As a digital designer it could be easy to argue that the importance of mocking up a design exclusively on paper is neglible, as opposed to using Photoshop, a graphics tablet, or should you ever feel the inclination, even Microsoft Word or a similar package…
A sign of the times
As a quasi-traditional artist you might colour me biased – however, design on paper in the very early stages of a concepts has benefits irreplaceable by digital environments which are frequently inundated with features and functionality. And this is exactly what grants paper and pen the ultimate advantage for the conceptualisation of an idea – the lack of functionality. The absence of distractions that paper offers compared to digital practice means the creative process is complete unadultered – with just the means to make a mark, and something on which to make a mark. Digital methods in the creative process allow the expansion and improvement of an idea however and so of course, they definitely have a place in the cycle – however mocking up on paper allows the fast flow of ideas and the chance to visualize an idea without it being influenced by anything other than the original concept itself. The basics can thus be laid out before further improvement in a digital environment.
For HTML construction a design on paper can be of huge assistance in knowing how a visual design will be coded and brought to life, since a simple design on paper is effectively a foundation for the product in its entirety; not dissimilar to how HTML is used in the construction of a web page.
Concepts in Photoshop
After having completed some initial sketches I completed a concept in Photoshop intending to show how CSS might be used to build on top of the HTML foundation and make the page usable. I aimed to make the page easily usable on different devices by having large button areas, have the ability to showcase a particular piece of work or other feature of importance, as well as provide a succinct portrayal of what my work was about, as well as myself. I used contrast and transparency to control and arrange elements in the page, but with a focus on usability, and no requirement to click around a lot to find or view information. I wanted to avoid use of skeuomorphic design as it’s a trend that has recently fallen out of favour in the design industry (in my opinion, rightfully so at this point in time) and I wanted the site to be modern and up-to-date with design trends and influences.
I’m going to go away and focus my efforts now on rigging up some HTML ready to put the site into production, so check back later where I’m sure I’ll have found something to say regarding how something has gone wrong in the process.