I've been inspired to redesign this weblog and my website. This decision has been hovering around the back of my mind for a while now, impacted by other nicely designed blogs (Douglas Bowman, Jeremy Hedley, Jason Santa Maria, Dan Cederholm, Jon Hicks, Greg Storey, D. Keith Robinson and Narayan Nayar to name just a few), internal thoughts on moving my creative and technical skills to the next step and discussions with friends on the subject of creativity, web standards and blogging.
I'm not displeased with the look of the blog now, but it feels too much like one nice face applied to a generally motley website. The old site is still there, crusty old-school graphics, broken links and all. The HTML code is a mixed bag, stretching back to 1995 and PageMill in some cases. There is no consistency of design that stretches across the entire site.
The minor problems I've been dealing with related to all of this became apparent this past weekend. It bothered me to see what a mixed up state my site was in. It's like a house, which over time gathers bits and pieces of your stuff. Sometimes you just need a spring cleaning.
Now I want to take time to build the site right. I wan to explore ideas for the design, using web standards (XHTML and CSS) for construction. Redesign is also a perfect opportunity to consider weblog and site features. For instance, I'd love post all of my travelogues and sketches. On the weblog, I want to display the book(s) and music I'm currently enjoying, have separate category archives, have a page of up to date links as I come across interesting sites. I'm sure as I think about it, more ideas will pop up.
Obstacles and Opportunities
One big problem is, redesigns take time, something limited and finite for me. I make time for my blogging over lunch hour or late in the evenings depending on the day and what I'm writing. I have a family I enjoy spending time with, I love reading and am involved in many other things outside of work and blogging. Life is busy — which I am certain, is the same story for everyone reading these words.
A discussion with Michael Ashby at the start of my lunch break today sparked an idea. What if I documented the process of a weblog/website redesign on my weblog? Rather than writing each day over lunch, why not spend lunch on Monday through Thursday on the redesign process, showing sketches and writing documentation about that process on Fridays? I thought this could be interesting for myself and would provide a glimpse inside the process for my readers.
The more I consider the idea, the more I like it. Today, I've decided to make this post my official starting point for the redesign process. My aim is to complete the redesign by July 1st. So, for the next several weeks, there will be weekly rather than daily posts here. Once the redesign is completed, I'll switch back to daily mode.
I'm looking forward to this. Redesign will be a good exercise of my creative and technical skills and an interesting journey to share with you. I'm very open to receiving feedback as I progress, so feel free to leave comments on the Friday update posts.
On that note, I wish everyone a pleasant weekend. Thanks for reading. :-)