One of the more interesting and challenging projects I’ve been involved with is designing a website for IMAM, a non-profit organization that works to cultivate a vibrant, collaborative, and supportive Muslim community of strong faith and good citizenry in North American society.
Part of my discovery process is getting to know my clients well but, because I had no cultural or religious touch points to begin with, I proceeded cautiously — not wanting to unintentionally offend them by assuming anything. However, the client was very gracious and I discovered they wanted to learn from me as much as I wanted to learn from them.
IMAM’s existing site was adequate as an informational resource but the client wanted a more contemporary look and feel that would be more relevant to a younger demographic. One of the design challenges was finding a compromise between using happy, smiling Muslim faces to represent their target audience and honoring the tradition of limited human representation in Islamic art and design. I restricted the use of human faces to just the hero banners on key pages and made sure to incorporate some traditional geometric patterns when presenting the element collage, part of the visual design process.
A client request that the site be able to change colors during certain months of the Islamic calendar in order to present a more somber mood was another design challenge. Because we were working with a small budget, I had to be careful not to design a system that would necessitate a lot of custom code. After discussing some ideas with the site’s developer, we settled on creating a toggle the client could activate that would change out three areas of the site: the background image, and the background color of the header and footer. While it was a simple solution, the overall effect was significant because of the elements that were selected.
The client was very happy with the final designs thanks to frequent communication during the design process, a willingness to meet their needs, and a sensitivity to certain design limitations.