but he is always saddened when his delicate hands suddenly turn into honeybaked hams when he codes XHTML and CSS. Fortunately, that’s where yours truly comes in. Hand-coding XHTML and CSS is my game, man, and when I’m in the zone I can own that stuff with a capital ‘P’.
Thus armed, Jake with his l33t Illustrator skillz and me with my CSS judo, we banged out this site at a pretty good pace. Jake would cook up some delicious pixelly goodness, fire a copy over to me, and I would hammer away at the code until it worked as a rock-solid, standards-based website. Honestly, I was floored by the rate at which Jake could come up with design hotness. It would take him ten minutes to whip up a layout, where I would have spent two hours honing in on a color palette.
Likewise, Jake was seriously out of his mind about how quickly I could take his revisions and push them to the development site as XHTML/CSS. Our workflow bounced back-and-forth at a dizzying rate, him designing, me coding, him revising, me telling him that his colors were way too vibrant, him revising and pounding out new sections in the process, and me coding. Through the entire process we never traded a single Illustrator or Photoshop file. Jake would just do a screenshot of whatever it was he was working on at the moment, send it over via IM, and I would build it. We were so into Getting Real it was ridiculous.
With us claiming that there were all these mad ninja skills flying back and forth, it’s only a fair question to ask how long it took us to build this website. Well, Jake called me this morning, wondering how my scheduled looked for the rest of the day. I said I felt pretty good about it, so he went ahead and got project confirmation from the client. We both took lunch, and started work on the design at about 1:00 in the afternoon. The site went live at 8:15 tonight, right as Thielen announced her candidacy for US Senate.
Our elapsed time was seven hours, fifteen minutes.