On a Saturday at about 3 AM, a month before my third baby was due, I came up with the idea that would become the seed of the site.
Later at a more godly hour, I drew the concept on my daughter’s Etch-a-Sketch for my husband. He loved it!
So, the next day, while my husband went grocery shopping with the kids, I settled down with my daughter’s drawing pad and my Prismacolor color pencils and drew the drawing on the left.
A very primitive drawing, but it served to illustrate the concept I had in mind: a vivid orange background with an elaborate design ending in a keyboard to represent a harpsichord with a parchment main section that would look like an old score. An ink-tipped feather quill on the keyboard—not too much ink or it would ruin the keys—and a picture of an eighteenth-century man—Haydn—holding a violin.
But I had an uncomfortable feeling that the design was much too elaborate, and that some elements might need an artist. The first web designer I contacted confirmed my suspicions. I’d need a graphics artist, she said.
But I still had no idea which elements of my concept would require a graphics artist. What kind of specs would the graphics artist need to work with? And how much would this idea cost to execute?
As a Communication specialist, I wondered if I’d communicated my idea clearly enough. Every web site has a top section and a sidebar. Could these, with an image of a keyboard inserted at the bottom, represent the harpsichord? The main section could have a parchment look. The feather and the music staff could be dispensed with. I needed an image of Haydn, but I could do with a head shot.
When I contacted the next lot of web designers, it was without much hope. Still, I verbally explained what I had in mind, and said I had a rough drawing. To my delight, one of the designers who responded said she was a graphics artist as well as a web designer. Excellent! Tabby would know exactly which elements would need her graphics skills. And, I wouldn’t have to coordinate between two different professionals after all.
Early the next morning, I woke to an email from Tabby with a rough design. She’d worked through the night to develop it. I thought her idea of using a wrap-around background to suggest the harpsichord with the head bar being part of the parchment score was excellent. Later in the day, she sent me more of her work. The vivid orange I wanted unfortunately detracted attention from the main section. She’d washed out the color. I had her add back the color, and realized she was right.
So, reluctantly I decided on a black background. That was a better choice. I still had the ornate design typical of eighteenth century harpsichords, but the eye was directed to the main section. Back and forth, Tabby and I went, until a week later I had what I wanted.
Then came the tough part of getting used to working on, editing, and adding content to my new WordPress site. Tabby wisely only added me on as an editor for the first few days. Every time I worked on the web site, I sent a flurry of emails. She patiently responded to each one, gradually introducing me to some basic html code and teaching me how to manipulate the look of the site.
Now, I’m an administrator. I can’t say I know it all. But I can say I have the web site I want. If, like me, you have an elaborate concept your mind can’t let go of, I’m happy to refer you to my designer, Tabby—a code name, not because she’s a secret agent, but because she prefers to remain in the background!
Haydn, historical mysteries, web design
Great job on the website. Gorgeous.