Relaunching, but with a system and a plan

reflection, Published 2017.04, Updated 2017.09

Like many designers, I struggle to maintain my own website. I will make a website when I want to job-hunt, at the same time that I am trying to assemble work samples for my portfolio. The whole thing becomes this intensely overwhelming and exhausting process that I abandon as soon as I can.

And, of course, during periods of happy employment, I have no place to showcase work that I am proud of, and no place brain dump thoughts or ideas…

I decided change the way I think about my website. And although it has taken me longer than planned, I am much more satisfied with this process and outcome than I ever have been with other versions.

What the hell was I doing wrong?

When I started this process, I knew I need to change my approach and make something longer-term and less-painful. But to do that, I also needed to understand why each iteration of my website in the past was so damn miserable. Here are the core issues I identified:

What am I doing differently?

This time around, I tried to identify key values or elements that would help address the pain points I experienced above.

  1. Robust and thorough case study pages (or project pages) and blog experiences.
  2. A system built on reusability: Simplified styles, chunks and layout blocks, and a smarter web development process for myself
  3. A solution that would allow me to host my own blog with a with a minimally restrictive admin experience.

And those three points are also how I ended up with Jekyll. While Jekyll is not perfect, I am pleased with my choice. Ultimately, having both full control and simplicity in process are more important to me than any hiccups I have run into with Jekyll & liquid.

I’m not done yet

There are some elements that I’m still working the kinks out of, and this this is just the first ‘release’ with more updates to come. I’m pretty excited with the things I am still working on, and some additional ideas I hope I am able to implement. I am happy to say I am not done yet.

And let’s be honest, your website should never be “done,” and that was always part of my problem before.