Site Design Refresh and Blog Reboot
October 25, 2015·
3 min read
A lot’s happened since my last blog post three years ago in May 2012, which partly explains the lack of updates. I moved to London, worked in Shoreditch as lead Front-end Developer at Browser London, went freelance switching to Product Design, got married at Lang Co Beach, travelled to five countries on honeymoon, moved to Da Nang, designed and built my dream house, and learnt Ruby on Rails.
Process has been another factor towards my lack of writing. I love using static site generators like Jekyll and Middleman for prototyping, but as blogging platforms they don’t work for me. There’s too many steps between writing and publishing – opening a terminal, running rake commands to generate a post, editing markdown files, commiting to git, and running rake build/deploy tasks. This gets in the way when all you want to do is write, and creates friction when trying to create posts on mobile devices whilst travelling (although there’s tools like Prose.io).
I’ve been tempted to reduce my site to a single page calling card and move my writing to Medium, but that goes against the Indie Web principle of POSSE (Publish on your Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere). With a personal website you retain control and ownership of your content. But there’s no denying that Medium has raised the bar in terms of the writing experience on the web. I’m currently in the process of rebuilding the back-end of this site in Ruby on Rails, and I’m planning to use Made by Many’s excellent Sir Trevor content editor (see the demo) for a great writing experience. This will inspire me to write more.
I’ve always thought of my personal website as a playground where I can try out new ideas free from client imposed brand guidelines, style guides, etc. The previous iteration of this site was focused mainly on typography, a great reading experience, and speed (page weight was less than 90 kb including web fonts). This was also one of the first website’s using Freight Text Pro as the body typeface as soon as it became available on Typekit – even beating Medium to it!
This time around I wanted to make the typography even richer, introducing Neuzeit Grotesk for headings and Calluna for the body. Page weight has gone up as a result (around 280 kb), but the site is still fast and I think it’s a good trade-off. Whilst I liked the old design, I felt that it was too safe and dare I say it, apologetic. So this time I wanted the design to be bolder, more vibrant, and more confident.
- New typography
- Vibrant colours
- Higher contrast (darker text and white background)
- Looks even better on mobile
- Updated Work and About pages (new content and photos)
- Updated avatar photo
I’m excited about my own little space on the internet for the first time in years and have lots of blog post ideas that I can’t wait to share.
Next time I won’t leave it three years…