I'm impressed that the site looks so good, with design being skinned on afterwards. Was it literally just divs, spans, and lists, and then you did the CSS in one fell swoop (well one fell-iterative swoop)?
I always need something to help me conceptualize what it is that I want to build, more than just a few bullet points or flowcharts. As a designer/developer, I find it easiest to just dive into photoshop and mock a few things up, even if they're not what I would consider final designs. It helps me think about how things will work, and what the user experience will be like.
I'm going to be revamping the profile pages in the near future, and that process will almost certainly include wireframing, since I have more time to do it "right".
The best part is that this leads to very clean and well structured HTML, and a better design because you know exactly what your content is.
WeddingType, the invitation typography generator, is for non-designer couples looking for a save some money by creating their own invitations.
"...looking for a save..." should probably be "...looking to save..."
Alas, not YC but that's not the end of the world. I'm sure the YC folks won't be surprised to see me applying again soon. :P
I would also like to point out that it's not a meaningful feature as templates still cannot be written in isolation by designers without a lot of previous agreed upon structure.
The django apps model is similar in getting an unmerited amount of attention/praise.
Good, short read: http://alexgaynor.net/2010/mar/29/designer-developer-relatio...
Never 'appen, icky hoomans are involved.
That's like saying engineers and management will stop fighting over budgets and specifications.
I think doing the reverse might sometimes end up being a subtle form of procrastination where you might be afraid of doing the part you're not as familiar with.
Never found anyone to agree with me.
- "Sure, how big do you want it? How many rooms?"
- "I'll tell you what. Build the house and we see how it goes".
2nd how big, how many rooms, also is it made of bricks, does it have a fireplace, etc are all functional and not visual design.
Friendly advice from your neighborhood SEO: owning two sites in one vertical gives you cross promotion opportunities, particularly if one is more linkable than the other (gallery is more linkable than commercial offering). That said, I would give a lot of thought to consolidating your offerings into one site with two facets if you can do it without confusing customers.
I feel like this might be true of very simplistic ideas, I don't think it holds in any generally applicable form. Some ideas take time to fully germinate and flourish. Imagine if the original pyramid builder had put down the first level and 'launched'.
I think what is clear and of general applicability is that its important to launch at the right time. Some ideas are timely and need to be synchronized with what else is going on in the internet space. Some ideas are just ahead of their time and premature launch is a waste. Some ideas come too late. Like bringing out a faster fax machine now vs 10 years ago.
The idea that startups should be a frenzy of quickly thrown together systems only holds because they are built using tools that are solid and robust.
That said, your site looks fabulous, it has all the charm and modern design of tumblr and the right colors, the right voice and just a great looking site.
I would also say that quote goes hand in hand with this one:
"If you’re learning a new language, don’t do tutorials verbatim"
So true, there will never be a tutorial for exactly what your working on because if there is, why are you reinventing the wheel? Also if your busy with tutorials, you might spend to much time on them and never accomplish your main objective. By then your will to finish starts to diminish.
I think you're thoughts on monetizing are right. However, I'd add a couple suggestions. You fit 9 huge designer samples on the front page. I'd shrink those a bit and add a "Featured Designers" section over the standard designers area on the front page which you can charge a premium for. Next, if the picture samples are small enough like here (http://www.weddinginvitelove.com/profiles/little-green-chair...) you have great ad space on the right side of the page. You can geo target visitors location by IP address and charge a premium to local florists, halls, and other wedding related services. Good luck!
It's been my actual experience that good designers -- i.e., the ones who actually know more than just how to use Photoshop -- tend to be quite good at picking up programming when sufficiently motivated.
It's the transition in the other direction (programming -> design) that seems to be the killer.
Flexible programmers (generalists) have an easy time learning the basics of design an turning out something that will pass snuff. Its not highly creative work for sure, but it will be easily usuable to the standards of Facebook.com, et all.
Flexible designers on the other hand, can do simple coding too when motivated. However, you're not going to see them say coding a Baysian spam filter by hand, or making creative use of minhashing for auto-suggestion.
The problem is with specialists.
I know the goal is equality, but I don't think there's anything equal about having to ignore parts of your identity in order to be respected and valued. We can acknowledge that the OP is a woman without losing sight of that goal.
I did put gender reference in the title — it would garner me more notice since I'm a minority. Therefore, doesn't bother me if someone points out something I was already pointing out. It's feels more ridiculous when people are like, "Shh, don't mention she's female, it'll be construed that you're sexist."
There is a lot of grey area here, but I'm glad the original commenter hasn't been downvoted to oblivion for what seemed a very honest comment.
Regardless of what you meant, you're pointing out the difference rather than just treating everyone equally. Just congratulate the OP on teaching herself Django and developing an app within weeks, not because she isn't your gender.
Wow, I didn't expect you to learn Django! Bravo!
Second, have you considered the demographics are affected by pervasive sexism in several world cultures? Not to go on a tirade, but walk through a toy store some time and tell me why you think there aren't more female programmers and scientists. The point is, culture- NOT gender, is to account for the disparity between men and women in the field. While numbers may be numbers, its still a backhanded compliment.
Like I stated in my above comment, I realize it may not be the intent of your statement, I am just sharing with you how it may be construed amongst the fairer sex when we "dare" to cross these imaginary gender lines drawn in the sand.
I agree that the original comment is downvote-worthy, but this is far from an established fact.
A couple ideas for growing and monetizing:
- partner with wedding planners to help grow your community of designers and users
- start subtle (prime placement or pro's choice) advertising relationships with magazines, planners, and other communities
- expand to include other aspects of the wedding "package", i.e photographers, florists, dressmakers/designers
You might be able to monetize it by, once having the designs completed, making it a one stop shop for doing the rest of the printing too.
However, this could be a logistical nightmare if you've never done printing before, so... tread lightly.
Testimonials for each designer. A design someone posts might be beautiful but what if they lack in the delivery department. Some sort of customer reviews would be nice to have and let people know how dependable they are.
Going back and playing around with the site a little more its obvious that your the gateway for each of these designers. By incorporating a rating system for each designer you could be the "Angie's list" of wedding desigers
Good questions to ask myself, thanks for the comment. :)
One UI suggestion: I find it clunky when a site forces me to choose from price ranges that don't overlap (e.g. $5 to 10, $10 to $15, etc.). Generally people making purchasing decisions aren't thinking in terms of those kinds of ranges; they simply have a maximum budget in mind. I think it's better to allow users to specify "under $5", "under $10", etc. so that each successive group includes the previous groups. I realize there may be a case for trying to get customers to purchase the most expensive item they're willing to purchase, but more often than not having to click each range separately just annoys me and I leave the page.
My (sincere) question is regarding the help you had. I noticed you credited extensively to a few folks and your boyfriend. Other than Django/Python, there's also server setup (BitCould?)--did you do that yourself as well? Did you work on this full time for 6 weeks or was this an after 9-5 hours project?
I don't mean to pry; just simply want other folks out there who are also self-taught and are working on their own projects to understand the extend of your hard work with great assistance from experts in achieving this great result. In other words, could you explain the "magic" a bit so we can have a deeper understanding of your process?
A lot of time, people gloss over the hard work parts and in some way that perpetuates a misunderstanding which says: "it's easy to create something good." I don't that is the case. Even in The Social Network, Zuck seems to somehow create Facemash or even Facebook in matters of hours while drinking beer. But I digress.
Thank you for sharing.
As for hours, I worked full-time-ish. I don't have a "real" job — my real job was WeddingType until things fell apart for a bit. I started work on WIL but was also doing client projects on the side to pump up my bank account a bit. I have no idea how many hours total I worked on WIL — it was one of those things where you wake up at noon and work until 2am on and off on various projects, which was mostly WIL but a lot of client stuff as well.
Any more specific questions? Please pry away if I missed anything!
Good job in getting this done! Makes me want to tech my wife a thing or two about web-development.
I'm lucky my significant other, @shazow, is doing the same no-job-working-on-projects thing as me, and with him being a developer and me as a designer, we can work well together to launch projects. It's also a great motivator when you have someone to bug you to work whenever they see you on reddit.com. :P
By the time you're done researching how to apply the concept to a slightly different problem, you've learned much more than the tutorial is covering.
What about going the other way? I'm a developer that is intimidated by any kind of ui design... What do I do?
The directory is good, but it limits your potential unless you expand beyond wedding and include more events (Birthdays, Graduations, etc...). By sending visitors to other websites, you are also letting go of some of your revenue.
I decided to try offering templates (the whole set: business card, LH, ENV, etc..) instead and I think LD can do a great job here for Events. You can differentiate yourself by providing great artwork users can edit on their computer (pdf, ai, psd), or they can also pay you to edit documents properly.
Templates are scalable. Write once, distribute many times. You can also change the price as you please and sell them on your site, the designers' site, inkd.com, graphicriver.net and even through other design-related websites.
I would like to see a site that offers templates with a focus on events. They would have me covered from wedding, to baby shower, to birthday celebration, to girls night out. Basically all things fun. I think this is one area where LimeDaring could do very well. Show me where I can get great document design done for my events, but even better actually be the place where I can actually get them.
Templates are a WeddingType.com area, and will be explored. :)
Therefore it really makes sense to focus on weddings first.
I've heard recommendations of sites like http://colorschemedesigner.com/ but if I plug in your maroon flush color from behind "Inky Livie's Workshop", I can't get color scheme designer to recommend any of your other colors no matter which setting I choose.
Great job on the site. I prefer to delude myself into believing that you accomplished this so fast because you already had a viable MVP, but a part of me still thinks that you're superhuman.
By viable MVP, do you mean WeddingType? The two have completely different code, so I wasn't able to redo anything I had before. I essentially had a design framework, but major design is essentially different.
Superhuman? Nice, thanks. :)
It's not the best solution – this is where my programming inability shows through. Going to be revamping that soon, but right now, it's on there so people can sign up with it. :)
I don't see why there couldn't be a different list for signup and for search; or the ability to add cities during signup...
Yeah, probably, I just haven't thought it through yet. I'm still not a rockstar programmer — I figured out that I can make a list in the model which would be referenced by the registration, search, and also apply to the property in the profile model. Initially it seems like having the same list in two different locations and slightly different in each seems like a bad idea, but also having random locations on the search list without results is too. Though maybe I could write something in the search view that will remove listings from the form if they don't have any profiles associated with them...
I understand that you need a big button for designers to click ("Get Listed") but for the front and center form, if it's going to be there, it makes more sense for the button to Search, since that's what you're doing, instead of a very generic "Submit".
What was your take on the learning curve?
If you get an interview, just let them ask as many questions as possible. 5 word answers. Don't elaborate unless they ask, keep it simple. Stay calm. :P
I'm actually in Rome right now and my laptop was stolen a week ago (sigh...) so fixing errors like this unfortunately have to wait until I can use @shazow's computer.
Thanks, on my list. :D
So there wasn't "one" resource — it was a lot of scrappy Googling and asking for help for every problem that got in my way.
also, the site looks great. good luck with it!
i am thinking that relational databases used today may be a problem sometimes..
i am collecting stories about problems with altering schemas while prototyping and while in production (losing data, manual altering tables, relational dbs restrictions, many-to-many relationships and other complexities) but it seems it all went smoothly with the tools you had.
did you know any other programming language before learning Django - like PHP,
did you know CSS/html before learning Django
isnt PHP easier to learn ?