16th March, 2005

The all new jonburgerman.com

Finally, I can announce the launch of the new Jon Burgerman website.

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Even if you haven’t heard of Jon, (or read previous posts on this site) you’ve surely seen his work for clients such as Virgin, Diesel, the BBC, The Guardian, Computer Arts Magazine and approx eight million others. It’s been a joy to work with Jon on his new site. Here’s a bit more detail…

A head-start from Jon

For years, Jon had been too busy to really keep on top of his static HTML/Flash site. It was a great site, but there had to be a better way of keeping things up to date, and he needed to quickly post new work as he did it with the minimum of fuss.

Jon’s on the ball when it comes to planning a project. He’d tell you he’s rubbish, but he’s too modest. After a brief chat about what he wanted and what we could deliver, Jon put together a comprehensive Illustrator layout detailing how he saw the thing coming together. This included navigation hierarchy and simplified page layouts. Click for a larger view:

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From such a great head-start, a few hours spent with Expression Engine gave us a navigable site, with images carved directly from the Illustrator files. Flash was a factor from the start, but emphasis on valid, standards-compliant code was also important.

Don’t work with children, animals or artists

I often find that there are compromises to be made when working with a client who creates for a living, be they artist, illustrator or just someone who deals in aesthetics. Early on, Jon and I identified areas where our approaches might clash. I don’t like “splash” pages, Jon does, and people expect them from him. I don’t like opening things in new windows, or excessive use of Javascript popups, but these were essential in Jon’s sketchbook section. Working all of this out early on led to a very smooth development stage.

For me, it has to be about the end user. If Jon’s audience expect a certain something, let them have it. If a couple of pages don’t validate, then so be it. I have to accept that. Such decisions are made for the good of the site, and it doesn’t pay to steam roller a client over such issues.

The finished site

Anyway, weeks and weeks of late-night emailing, tea, biscuits and tweaked animations resulted in a site that Jon can easily maintain without biting into his doodling time.

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I’ve not had a great deal of time to fine-toothed comb the site yet. I know that most of the Flash is cosmetic, and replacement isn’t a key factor yet. I do want to make all pages validate, because I’m a Virgo. Given time, I might also clean up the stylesheets and Javascript. For now, I think Jon and I just want to launch the bloody thing and let it bed in.

If you love illustration, go visit the site now!

Big thanks to Jon for the t-shirt, stickers, lovely framed painting and other non-bankable methods of payment. See, I can be bought…

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