I created this website in 2000 and it was little more than my signature and a copy of an old website. That website was called “The Pub,” and I made it when I had little idea what a pub actually was. Version 1.
I played around with new designs and techniques for awhile. Around 2003 I realized that I wasn’t actually creating much content on my website because it was such a laborious process: write something, format it using HTML, figure out where to put it, and upload the file. I had heard about blogs, so I started using Blogger (later I switched to MovableType). The slogan I created for myself was “Less fluff. More stuff.” I put together a design for the front page that I thought was adequate and went to work writing. Version 2.
I have made exactly 400 posts since I started blogging. That has pushed my site word count over 136,000—not tremendous output over five years by blogger standard, but still substantial. Having fulfilled my “stuff” requirement, I felt like I was able to turn my attention to redesigning my website, which I have wanted to do for a long time. My front page is still mostly static, an homage to the splash-screens popular circa 2000. I am still using the original MovableType template I adopted years ago, which is too narrow to accommodate photos I post from Flickr. I’ve made minor additions and tweaks to the site over the years, but the look hasn’t changed in the last 5 years. Plus the HTML behind the scenes is a complete mess.
I produced my latest effort using what I learned about design and web design over the past few years. I started in Photoshop and produced a mockup based on a list of requirements I had accumulated over years of blogging: I wanted special formats for book reviews, tables, and photos and artwork in a variety of formats. My last site design was largely before people had presences at other sites like Flickr and Facebook, so I wanted my new version to incorporate photos I post to Flickr, links I add to Delicious, and tweets I make on Twitter. After some trial-and-error I settled on a 24-unit grid that can handle pretty much everything I want to squeeze into it. Then I turned my prototype into clean, hand-crafted HTML and CSS.
I started working on this redesign ten months ago and I have been so busy with real projects and school that I kept putting off the final steps. I tried to jump-start my blog writing a month ago, but I was less enthusiastic knowing that my words would appear on my old fuddy-duddy site when I had some new hotness waiting around the corner. This past weekend I put all the parts together and installed my new design on the latest version of MovableType. Some areas of my site are broken, but if I wait until I have everything finished, I’ll never be done.
I know every paragraph in this post has started with “I.” That’s more narcissism than I like to engage in, but—hey—I got a new look and it feels good.