Why I Built Myself A New Website

Background

My first website was a cookie-cutter portfolio site. At the time of its creation, I was still a student, with predominantly print work in my portfolio, and had only the most rudimentary understanding of the basic building blocks of the web. I was proud to have my own domain and the ability to share my work. Fast-forward several years to today, and I've been out of school for a while, I've only worked on a few print projects since graduating, and have found myself spending more and more time designing and building things online. I realized it was time to build myself a new website.

Building a new site also brought with it the possibility of sharpening my development skills, and experimenting with a few new tools. In the planning phase of the site, I stumbled across a little CMS called Kirby and knew it was a perfect fit. It was light, simple to learn, flexible, and fun. I had built a few sites using Wordpress, and Kirby struck me as a more suitable alternative for this site.

In addition to learning the PHP necessary to build my own templates in Kirby, I decided it was time to get my hands dirty with Sass, and get more comfortable using Git in the command line. The final piece of the puzzle was making the whole site responsive. While this wasn't my first taste of media queries, it was the first time I built a site from the ground up with a fluid grid, and mostly proportional units for layout.

Design

When I started sketching, wireframing, and brainstorming for the design of the site, I had a few key goals in mind. I needed the site to:

  • Clearly convey information about myself
  • Provide easy access to my work
  • Make reading and viewing content as pleasant an experience as possible
  • Give me a place to write and share ideas

I sought to use the tools at my disposal to accomplish those goals in an elegant and effective way. This site isn't pushing the envelope or ground-breaking in any sense, but I think it serves my needs, and is hopefully a demonstration of my ability to design with today's technology in a way that is well suited to the content.

Writing

While I don't have much interest in keeping a traditional blog, thanks, in part, to Mike Monteiro's compelling suggestion that designers write about their ideas in Design Is A Job, one of my goals for the coming year is to cultivate a habbit of writing and thinking about my work. While I'm not sure these thoughts will be interesting to anyone but myself, having a place for them to live might prod me toward following through on that goal. I'm not sure how frequently I will post, but it's good to know I have the option. Occasionally I like to post some photos and more general writing as well.

So...

I'm under no real delusion that this new website is perfect, I'm sure I will run into many things I wish I had done differently, and I'm sure I'll want to rebuild it at some point. But for now I am pretty happy with how it has turned out. I've learned a lot of new things, I've refined some skills I already had, and I've managed to complete a pretty big self-initiated project. So for all of those reasons, I'm happy. But I'm also eager to keep learning and progressing.

If you are still reading and want to respond, hit me up on Twitter or email. Thanks!