Practical Collab Sesh, Starring Keith & Alex
Jumping into this project goes beyond my expectations, for sure. One of my major, major reasons for coming back to Edinboro was to get a better understanding of coding and web design. I never thought it would lead to me getting a chance to do a legit collab project. I’m glad to be involved in a project like this because it sets me up for some better opportunities to make a groundbreaking portfolio. That’s my goal. With this in mind, I aim to make projet trois a portfolio piece.
I am tasked to work with Keith Hepler, whom of which I already know will be an excellent partner in this website. Together, we will be making a local machine shop’s website in Meadville, PA. The challenge is to create something beyond what even I expect. That’s what I want, and that’s what I believe we should all strive for. I hope to assist in developing their brand through this in a way that will help exemplify their credibility as well as develop a greater online presence.
By working alongside Keith, I know we will do a great job. We will be creating our own separate blogs in order to show the progress and strengths that we both bring to the table for this project, and I plan to hopefully pass a thing or two that I know about design down.
Part 1: THE CLIENT ACTCO (Akt-ko)
Note: I referenced Keith’s description for this part, as he is closer associated at this time with ACTCO. As time progresses, I will have more opinions about our client and work from there. “ACTCO is a CNC (computer numerical control) shop that has been a staple in the community and a source of stable jobs for decades.
Here is a sample of their webpage to get an idea of our starting point:
My Initial Reaction is not truly engaged, but I think the graphics are not half bad. Of course, I like taking my own pictures, but I have no clue basis for this until we get the graphics pack later next week (week of April 12, 2021 hopefully). The website needs work. Simply put, it’s just a bit boring. Sure, client-wise and demographic-wise, it might not need to be “popping” and “all that” as my old PoS president of my last company would say (that’s between you and me). My first thing I noticed was the logo is a non-transparent png. I’ve downloaded it and I’m not really happy with the size and quality. We work with quality. That’s going to need a change.
As for the website navigation…why does it run on two lines? That seems a bit much. Even when expanded out it doesn’t come back up to one line. This information can be consolidated. While on the phone with Keith, we both agreed that this will be priority-changed (more on that below).
Part II: WEBSITE ARCHITECTURE
On Thursday, April 8 2021, Keith and I stayed after class and made a discord call to get more information gathered. With that, we decided to give our initial responses to each other and see what we believed could be done. Our first step to take beyond our impression was to look at the bones of this website. Although I think that it’s a fairly easy and somewhat useable layout, we both agreed that it’s a good idea to consolidate the navigation. I made the suggestion to take the points made in some of the nav and make it easier. Making the quote request a pop-out would be so much easier to work with when it comes to making a simple form. This way it doesn’t just open up to an email, but gets sent with the full information to an email upon pressing “send”…you know, like a normal quote request form should do. We also are toying with the idea of further navigation by making sections of the website open up into specific areas through dropdown portions of the nav bar. This way the website would have easily followable text options that the likely demographic would be able to use with relative ease. Web ergonomics. Something about that just sounds fun to me. Also, if you want to see what Keith said about this, feel free to check him here.
Part III: PERSONA
My choice with this persona is to describe a procurement and/or supply chain manager who specifies in machine part maintenance.
Name: Jack McDonnell
Location: Erie, PA
Education level: Bachelor’s in Supply Chain Management from Penn State Behrend, with Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP), Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP), Senior Professional in Supply Chain Management (SPSM), Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO), and Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB).
Occupation: Procurement manager for a larger-scale Plastic Injection Mold Company.
Either you run the day or the day runs you.
Jack used to be involved in a glam metal band back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but after a drunken car accident where he flipped his prized 1985 blood-orange Dodge Omni Shelby into the cold Presque Isle Bay (it’s still down there) and had to punch the window out, he wasn’t able to shred the fretboards as effectively as he could. With that being said, he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a hardened laborer.
Jack got married in 1992 to his high school sweetheart Tracey. She was also his first kiss. Tracey was alway his biggest fan and a great partner. Together, they had two identical twin girls in 1995 and one boy in 1997. In 2002, she unfortunately passed away due to colon cancer complications brought about by Crohn’s Disease, leaving Jack as a single father. Times were harsh for a little bit, but much like his mantra, “[you either] run the day or the day runs you”. He never has faltered and is proud to say that he’s gotten all three of his children to and through college.
In 2011, Jack remarried his current wife Roxanne—whom of which are quite fond of each other. Meet in the after-hours crowd at the 26th Street VFW (Jack is an auxiliary member due to his grandfather being a proud veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars), Roxanne is also a provider. She works for the Coast Guard as a procurement officer. It’s unspoken between the two of them, but Roxanne makes more money than Jack does. Don’t talk to them about it—it’s a touchy subject.
Jack initially began working at Zurn Industries after graduating in 1994, but was laid off due to getting screwed over by a coworker he covered for during a Christmas ruse. He ended up working at his current job at Polymer Molding Inc., where he has climbed quickly up the totem pole to become the lead manager in procurement. He has a policy of trying to find local procurement as a priority, and he always gets American-made parts only.
Jack loves woodworking as a side-hobby, where he makes technical components for furniture sets from night classes he took at a local shop. He, as well as his wife, are avid bikers who love to ride during their vacation weeks around the country. Their most recent trek took them both all around Lake Erie. He’s a jovial family guy who’s always putting his family before himself, and he would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need. He can boast if you give him one too many drinks. Oh, and he smokes pot in his woodworking station after dinner on Sunday nights. He doesn’t get the chance to exercise as much, and he pays for a gym membership to Planet Fitness that he goes to less-than Roxanne would like.
Jack wants to keep his kids afloat above all else. With Roxanne by his side, they both have 5 children to take care of in their 6-bedroom house in Millcreek. His goal is to pay off his house and continue his investments in the tech and oil industries. He wants to get and restore a 1985 blood-orange Dodge Omni Shelby just like he had as a kid (his wife may have bought him it for his Birthday!)
Football, motorcycling, his family, thick-framed glasses, mixed drinks, his Rottweiler Pablo, tinkering with his bike, woodworking, and large industry contracts.
His old bandmates, cats, wood knots, oak wood
Forbes / ErieNewsNOW / Business Insider / New York Times
Part IV: DRAFT
A draft of the index page layout. This is one half of the designs as Keith has the other half. We are planning to meet sometime this week to discuss the direction further for this website.
Part V: Style Tiles
As for more development progress, we are waiting to meet with the client this week.