Practicing What I Preach

After a good bit of simplification and streamlining, achieved through subtraction, I’m finally (mostly) happy with my site redesign.

Given that I started the year with a post dubbing 2015 the year of the question, I began my effort with one: how can I deliver the essence of what, how, and for whom I do what I do in the simplest digital way possible?

I came up with a quick, back-of-the-napkin design brief:

  • Single page (down from 10) plus blog
  • Swipe and hover action, little/no click through
  • Personal branding
  • Highly visual
  • Black and white imagery (but color on hover)
  • Red accents (my favorite color scheme, b/w + red bling)
  • “Real” over “abstract/conceptual”
  • Mobile-focused, responsive
  • Tight focus on the practical value I offer: the “what” and “so what?”
  • Communicate my philosophy without explaining it
  • Easily to connect via direct and social media
  • Retain WordPress blog platform

I know enough CSS, JS and HTML to tweak a template. I taught myself, because I’m constantly tweaking, and I’d both go broke and drive the person insane if I hired a designer. I’m talking almost daily stuff. Too, I like knowing how things work on the back end. So I hunted for a template that got me at least halfway to my ultimate goal, set up a staging environment, and went to work.

It was a three-week effort, mostly achieved in after-hours downtime. I pushed it from the development environment and prayed I didn’t break anything in the process.

So here it is: matthewemay.com.

Gone is the effort to appear bigger than I am. Gone is all the wordy content explaining every detail of my services. Gone are dozen or so downloadable brochures. Gone are all the fancy abstract images, replaced by action candids (courtesy of one of favorite clients, Edmunds.com). Gone, really, is everything unnecessary. Which was a goodly bit on my old site.

I’m 98% satisfied. Meaning the lion’s share of my design brief is met.

Icing on the cake: it’s actually a cheaper to host my site now…the bloated database of the previous site had carrying costs, in terms of dollars and delivery speed. The slimmer version is cheaper and faster, thus smarter. I don’t need a bunch of site-caching mechanisms to deliver a one-page experience. I don’t need much media storage.

What I’m currently trying to figure out, though, is why, on mobile devices, one of my favorite effects isn’t behaving: the grayscale-to-color on hover. On a desktop browser, hovering over images turns them from grayscale to full color. Not on mobile devices.

So I’m playing detective in my spare time, experimenting with different coding. I’ll figure it out, because I know it’s possible.

In the meantime, enjoy the simplicity.