I’ve attempted to build my personal site a number of times over the last few years, but it never really got it off the ground. There are many reasons why and I’ll list a few here as I think some people can associate with them but also as a reminder to myself.
When I had spare time to work on websites, my own site always ended up at the bottom of the priority list, losing out to paid work. I’ve since learned that the stuff you play around with yourself makes your work better. Just because something doesn’t make money, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.
A good designer relishes constraints. Working on a personal project can be challenging because you determine those constraints. It feels like your chance to try out all those ideas you’ve ever had but never got to use. You’re unfettered by the opinions of clients or co-workers. I wanted to do everything so I ended up doing nothing.
This one is simple, when you can’t find the motivation to do something, it doesn’t get done. Early on my motivation was just “I should have a website”, which obviously wasn’t enough!
Over the last few months I’ve tried to focus on exactly what I wanted to get out of the site and plan the simplest path to getting there. It didn’t matter if the site was the prettiest or the most technically interesting if no-one could see it. I had to keep reminding myself to keep it simple.
Part of this refocus was my decision to include a blog and put it front and centre on the homepage. My hope is that it will help me catch and hold onto my thoughts. The process of writing for others allows thoughts to percolate, be distilled and refined, become clearer. Its also like the old adage that you know you understand something when you can teach it.
I have long been inspired, entertained and educated by writers like Marco Arment, John Syracusa, John Gruber, Frank Chimero, Dan Cederholm and many others. It’s through their words that I’ve seen the value of writing and sharing knowledge. I’ve always taken great pleasure in teaching and explaining things to people so I want to take that online.
So what can you expect to see here? Well, I definitely want to share my experience of working as a web designer. There’ll hopefully be some design and web related tips and tutorials, links to things I find interesting and maybe a few rants if you’re lucky.