Redesigning WebDesignire - a showcase of Irish web design

May 2011

I just relaunched WebDesignire. WebDesignire is a website showcasing “beautiful web design from Ireland and Northern Ireland”. It’s a side project that I initially launched in 2009 but due to lack of time I haven’t been able to update it in quite some time. The new site is built with Ruby on Rails, and much of the original functionality has been stripped to keep it simple.

Why it needed re-designed and re-developed

The old site</h4>
The original site was built using Wordpress. Wordpress is a fantastic framework but it was far too bloated for a project like this. 99% of the Wordpress functionality wasn't needed. Maintenance and keeping the site updated was also an issue. For every website that was submitted I would have to do several tasks including taking screenshots, saving screenshots, uploading screenshots etc. Lots to do there, hence the reason I had no time to update it.
The new site
Using Rails I was able to develop a minimal web app that only included the functionality that it actually needed - submitting and approving websites. Using the very cool webthumb API, the web app is able to automatically take, resize and save screenshots of the websites. Approving and publishing a site now literally takes one click.

Experimental for me

As with any side project I was able to experiment and learn a few new things. For this project I was able to try out: Am loving the combination of Sass and Compass for writing CSS. Will follow up with a more detailed post on this soon.

How useful are 'CSS galleries'?

Galleries like this have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Of course they don't represent all the great sites that are out there and they certainly don't take into account user experience or what's below the surface of the iceberg. It's a visual snapshot of a bunch of websites that form a good first impression. Love 'em or hate 'em I still think it's interesting and useful to see who's delivering quality websites locally.

Do you know any cracking Irish websites?

Submit them to WebDesignire. Even better if it's not one of your own sites ;-) Looking for clean, well structured websites with a good mix of type, colour, shape, texture and whitespace etc. HTML5 and CSS3 use is a bonus.

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