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After more than a year, I prepared a huge update for this website. A lot has changed — especially under the hood — whereas the layout has been refined at lots of places. Looking back, I collected some thoughts on what the project meant for me and what I learned from it.

In my opinion, personal side projects are always a great way for trying out new things. However, the downside of that is always tht it takes a lot of time. As more of my work shifts towards design and conception, keeping up with the latest web techno­logies is often more than just a trivial side-task. Though I think that my CSS skills are quite good, JavaScript nowadays often feels a bit like rocket science to me. But that’s okay somehow in an industry, that constantly shifts towards more complex products and thus needs more specialists at some points. On the other hand, being a designer with some decent knowledge about web techno­logies is never a disad­vantage, especially not since the day we started to design responsive websites. But I guess the hardest thing to learn when working on personal projects, is how to cope with the non-existent deadline. I would say, the best result would be to end up with something between the minimal solution to accomplish your goal and that fancy result that tops everything comparable you had ever seen before. In the end, you should get something you can feel comfortable with and that suits your needs.

After finishing the overhaul of my website, I am happy to finally have a platform that fits my requi­rements better than ever before. When deciding to have a portfolio or a blog, there are a lot of things to consider. Eventually, everyone’s got his*her own way of writing or showcasing his*her work. Some people prefer colored, indivi­dually designed project pages, others prefer a rather plain gallery grid where they throw in a bunch of images and maybe videos. There is no right or wrong, it really depends on your content and in which way you want to prepare it for your portfolio or your blog. But finding that out can be another journey, which takes time and practice.

For projects pages, I kept the rather minima­listic approach of having two content areas, one that is primarily intended for putting images into it, but it could basically hold every type of content. The other one is the so-called Meta area, where projects infor­mation can be found. I also designed a new navigation, which allows me to add more menu items, if there is a need for that. The headline font Abril Fatface Bold Italic has been replaced by GT Sectra Bold Italic, because I started to feel that Abril Fatface – though it’s a beatutiful font – did not complement the archaic monospace theme of the site very well.

Talking about technology: I finally I got rid of jQuery in favor of vanilla JS. It was a lot of awful work, but I learned a lot and used the room to experiment on animations, transitions and special link underlines. I am very happy with a total of static resources of roughly 150 kB (includes font files, JS and CSS gzipped). I think speed is a core feature of each contem­porary website and should never be treated as a low-priority task in any project. I’m already excited about the new projects I will publish in the coming month and about the stuff I will write here.

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