Introducing Jack Brice on Wine

Jack Brice has been a wine buff since he was 21 years old when his great uncle Mick (from Adelaide Australia) sat him down and explained the history of South Australian wines. In the years since Jack has visited countless wineries in Australia, France, Portugal and USA. Jack has been an invited guest panelist and regular speaker at wine events – and as co-director of a wine tasting group, that group’s member list has grown to over 1,200 enthusiasts.

Jack is the second half of the Off-the-Grid dinner series that I built a web site for in 2013. After completing that site we decided to take a look on improving Jack’s personal blog. With this site I wanted to focus on a design that would work well with the theme of his blog, wine, and focus on being compatible with all screen sizes. His site is based off of the WordPress platform with a custom theme and some custom made plugins. I tried to keep the design clean by sticking with 4 to 5 colors for the sites elements. Beyond the normal WordPress layout I added a parallax scrolling effect to the header that scales down into the mobile views. I also took the menu and made it slide out from the left side of the page when the user visits the site on a phone or tablet.

Jack Brice on Wine Header

Jack Brice on Wine full header before page scroll.

Jack Brice on Wine Small Header

Jack Brice on Wine compressed header when scrolling down the page.

Jack Brice on Wine mobile view

Jack Brice on Wine mobile view.

Jack Brice on Wine mobile view with menu

Jack Brice on Wine mobile view with slide out menu

Jack Brice on Wine mobile view small header

Jack Brice on Wine mobile view with small header after page scroll.

 

 

 

New Site: Off-the-Grid

This site has actually been out for a few months now but I am now just getting time to write about it. Off-the-Grid is a dinner series by Jack and Kate that they host a restaurants around the Pittsburgh area. They work with the great chefs in the Pittsburgh region to plan private dinners with fixed menus and Jack matches the dinner choices to various wines.

Since starting in November 2009 they have hosted more than 25 Sunday Suppers at various local restaurants, galleries and private spaces and shared more than 120 different wines. The dinners have ranged in themes from France to South Africa to Australia and the U.S. Some of the special dinners have focused on women winemakers and 90+ rated wines.

Jack and Kate approached me, after building Jack’s father’s website William R. Brice, to update the the look and functionality of there site. They were looking for a modern look that would be easy to navigate between new and old events. They also wanted this site to include online payments for their events and it could all be easily maintained by themselves. So with these guidelines I setup a word press site with a few plugins to modify blog post to act as events with posting dates actually being the date of the event. I also set up the site to automatically generate PayPal payment buttons that could be turned off when an event sells out, which they do rather quickly.

My idea for the site was to make it clean and easily navigable. I also made sure it could be easily be made mobile through some media queries on the stylesheet. With the style I tried to stick with colors they were already familiar with such as dark red, green, and white. Below you can see some screenshots of the site or you can click here to just go check it out for yourself.

Off-the-Grid

Mobile design of the Off-the-Grid site.

Off-the-Grid

Design of the Off-the-Grid site.

Going Mobile!

I’ve spent this previous weekend teaching myself the art of mobile web development. There is a continuing trend within technology were our devices continue to get smaller and more portable. I know someday laptops and desktops will most likely be a thing of the past so I thought now would be the perfect time to dip my toe in the mobile development waters. I am pleased to say that my website, http://www.michaelouellette.com, is now completely mobile optimized.

In the design of the mobile version of my site I utilized the jQTouch plugin for jQuery. This plugin helps to render the site into a touch screen friendly interface instead of the usual click event focused environment of a desktop or laptop. I tried to match the desktop version of my site as closely as possible when designing the layout and images for the mobile pages. You can see below a few screen shots I included that highlight a some of the pages on the mobile site. Let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments.

Michael Ouellette mobile homepage

Michael Ouellette mobile homepage

Michael Ouellette portfolio page

Michael Ouellette portfolio page

Michael Ouellette portfolio details pages

Michael Ouellette portfolio details pages

Michael Ouellette social page

Michael Ouellette social page