This article was originally posted on my LinkedIn page.
So I recently updated my never-ending story of a website's once more, which required me to do some soul-searching to understand what I want and what I like.
My personal website, as you can see, has always been a playground of learning and discovery to me in the sense that I just couldn't decide on one damn direction to go so I kept changing it, designing, reinstalling, moving platforms and probably most importantly abandoning the entire thing once I couldn't find a direction nor share any actual projects with the world.
So this time I have decided it's going to be different. I will do this one more time, and this time I'll do it properly by starting from scratch.
One conclusion I came to is that, for better or worse, my previous unsuccessful attempts at running my own website have been filled with following design trends. "Hello, I'm X and I'm a coffee-drinking user experience audio-visual engineer" sounds trendy so let's add it to my website. Sliders! Icons! 3 DIFFERENT GOOGLE FONTS!
I just kept adding things without thinking too much whether I REALLY need them or like them. I copied ideas from many different websites, adjusted them to my needs and thus created iteration after iteration of an unholy abomination of a website until I had enough.
After my domain was vacant for quite a bit and I was done mucking around, I decided that now that I am 30 years old it's finally time to get somewhat serious. And by somewhat serious I mean going from like 1 to 2 on a some sort of seriousness scale.
What I came to realize was that I really didn't like or need graphics, flashy colors, JS libraries, massive frameworks, CMSs like WordPress, twenty different (albeit awesome) fonts and other distractions to create a place where I can share my work and some rambling about different subjects on the internet. I need my website to be functional, accessible and maybe somewhat pretty without adding things just for the sake of adding things. I want to create a place with information (whether it is useful or not is up to the reader). Not waste my time or yours.
This is how I got in touch with my minimalist side.
Now, I'm not saying that all websites have to look like motherfuckingwebsite, far from it, but I did start noticing that a lot of websites have unnecessary elements that (according to some) make them look more pretty but hurt readability and/or accessibility at the same time.
We all know those websites with horizontal scrolling, unnecessary parallax or sliders, terrible navigation, bad contrast, overly large images and so on. I, personally, do not want to jump through hoops in order to get to the point.
I wanted to find an example and boy did I find one - a poorly designed website with no less than three menus, large images, animations and other 'features' caused my MacBook Pro to overheat by utilizing way too much GPU resources for just one tab.
Your design needs to complement the content, not distract from it and it doesn't matter what I'm looking at: a personal blog, a portfolio or an e-commerce store.
Pay attention to what you use to accomplish a task - you don't want overkill. Be it the platform of choice, graphics, frameworks, libraries and so on.
Optimize. Do you really need 20 different analytics platforms? webfonts? 40 megapixel images? overkill frameworks and libraries?
Be mindful. Not everyone has a fiber connection at home or even broadband for that matter. Not everyone can (or should, for that matter) download 8Mb of trash to read an article.
By keeping this in mind, for example, this article loads in 120ms and the whole thing weighs just 5.3Kb. The no-CSS version loads in just 93ms and weighs 3.1Kb.
My website can run on a potato, can yours?