It took me 8 years to launch this site
To be clear, I didn‘t put 8 years of effort into it, but I started and stopped too many times. I was distracted by design ideas, passing fads, trends, and new ways to use the latest tech to deliver an interesting experience. I switched CMSs. I went to no CMS. I got stuck chasing ideas. I was trying to make this website perfect. And we all should know:
Perfection is the enemy of done
– Someone smart who presumably finished things
So why did I stop/start here?
I decided to do a non-design, or rather, to leverage HTML and a minimal amount of CSS to concentrate on the content. HTML gives us great power without much work — isn’t it better to use for what it does best?
What did I get without much effort?
- Semantic meaning from well-formed and thoughtful markup
- Small file sizes and quick downloads (when we keep things simple)
- Progressive enhancement & backwards compatibility
What did I avoid?
- No CSS reset
- No CSS or HTML framework
- No jQuery or JS library — No JS at all
- No browser-specific hacks
- No web fonts
- Only 8kb of CSS
- This page has a 125kb payload
- Static HTML built with Jekyll
- HTML-agnostic content created with mostly Markdown (via kramdown)
A web for Everyone
My corner of the web is a minuscule part of a vast universe, but it is still mine and I still care about the people that might find it. By keeping the footprint of this site small, I hope the content will load quick in situations where connections are less than ideal, I hope the accessibility of HTML can shine because I am using best practices for semantic markup, and I hope that the reader feels the power to make my content appear in the manner that they prefer. I make very few assumptions for aesthetics that can’t be overridden by someone who needs bigger type or more contrast.
Plans for the Future
I don’t plan to be design agnostic forever. Instead, I plan to experiment and have fun with CSS and JS on a case-by-case basis. The blog will start simple, but when I feel that an article deserves some special attention, I will design it as a one off. No hard-and-fast system, but instead a chance to design to the content.
I’m excited about it.
Thanks to the following authors/sites:
- Front-end development is a Skill, where the author laments the overuse of frameworks and encourages new front-end wizards to dig into HTML and CSS instead of the latest framework.
- Quartz: There’s already a blueprint for a more accessible internet, where the author makes some similar points to some of the ones I made in blog posts for Oomph, but the site design itself does not pass some A11Y requirements.
- How to Build a Low Tech Website (running on Solar Power), where the LowTech blog builds a static version of itself completely solar powered, with no ads, no cookies, no tracking. The website sometimes goes offline, and the interface exposes the current battery power level as part of the design.
- The Rise of Green UX, where the idea is to reduce global data/energy consumption by creating and facilitating lighter web pages that consume fewer CPU clock ticks and less bandwidth
- The Bullshit Web, where the author gripes about the bloat of the web, and how wider roads doesn’t mean less traffic
- This is a Motherf***ing Website, where the simplicity of HTML is celebrated with profanity