I recently pushed out some updates to my personal website. What I was wanting to do is to freshen it up a little bit since the design has been the same for the past couple of years.

What were the main things I updated?

  1. I removed the Design links in the navigation and on the homepage. While I do have a background in web design I do not do any web design these days. I haven’t done any kind of design since 2017. I don’t have a portfolio and don’t intend on having one. There just isn’t anything new to add here. To me it’s just dead weight.

  2. I updated some of the images on the homepage. I think it just freshens the look some with new imagery and new color.

  3. I made the social media buttons a little smaller. I don’t think they need to take up as much real estate. In fact, I could probably go smaller or eliminate the section and just put them in the footer.

  4. I made some updates to what I will call cards. They are on my main art and web design pages. These are where I am putting my current/past jobs and experience. I also made tweaks to the list item borders for where I list my skills.

  5. I made some general proofreading fixes. It’s probably not perfect but some copy edits were needed.

  6. I made a lot of updates to my art portfolio since the work there is severely outdated. It still is outdated but I’m not making it look like it’s current work. I put the work into categories and added some work that fits each category. The work is still at least four years old but there is more variety. Part of this was creating a portfolio pages for each category. So there isn’t one portfolio as I find that could get really large as I keep on adding images. What I’m doing is displaying the Category links on the art page just like the project grid on the personal projects page. I guess what you could call it is a portfolio grid. They function the same and I think should look the same.

  7. I made quite a bit of “behind the curtain” changes too. First I eliminated most libraries and went full on vanilla JavaScript. I removed jQuery. I removed a library for CSS animations because I didn’t use many. I used one of the many animations and I could just create that myself so that is what I did. I also switched out my light-box to something a little more simple and it doesn’t require jQuery. My initial goal was to eliminate all plugins and libraries but I don’t think it’s necessary to “reinvent the wheel” when there are already tools out there that are far superior to what I can do or want to do.

Second, I made some architecture changes in the project. I’m not sure I like it all but there were some changes I made to my gulp file. I also created a couple more partials for my CSS so I don’t have to update every page head when I add or remove a CSS link.

I also tried to clean up some of the CSS. Remove what’s not being used and some repeating stuff that just isn’t needed.

In the end my goal is to make my website as simple as possible and cut out as much fat as I could.

What else can I do or want to do?

  1. Add more web development projects. I have other small projects I’m working on but it happens at such a snail pace. I do a lot at my job but that work isn’t mine - I don’t own it. When it comes to small projects many are just for learning purposes and I don’t think are presentable. My main outside of work projects are this blog and my website.

  2. Do something different with the social media buttons. I already alluded to that.

  3. Make updates to the mobile menu so the user can use a button to toggle the second level navigation view. Right now they are all visible while may be okay for now but I think it will look better and will be needed if/when I add more second level navigation items.

  4. Depending on on big the art portfolios get, I may add lazy loading. I may also automate these with JavaScript by adding the image info into a data file. It may become easier to do that if portfolios get too large.

Wrapping this up, websites are fluid and therefore are never finished. There will always be updates to be made and maintenance to be done. I started on these updates months ago and, then forgot about it, then didn’t have the motivation to make the updates. I guess the pandemic and having to stay home all the time gave me the motivation due to being bored. I didn’t have any excuses to procrastinate. Lets keep chugging along.