The Hobart Building

July 26, 2011

Hobart Building websiteFisher Hill Properties, which manages the historic Hobart Building in downtown San Francisco, had a very outdated website in terms of both design and maintenance, so they hired me to do a revamp of not only hobartbuilding.com but also they’re simple company profile website, fisherhillproperties.com. In addition to a redesign, the project included setting up WordPress on both sites, so that the non-technical could update the site easily.

FHP was looking for a design that was elegant and classy, yet simple. Since their letterhead was done in Bembo, I settled on Times New Roman as the closest/easiest match for a web font. I chose a blend of patterns, soft gradients, and subtle drop shadows to keep the eye moving around the page. In the development phase, my goal was to take advantage of the new capabilities of CSS3 as much as possible. I was very satisfied with the result in the modern browsers, but, of course, even IE9 left me disappointed. Someday.

Go-live was not, of course, without a few hitches. A few words to the wise:

  • Before launching, check your server’s installed PHP version. If it’s less than 5, be prepared to turn off any fancy .htaccess tricks that your theme’s functions.php file contains. Otherwise you’ll get a 500 Internal Server Error.
  • Stay away from Yahoo Small Business hosting if possible. They suck in the following ways:
  • .htaccess file is not supported (no pretty permalinks)
    • Performance is poor
    • Mail can only be sent from the same domain (for Contact Form 7)
    • The MySQL database host is mysql instead of localhost as it appears to be
    • phpMyAdmin has to be installed in a directory within your site’s root. It is s-l-o-w

My role: Design — 100% Code — 100%

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