Website Redesign: Exercising Restraint

March 21, 2020

I think the hardest thing about redesigning this site is fighting the temptation to show-off. There’s no one here to keep me in scope. It’s almost too easy to follow a wild idea and find myself in the weeds working on something totally different than what I set out to do.

There’s part of me that wants to indulge the urge. I’ll be working on something, say styling for post comments, and start thinking about weird and interesting ways to make it unique.

But there’s the rub: unique doesn’t necessarily equate with good. Let’s say I chase those weird and interesting ideas for post comments. Sure, I can probably pull them off. But what will it get me? Probably something so unique that it becomes unusable.

So, I’ve been exercising restraint. I’m restraining myself from complex aspirations and erring more toward simple and boring.

Correction: I’m erring toward simple and delightful.

I’m looking for pleasant little surprises I can bake into this design. No, nothing like GPU-busting animations and transitions. More like light enhancements to ordinary interactions. For example, I really like the latest version of my homepage. I combined the content from the previous iteration with the blog so that I get the most of both worlds: a strong first impression with direct access to my writing.

Just check this out.

I love that. It literally take no page refresh at all to get from my “homepage” to the blog. The homepage is my blog and vice versa. No JavaScript framework in the world can make that transition any quicker. I may write up how I did that, though I’m sure anyone reading this already has a good idea of how it works. The point is that this is an enhancement of an everyday interaction. It’s different, but not jarring. At least that’s what I think.

Another small thing is the hover effect on some links.

🎩 Hat tip to Katherine Kato for the technique.

Again, nothing wild. But it makes for a delightful little surprise, doesn’t it?

Oh, and what about the background texture on the homepage? It’s kinda weird, but turns out to be pretty elegant when it’s toned down with a little opacity.

Credit: Hero Patterns

That’s mostly what’s new around here since the last time I checked in. This design is still far from done. My next task is to brush up the light mode color scheme. I’ve neglected it and am sure it’s awful — I honestly haven’t checked. My hope is to make it what dark mode was before I darkened it up even more.