Notes from a website-in-progress.
In November, I decided that I was going to code a new responsive artist’s website, instead of using a CMS like SquareSpace. This fateful decision has meant many weeks consumed with good old standbys (HTML, CSS), lost acquaintances (PHP) and new grappling partners (Bootstrap, JS, JQuery, Less). I’m really excited with how my website-in-progress is looking, but behind the scenes, my code, my computer, and my mind have become a crazy quilt, a patchwork worthy of Funkadelic.
My last post on this theme, Artists’ Website Advice (11/28/2013), was cheery and optimistic. Now, from the weeds, come these follow-up thoughts:
- Easier said than done!
- Everything takes time. And many things take much more time.
- The metaphor of a learning curve as a steep ascent is apt!
- Sometimes learning things the hard way means making multiple attempts, and ultimately only learning what doesn’t work…. if that qualifies as learning a thing at all: Finding its contours in the negative. A plaster mold sculpted from stabs in the dark.
- You can bang your head on a proverbial, nonphysical wall, and turn your actual meatspace brain into mush.
- Unless you know code or you need to make weeks of your life disappear, don’t attempt to code your own site.
- When I’m building things for others, I wish they could visualize what they want first. And though I thought I knew what I wanted in my site, there were many details I had to build, experience, and then revise. UX is complicated. Knowing what I like or dislike about other sites was enough to give me a general direction, but it didn’t replace actual expertise.
- You can’t please everyone. Technically, there are too many variables—devices, browsers, accessibility issues—to ensure a perfect UX for everyone.
- You won’t please everyone. My target audience within the art world is fairly niche, yet everyone’s tastes differs. I asked friends to give feedback to some sample pages. It was informative. It was not decisive. It helped me make decisions, and it’s also prepared me for the fact that no one will love my site as completely as I—it will be too big, too small, too much, and too little simultaneously for different people.
Now for some good thoughts:
- Indispensable tools: Automator, Photoshop’s batch processing, MAMP, Cybercrab Screencheck, Bootstrap, JQuery, Github.
- Benefitting from coder’s generous spirit of sharing of knowledge on the web. Even if I understand only 2% of it, it’s still more than what I started out with.
- More understanding and appreciation for what M did during his IXD degree; M’s patience.
- The light at the end of the tunnel.