Chris Scholtens


Web Artificer

[ Who Am I? ]


What is an Artificer anyways?

I am a Web Artificer based out of Madison, Wisconsin. When I create a website, I combine a client's wants, needs, and nice to have features with modern design and a focus on a positve, easy to use experience. All my designs emphasize your content, because your website should exist to serve you. I'm proud to work with you to create a website that meets your needs.

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Chris Scholtens
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[ WHY CHOOSE ME? ]

I've been designing and creating websites for seven years. In that time, I've worked with clients from large corporations to small mom and pop shops. I will use my years of hands on experience in the industry to build you a strong presence on the web. From start to finish I will work with you to take your ideas and goals, and turn them into a finished website.

I understand websites aren't where you want to spend your time and attention. By combining the latest web technologies with thoughtful, elegant solutions, I'll help you make sure your site will meet your needs well into the future.

[ Process ]


What I Do

From the very first meeting I have with a client, I want to get to know you. What do you want your website to look like? What do you want it to be able to do for you? Who will be the main users of your website? The background information I gather helps color and guide my designs.

Before I start the actual design of any site, I make sure I understand and have an organizational scheme for all the information on the site. Information architecture and heirarchy help future users find what they are looking for quickly, and help them understand and retain what they see and read.

“I strive for two things in design: simplicity and clarity. Great design is born of those two things.”
― Lindon Leader

Once I have a plan for organizing the content on the website, I start designing the look and feel of the site. Websites today average more than 45% of their traffic from mobile phones and tablets. With that in mind, I design pages from a mobile-first perspective. Rather than shrinking a full size website down, I give a site plenty of room to expand into larger screens. And using modern web technologies, a site can be responsive, adapting to any size screen automatically.

At every step of the process, I work with my client to make sure that they approve the work. Your website should be what YOU want!

Once the site is built, I begin testing it with real users. Observing how people interact with the website can help identify common areas of confusion, desired paths to information, missing features, and any potential bugs. The motto of any successful website launch should be "Test early and test often!"

When any concerns identified in testing are addressed, it's finally time to launch the website! I can help you navigate the muddy waters of domain names, web hosting, FTP, and more, so that your website is online at your web address.

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[ Sample Portfolio ]

Here are some websites I've enjoyed working on, along with some of the challenges that arose when working on them.

DonFish.TV

DonFish.TV

Don Fish is a video producer, director, writer, and editor. The absolutely essential feature on his site was the ability to have self-hosted video clips. Because much of his footage is proprietary, I couldn't rely on 3rd party hosting solutions.

Another phase of the project helped with re-branding Don's site. I pitched the idea of the film/fish skeumorphism, and he loved it. Implementing a darker color palette, I was also able to design a space for him to provide partner links.

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Summer Games University

Summer Games University

Summer Games University is a non-profit organization that puts on a Christian sports camp each summer. As a small organization, they needed strong brand identity and clear navigation on the site. Prior sites received complaints about not being able to find information. Additionally, a secure payment portal was needed to collect down-payment and remaining balances seperately.

Challenges for this site included limited calls to action, short project turn-around time, and lack of content. Working with the client, I was able to incorporate additional informative sections as the need for them arose. Additionally, the framework for the site was rebuilt using Bootstrap, allowing for much easier updating each year, as a new camp theme is introduced.

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Find a WHEDA Lender

Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) was looking to modernize the user interface of an existing web app that helps consumers look up/locate lenders that provide WHEDA mortgages. Incorporating current website branding and styles was a key concern, but the business logic of the app and the database connections were beyond the scope of the project.

Because the app was originally designed in the early 2000s, not only was it not mobile friendly, but all the layout was done using tables. This created significant issues in layout and design, as I couldn't change the functionality of the app, including how the tables were rendered. To solve this problem, I was able to create all the content in a single, larger cell, allowing me complete control of all of the elements using modern CSS.

Challenges for this app extended beyond the issues with layout. The app had to be created, but display on a page in an iframe inside their Ektron CMS based website, so that the app would always maintain the same header/menu system. Additionally, the app URL had to be converted to a secure site, as their website had transitioned to an HTTPS site, which would not allow an HTTP site to display in an iframe.

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Marengo First United Methodist Church

This small town church needed to update their website to introduce new branding, and include the capacity to post sermon videos online.

The only challenges I encountered in this process were in keeping a consistent group of church volunteers who wanted to be trained to maintain the site. Eventually, the church hired someone who was paid to keep the site updated, and this issue resolved itself.

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WHEDA Interactive Timeline

For the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority's 45th anniversary, I designed and coded an interactive timeline, covering their history.

The only challenge in this highly enjoyable project was getting all the content organized ahead of time.

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The Plaza in Bella Vista

The Plaza in Bella Vista is a retirement co-op for persons 55 and better in Bella Vista, Arkansas. Their limited web presence had been maintained by a former resident, and was not mobile friendly. Additionally, when the resident left the co-op, they refused to grant access to the domain and hosting, meaning the website had to be re-built from scratch.

Because the target audience is more elderly, a large priority was placed on ease of use. Visual hints, clear calls to action, and multiple ways to find the same information all played key roles in accomplishing this goal. User testing revealed that direct email addresses and phone numbers were preferred to a contact form, so I worked with the client to incorporate new generic email addresses and a dedicated phone number, to help with potential spam.

Challenges for this site included building a site that could be maintained by the client, utilizing Wordpress CMS, because it would not entail additional costs. This meant extensive training for the client.

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[ Contact Chris ]

If you would like to disuss your web project with me, feel free to reach out to me via email, on Facebook, or via LinkedIn. I try to respond within twenty-four hours of receiving a message, and usually manage within the hour!