Don't break your arm patting yourself on the back

One of the very first things I learned about working in web design is that you have to find your own gratification. The boss can only pat you on the head so often and you'd better not hold your breath waiting for every client to recognize how awesome you are. I won't say that I crank out award-winning web sites left and right. (It just wouldn't be honest and awards are rarely lauded on small-budget sites.) However, I will say that I do my best to take pride in what I do. Surprisingly, this can require some effort.

Tight budgets, short production times and insistent clients all have their influence on a project. I wish I could spend a ton of time on a design or in production, but inexpensive web sites are inexpensive for a reason. Because of this, I typically have to glom on one small feature or detail and take pride in that. This can be anything from an image or button styling or a swank snippet of code. In the case of a recently launched web site, it's all three in one.

oceanbreeze

We recently launched Ocean Breeze Lounge , a tapas grille and bar in St Pete Beach. They've got a great vision and I wish them all the luck, but I wish I had more time to really flesh out their site. It turned out well enough, and it should make it onto our portfolio page, but more time and attention to detail can make a decent web site into a great web site, regardless of size or page count.

I like a lot of things about this design: the contrasting gradients between the page and container backgrounds, the detailed shadows in the mast, the clean and organized coding and its exceptional browser compatibility. But the one thing that really stands out for me is the background music player. Yes, there oughta be a law against background music, but I really like the player for this.

I used jPlayer as a starting point for the code, ripped a song from a CD one of the stakeholders produced and made an animated sprite to use as the play/pause buttons.

Sprite image used in the music player.

I'm particularly happy about the sprite. Objectively, I'd criticize it for its flaws but making the animated .gif and implementing the CSS/jQuery took little more than 30 minutes, so I'll cut myself a bit of slack and enjoy some self-congratulatory back patting.