The collage turned into a gorgeous swish of color and flowers set to catch the drifting romantic feeling of the tear-sheets Eloisa had found. Then we began to apply content such as Eloisa's name, her photo, and the navigation. One problem cropped up: in the middle of the collage, four of the layers transpired to look like a baby's bottom! See best view of said bottom in Figure 9. Notice on the final home page, there is no bottom, ah-hem.
We went through over
25 refinements getting
the home page right.
The treatment of Eloisa's
name evolved from
a flat state (Figure
8) with an added dimension
I call a "pillow effect."
The navigation was
giving us a lot of
we did felt as if
it were just sitting
on top of this spectacular
collage. Pretty, but
of course, the historical
element was still
I pressed Eloisa for more of her personal insight and vision on this elusive historical element (without her input we would have definitely come up with fantastic ideas, but we wouldn't have been budgetarily responsible). She shot us an email: "Could we do some sort of lettering like the old medieval manuscripts have?"
Um, can anyone say "out of left field"?
Eloisa led us to links on the web from the Duc de Berry's psalter from the high middle ages. And as luck would have it, I had additional images from that time period in several books in our studio as well. We began drawing vines. Many many vines. Somewhere around the sixth or seventh vine we landed on the style that solved our navigation challenges. Figures 11+12 show some early versions, including how we tried to create the navigation on a vertical pole. Finally we came up with the idea of the horizontal pole and voila! Our navigation challenge was solved.
From there we wove vines, flowers, and bits of collage into a jewel-box of a website, one which maintains that all-important romance & history look and feel on every page, while marshalling the enormous amount of ever-changing content that makes up eloisajames.com.
We're so happy and proud to launch this site. If there's something you would like added to the site, please don't hesitate to contact us - Eloisa's site is always a work-in-progress. Enjoy!
by the Creative Director of Waxcreative Design, Emily Cotler
Eloisa loves offering her readers extra tidbits, and she loves to make her site FUN. So when she approached us with the desire to “hide” treats for her readers I said, “Great idea!” But I was thinking she was talking about a few little tidbits — three or four. I thought I would make some pretty sidebars and put them randomly around the site leading industrious site visitors back to her excerpts. “Like Easter Eggs,” Eloisa said.
“Hmmm,” I thought. “She can’t possibly know the technical term ‘Easter Eggs’, it’s too random and obscure a coding term. She must be just relating it to hunting for treats, like kids do on Easter Sunday.” And so I let my mind wander into the challenge of how to present the hunt for sidebars to site visitors.
But no, our Eloisa was surprising me again. She had done a little research of her own, and she wanted something more intriguing. And that was when I learned never to think outside too small a box when it came to Eloisa James. No, we we are in big box land.
Oh, and she had 27 tidbits (“For now,” Eloisa sweetly said. “I am sure I will want to add to it.”) And she wanted pretty imagery with it, too. Really pretty imagery.
“Like Fabergé eggs?” I asked, thinking of this much bigger box.
Well, now I was stymied. I almost was sorry I opened my mouth. How on earth were we to pull off a facsimile of a Fabergé egg in the visual feel and tone of Eloisa’s site? And then, how were we to build it so it wasn’t disruptive to the current successful flow?
So we researched Fabergé eggs and sketched and drew... We researched Easter Egg coding and tested and troubleshot. We built, we tore down, we rebuilt. We planned for how to make the project scalable (because Eloisa is sure the program will grow.)
When Eloisa saw the finished project she cyber-clapped. Success! Since we launched the Easter Eggs on the day Desperate Duchesses was released, readers and visitors have clamored for more. “Excellent content, and so fun to find.” And “I still need 22! Where is 22?” And “Thank you Eloisa for all the fun!” And so much more.
We made a handy tracking sheet, almost as an afterthought. I figured people would invariably make them for themselves, so why not give them something useful and pretty. When we saw that the tracking sheet had been accessed several hundred times in the first few days we were thrilled. More success.
So I now keep a little cut-out of a Fabergé egg taped to my monitor
with a small postie note underneath it that says "We're gonna need a
bigger box.” (Hat tip to Roy Scheider in JAWS.)