Some things in life run like clockwork. Bills come every month, taxes come every year, and seemingly every 2 years on a designer's internal calendar, is the itch to redesign. Who knows where it comes from?! Seeing a particularly inspiring design, visiting a museum, spending a day in the country, spending a day in the city... the sources of inspiration are boundless. Many of my best ideas have materialized while in shower! Regardless the source, the siren's call is undeniable. When it hits you, you'll know it.
This urge isn't bad - don't get me wrong. Wanting to make things better is always welcome. Unfortunately, many redesigns are soley about fashion instead of functionality and usability. Whenever I work on a product, I always ask questions about new / existing features. "Does this make sense? Is this new method of performing a task just as easy as the old way?" ...more people would proffer from taking their own UX advice and applying it to their own domain!
An Open-Ended Endeavor
I feel that there's a way to harness 'the Urge' for good instead of evil. When I recently heard that a friend was revamping their portfolio, I started noticing the faint siren call in the distance. Over the course of a couple days, it grew louder and louder to the point that it was time to look at my own. I keep telling myself, "This time, it's gonna be different!" The goal this go-round is to leave the visuals mostly alone. I love Helvetica Bold 75 with negative letter-spacing. Saturated colors are fun. I don't really need a new coat of paint.
One of the most enriching exercises one can participate in is learning without a deadline. This time, I'll work on everything under the hood. Learn about setting up dev and staging environments, learn about markdown rendering... time for a full-on code-straveganza.
Projects Thus Far
One of the biggest moves (that I've wanted since 2013) is to finally write in markdown and get rid of any CMS requirements. So I took about 10 hours and moved my writing platform from a custom, stripped-down version of Get Simple to a custstom, stripped-down version of Dropplets. Now, I write, then upload the .md, and it renders. YES! There's some initial render speed issues & potential caching that I will be looking into, but for now I'm pleased.
I addressed mobile navigation, moving to full-screen instead of my old-school dropdown. I'm cleaning up stylesheets and refactoring 6 years of technical debt in this specific codebase. I have also been migrating everything to version control in Git, which is a whole different monster (dev, staging, prod, webhooks, continuous integration... MADNESS).
Learning new ways of doing things without the pressure of a deadline has been really fun. Here's to knocking out more projects in 2017.