joe agoglia memorial gets a redesign (ver. 2.0)

November 25, 2006

Of all the projects I've ever worked on - whether it be academic, community service, or my work as a professional web designer/developer - this is by far the most personal and meaningful project I've ever embarked on. From initial concepts to the development of the source code, it's taken me close to an entire year to finish this memorial website. As expected, there were many changes along the way - from changes to various web interfaces all the way to programming issues. But each challenge gave me a new appreciation for what would be the final work. I especially wanted this version to have a lot more thought and care from the very beginning, and at every level. Since my dad was a man of excellence, I wanted this site to reflect that same standard.

I also wanted this website to be unique, unlike any memorial site I've ever seen before. The challenge I faced, though, was developing a site that was both honest in it's content (i.e., honest with my personal reflections), but also left the visitor with a sense that they could get through whatever they were facing. Masking my own struggles with something that wasn't real was never part of the former site and will never be a part of this or any future versions. Some might feel that I should not be so transparent. I disagree. When we're honest with ourselves, we can be honest with others, and even be of help to those in similar predicaments.

Like others, I've come across a few individuals who caused much pain in addition to the loss of my father. Their words and actions were careless and only caused more heartache. I confess that even the Church - that community of faith I thought I could trust - was part of my own pain. In some instances, I found more compassion from those who weren't religious. They listened without judgment. They cared without giving me a list of do's and don'ts.

I've learned a lot from these caring individuals. But the fact remains that we're all imperfect beings. None of us have perfected the art of caring for those who suffer. We can, however, learn from our experiences and do a better job at caring for others.

Along those same lines, I pray this site offers you some comfort and even instills hope when you feel you have no purpose. And when you feel alone, may you sense that there is a community of people who share in your suffering. There are many who do understand the inner pain you carry. You can find meaning once again. It isn't an easy process. It will take time. But I challenge you: don't give up. Persevere even when you feel you're ready to throw in the towel. I haven't, and I pray you won't either. Hopefully this site reflects that hope I'm finding each day.

Interesting Side Note: The entire site was designed and developed at several remote locations. It wasn't developed in my office. I wanted to be inspired by the locations I visited and the people I met. So over the past year, there were several weekends I purposely left the area just for the purpose of being inspired and focused. Each location gave me the opportunity to have clarity of thought and an influx of creative ideas.

Objectives With This Project (v. 2.0)

  • Entire website should exude a theme of hope and encouragement, not sadness.
  • Use of strong, bold colors.
  • Use of details. (subtle and obvious)
  • Good use of typography.
  • Improve the quality of the overall presentation.
  • More pronounced use of visual imagery.
  • All pages should be printer friendly.
  • Should imbue an even more personal tone than the previous site.
  • Improve overall site usability, helping new visitors find information much easier.
  • Give others a new perspective on loss, grief, bereavement, death, faith, and eternity.