Redesign Diary: Conundrum

Earlier this year I mentioned that I was planning to document a redesign of this site. In the intervening six months, client work, house decoration and various travels have conspired against me moving forward with this project, but another period of downtime provides an opportunity to forge ahead and hopefully complete this endeavour.

So, for the first entry into this redesign diary, I want to talk about a dilemma I face whenever I think about this website: who is it for?

If I consider it to be an advertisement of my skills and abilities, something that can attract potential clients or employers, my design sensibilities take over and I try to produce a minimalistic and professional portfolio. I look to my peers, and revel in the simplicity and focus of their sites, with beautifully presented case studies and perfect prose.

When I think about my own needs, I get excited about implementing IndieWeb technologies and experimenting with new CSS specs. Soon enough, I’m building a one-person social network, full of needless complexity and featuring a stream of unfiltered posts which can appear messy and ill-disciplined.

This dilemma is undoubtedly tinged with hints of imposter syndrome and a general lack of confidence that manifests itself as indecision. I could build and maintain a separate portfolio site, but that’s more trouble than its worth; been there, done that. I need to find a compromise between these two apparently conflicting needs.

Ultimately, I keep coming back to the same resolution: what is a personal website if not a manifestation of a person online? And should a portfolio really sit in opposition to that? As a reasonably open and straight-forward type of person, attempting to accommodate both the professional and personal in the same space may be difficult, but if I’m successful, this site will be the most honest reflection of who I am.