About the Redesign

I’m happy with this here website for the first time in years. There’s still a lot to fix but since I nuked my website and started from almost-scratch a few months ago, I think this is a good place to stop and look back at what I’ve built so far.

Let’s take a look! First up, the new homepage:

A screenshot of the homepage

Of everything here I’m most proud of this page, and it went through a bunch of different iterations before settling on this big wall of text. I kicked things off by asking what I can do with variable fonts since I’ve never used them for the site before and I spotted HEX Franklin whilst writing Shadows.

In the notes for Hex Franklin it talked about “multiplexed spacing” where “each glyph maintains a consistent width across weights, allowing for weight changes without text reflowing.” I knew with this multiplexed spacing stuff I could change the text on hover without causing annoying layout shifts. What could I do with that? Hmm....

I was also thinking about how a lot of homepages are kinda the same thing over and over again:

(Emoji) Hi! My name is X and I work at Company B. I have previously worked at Organization C and Generic Tech Thing D.

Many times over the years my website has fallen into this same boring trap but there’s no room for mystery or strangeness or obfuscation! And considering I don’t need to make a single cent here on this website I can do things much more weirdly than I otherwise might. No introduction! No link to the newsletter! Just tiny extracts and quotes from the notes I’ve written lately.

I can definitely do something more visually interesting here though and push things much further typographically: What if I properly justify the text somehow? What if each line in this block were to be styled differently? etc. etc.

But for now, I’m happy with it.

Next up: the about page.

A screenshot of the about page

Ugh. About pages are hard. What do people really need to know about me? Does anyone really want to read this stuff? I struggle with that all the time but I think about what I’d like to learn from my favorite web people and then try to jot that down; a simple black and white photograph to make the yellow borders stick out, write a bit about my previous work, describe what the site is. And that’s it.

Okay so maybe I’m not so happy with this page after all?

I guess the reason why it’s so hard to make an about page for me is that the goal is so murky. What do I want folks to get out of this? I guess a photo of me, an email address, and then...what exactly? Ugh.

There was a timeline here but that got scrapped. It was a cheesy breakdown of my life year by year but it felt a little too self important and much too braggy for my liking. So that got cut, but perhaps I’ll return to it eventually.

Onto the notes page!

A screenshot of the notes page

So this page definitely needs some love. I sort of want this to feel like an archive that allows spelunking, like diving into someone’s favorite music playlists and private files. I want it to feel personal and overwhelming! So searching and tagging and organizing these notes is really important but I just haven’t got round to building that stuff yet. For now this is just a simple reverse-chron list of every note I’ve written but I did manage to go through every note (100s now!) and update the tags for each one.

To the essays page!

A screenshot of the essays page

So I spent some time tidying this up last night. I love the idea that these essays are small lil books on the web, fancy pamphlets, bootleg .mobi’s. I went through and read all these essays again to see which I should elevate as the official good stuff and I found a lot of them are embarrassing now. Shadows, Newsletters, Systems, and Futures still hold up—although Futures kinda goes off the deep end towards the midway point because I furiously wrote it from a hospital bed in a feverish panic.

The rest of those essays I don’t want to delete though! I still believe that everything I write should stick around in the archives, even if it’s sort of embarrassing. I don’t expect anyone to read them but it’s good to look back on something ten years from now and see (hopefully) a lot of progress in how I think/how I work. So that old junky stuff is more for me than anyone else.

For now this my Horrid Archive of Forbidden Essays.

And that’s it! I feel like I’m in a good place where I just want to build on these foundations. The Newsletters page requires a lot of work and is still unfinished (I’m wondering if I should archive every old newsletter there) and there’s a few typographic crimes that I’m committing on smaller screens. But so far, this all feels right to me.

Or if not right, then in the right direction.