In Week 1, we looked at what programming is exactly, which Chris explained that “it is a set of instructions used to solve a problem.”
One of the most important lessons for me in Week 1 was reviewing the web development process and all the different team members. I have some experience with front-end web design, which involves working with two back-end web developers. It was fascinating to learn about all the different roles, divisions, and specialities.
As part of this lesson, we learned about the four most important roles for the web development cycle including User experience (UX), Information Architecture (IA), Visual design, and Development. To assess our understanding, Chris asked us to create flow charts and wireframes for Twitter’s website and user interface. Even though I’ve done some front-end web design before, I’m entirely self-taught and I’ve never come across wireframes or flowcharts before. Because I love organization and design, I spent a lot of time on each assignment and really enjoyed doing so. The best part is, I can now use those skills at work as we map out our new website or in freelance projects.
Another important takeaway from Week 1 was the “Minimum Viable Product,” where you aim to “maximize validated learning for the least amount of effort.” Chris illustrated the concept by playing the video by Drew Houston, Dropbox’s creator. Drew’s video demonstrated and validated his idea without him having to write a single line of code. It’s a brilliant and practical concept to take with you from the course.
In Week 2, we got a history lesson in the evolution of programming. We also compared the different types of programming languages including PHP, Python, and Ruby on Rails, as well as looked at why you’d use one language instead of another.
For Week 2’s assignments, we had to research two technologies that onemonth.com uses and create short voice-over PowerPoint videos about them. I learned a lot of Stripe and Ruby on Rails as a result of completing these assignments. Below are the links to my three videos on YouTube:
Click here to view my projects from Week 3.
As we’re winding down in the class, Chris presented the different content management systems (CMS) such as WordPress and Squarespace. He also showed us how to set up web hosting and access it via FTP.
My favorite part of Week 4 was learning about the “Job Scorecard.” It’s a smart and concise way of thinking about what exactly you want a new hire to accomplish in his/her role in a specific amount of time. This involves identifying specific metrics you want the new hire to achieve in a specific amount time on the scorecard (i.e. Grow revenue from $700k to $1m by the end of the year). I thought this was an innovative way of thinking about a position in your company that deviates from the traditional job description and qualifications model.
About My Final Project
For my final project, I decided to redesign and reorganize my personal portfolio website using WordPress (www.annagwright.com). I haven’t touched it since 2014 when I was thinking about applying to graduate school. This course project is perfect timing and motivation because I’ve been meaning to do so for quite some time, but I just haven’t had the time between work and other freelance projects.
Below are the steps I took to complete this project this week:
- First, I planned out my website and wrote all new content, which took a lot of time to do.
- Next, I researched and found a great premium WordPress theme from Themeforest, and purchased it.
- I upgraded my web hosting so I was on a faster and new server. I also upgraded to unlimited domains and hosting so I have the option to create and host a website for my personal Portfolio and my Etsy shop business.
- I decided to start fresh and deleted all of the content and files that were on my web hosting servers since they were old and unnecessary.
- Once I had my web hosting all set up, I installed the WordPress app on the back-end and uploaded the theme.
- I customized and styled the theme, added Google analytics, setup and added Google reCAPTCHA to my contact form, and created a logo.
- I installed various plugins including W3 Total, Cache, Enable Media Replace, and Limit Login Attempts.
- I designed and created all of the pages I had mapped out one-by-one.
Three to Six Month Objectives – Website Goals
|Research additional plugins needed to manage annagwright.com website.||5/13/16|
|Web hosting server is blocking mail being sent through Contact Form. Resolve this issue. I tried Gmail SMTP and WP SMTP plugins, but neither solved the issue.||5/13/16|
|Finish adding Portfolio items to annagwright.com website.||5/20/16|
|Map out content for a website for my Etsy shop, Wright and Main (wrightandmain.com).||6/1/16|
|Find a premium theme on Themeforest.net.||6/10/16|
|Finish designing new Wright and Main logo.||6/19/16|
|Create and design a website for my Etsy shop, Wright and Main (wrightandmain.com).||6/26/16|
|Research mailing lists. Add MailChimp to Wright and Main website. Start blogging regularly on Wright and Main website.||7/1/16|
|Research if I should advertise on Pinterest for my Etsy shop or where else I should advertise to grow my business.||7/1/16|
|Have a photoshoot for Etsy products as part of rebranding (when I’m on my staycation in July). Post photos on Etsy shop and website.||7/9/16 – 7/17/16|
|Create new Etsy items.||Now-8/1/16|
|Decide if I want to create an eCommerce website apart from Etsy for my items.||8/1/16|
Three to Twelve Month Objectives – One Month Course Goals
|Complete One Month HTML: Build Your Portfolio, Blog, & Landing Page.||6/15/16|
|Complete One Month Responsive Design: Become A Front-End Web Developer.||7/15/16|
|Complete One Month Content Marketing: Build Your Audience & Content Strategy.||8/15/16|
|Complete One Month jQuery: Build Your Interactive Website.||9/15/16|
|Two week trip to Italy|
|Complete One Month Rails: Build Your Pinterest-Style Website.||11/15/16|
|Complete One Month Payment Processing: Build Your Ecommerce & Subscription Site.||1/15/17|
|Complete One Month iOS: Build Your iPhone App with Vimeo.||2/15/17|
|Complete One Month Storytelling for Business.||3/15/17|
|Complete One Month Growth Hacking: Build Your User Base & Grow Your Business.||4/15/17|
|Complete One Month Project Management: Learn to Run Your Teams More Effectively||5/15/17|