I Re-did My Site... Again

Written by Yaron Schoen August 12, 2011

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So.. yea. I redesigned my site. Again. Despite getting some dearly appreciated good feedback about my previous site, I couldn't stand it anymore (just like I couldn't stand the one before that). Now, you're probably thinking to yourself, wtf Yaron!? Don't you have anything better to do? Do you really have time for this now? Well, in all honesty, I have no idea. All I can say is that when I get an urge to redesign my site, it tends to be all I can think of and there is hardly any point of fighting it. Besides, I already had a few old concepts lying around from my previous re-align but that were never used, so it was a short road from "why not?" to a modified and coded result.

So what's new?

Removing things or: How I failed last time.

The initial idea for the previous redesign was to remove things that I didn't need. Alas, I failed miserably. I still had tons of stuff in it that just served no purpose at all. I am not sure how it happened, but when I look at the old site, I can see how miserably I failed at what I aimed to do. Removing elements is not as easy as it seems folks.

This topic deserves a separate blog post. Will get to that soon.

CMS or: Control your own craft.

One of the biggest problems I had with the previous version was that it required me to use Expression Engines. Now don't get me wrong, EE is great. In fact, it is my favorite CMS by far. But for me, a web designer with the ability to code up a page, it was kinda pointless to have a cms. It's not like I blog everyday. Heck, I barely get around to it every month for that matter. So hooking up a bloated CMS for what would be one article a month (on a good month), seems utterly ridiculous. No matter how flexible the CMS is, it will always restrict you to a certain development process. In short, it held me back.

Inspired my my friend Dan Mall, I went commando stripping the site from its CMS completely. What you see here is all hand coded baby! That way, I can go all crazy with HTML, layouts, grids, and media queries, all the while learning from my experimentations without having to abide to CMS logic or rules. No restrictions. Did I say commando?

Much like the previous topic, CMS deserves a completely separate blog post too. I'll try to get to that soon.

No comments or: What you are saying is very interesting but...

Comments are great, it gives you instant gratification and is a great indication that people read your post and agree or disagree with it. But in this version I am going with my gut which tells me to remove them. Besides, they where never really good for conversations. That's what Twitter or Google+ are for. I am not saying comments are wrong, I just don't feel that they add anything to most of my posts. When I feel the subject is one that should be open to comments, I may just hook up Disqus or something.

Case studies or: How not to lie to yourself.

I've got a confession to make. I hate my old work. There, I said it. I guess every designer is a little like that. We're cursed. In my previous portfolio, I coated this issue up with nice case studies, but I now come to realize that what began as a take on associating design with content, became a convenient way to hide the fact that I hate my old work. In this version, I will provide custom case studies to the ones i want to highlight, not vise versa.

Responsive, not Adaptive... or: Whatever.

The previous site was really my first site attempt at working with media queries. It was actually my first time coding HTML/CSS in over 5 years, so it was really just a neat way for me to get my head around coding again. I cannot stress enough how important that was. I started out as a hybrid designer/front-ent dev 11 years ago. Then Flash became big, and I slowly abandoned HTML, then I joined Fi and Aol, where I was not allowed to do any markup at all (which is crazy btw), so after going freelance I felt a void in my abilities to design for the web. Brushing up on code was a must. Anyways, to make a long story short, I feel way more comfortable with front end coding. This is why the site no longer works with a CMS and I was still able to create a fully responsive website. Thanks to the fine Paravel folks, I'm using their interpretation of a 960 responsive grid, with my slight modifications here and there.

A work in progress or: Chill, I'll get to everything.

There is a lot of work still left to do, I know. The most important for me to address first thing, is the URL structure. Right now, because there is no CMS and I am hard coding everything, there is no way for me to direct to a link without .html. There is probably a stupid simple way that I am missing, but this is definitely first on my priority list. Thanks to Dan, my hero, I have created a quick solution to this "problem". The URL structure is much more solid.

RSS needs to be hooked up, because... well... just because. Another huge thanks to Dan. I now have an RSS feed! Unfortunately this is a completely new one and will not be tied to my previous feed, so you will need to resubscribe. Sorry for the hassle, though it really is only two clicks you lazy bum.

Update: Still not sold on the navigation between case studies and articles. Will probably address that when I have a better idea on how to make it work.

To make a long story short, lots more to do, this will be a work in progress. I know this is a pretty radical departure from my previous site. That said, I am the same ol' Yaron and I hope you decide to stick along with me through this crazy ride.

Written in New York. © 2013