What Authentic Boredom almost was

~ 20 July 2004 ~

Authentic Boredom comp (thumbnail)

For those of you considering creating a new personal site or redesigning an existing one, perhaps a look back at what almost was may inspire your efforts.

In need of a redesign, my personal site sat on the shelf and waited while other projects assumed priority. Although cameronmoll.com had been live for over a year (see the previous version by scrolling down to the old-school archives), I felt it didn’t fully represent what I was capable of designing.

So I forced myself to make time for a redesign. And as Robert Frost once wrote, that has made all the difference.

“Where to start?” was the obvious question. I had no idea where to begin. Fortunately, however, I had two things at my disposal: a) an existing design, albeit a simple one, and b) a photo of my oldest son, Everest, taken at a playground in Seattle. This is the photo that currently lines the masthead.

I go through about a dozen PSDs or AIs before I have something to show.

I knew I wanted to create a design that integrated those two elements, as they expressed a large part of who I was. So I began pushing pixels. As with any project — both web and print — I go through about a dozen PSDs or AIs before I finally have something to show for feedback.

The initial result of my efforts was roughly what you’re seeing now. However, as a fan and avid reader of Todd Dominey’s design/site among others, I was concerned his style had influenced mine just a little too much.

So I began yet another revision. Shown in the screenshot above is what Authentic Boredom almost was. In fact, at the time I was more pleased with it than the one known today. The layout was a little less conventional than the average blog, and yet it still held true to the initial style. However, I couldn’t get the left nav to work the way I wanted. In fact, it downright sucked.

The left nav downright sucked.

Disappointed, I returned to the initial design and posted a forum topic requesting feedback at amputate.org, a local forum for Utah-based designers.

Feedback was somewhat positive, but one comment confirmed my concern regarding Todd’s site. Lame. What now?

Little did I know, an unlikely chain of events was quickly forming in the background.

Turns out that on the version I had posted at amputate.org I had a link to Skyzyx.com, thanking Ryan Parman for the use of his date/time script. Apparently enough forum members clicked the link that my site showed up in Ryan’s stats log. Ryan visited my site, liked what he saw, and then submitted it to CSS Vault. Again, all of this was happening without me knowing.

The overnight tripling of traffic was much appreciated. The fact that only the homepage was completed, however, was not.

So I wake up the next morning to find that my site traffic had tripled overnight due to a shiny new listing in the Vault. By then Dan Cederholm and Greg Storey had also added linkage, further increasing traffic.

The overnight tripling of traffic was much appreciated. The fact that only the homepage was completed, however, was not. All secondary pages were still in the old skin.

The ensuing three days and nights forced me to scramble to finish the secondary pages. The concern about Todd’s site resurfaced shortly after full launch in off-topic comments found in this post. Thankfully, Todd put an end to the banter with a rather kind comment (see comment #38 and those that follow).

And that, my friend, is where the story ends. The journey, however, continues on.

What to make of all this? Honestly, I have no idea.

What to make of all this?

Honestly, I have no idea. I’m not entirely sure why I even chose to pen this article. But perhaps if there’s any wisdom to gain from it, it’d be to make time for what’s important. Stay the course. Never shy away from peer critiques. And above all, try not to be inspired by such a prominent blogger.



Veer Veer: Visual Elements for Creatives.
Stock photography, type, and killer tees. Genuinely recommended by Authentic Boredom.

1   Lukas Grumet ~ 21 July 2004 at 12:46 AM

i like your current design, and i like the one you showed here. cameron, i simply love your style :-). keep going with this cool stuff.

2   Matthew Pennell ~ 21 July 2004 at 01:57 AM

But perhaps if there’s any wisdom to gain from it, it’d be to make time for what’s important.

And remember to stick a mahoosive disclaimer on any ‘work-in-progress’ pages you post on public forums for critique…

3   Ronald van der Wijden ~ 21 July 2004 at 05:02 AM


Sure, the basic layout of Authentic Boredom, the use of greyscales and maybe some other elements can be found similiarly on many high traffic sites, but your own artwork easily makes it unique and distinguishable (Authentic? :D ) enough to never be called a rip-off. As a non-designer, I can only gaze at it in envy and despair.

4   Dave Marks ~ 21 July 2004 at 08:06 AM

No offence to WDIK but i think cameronmoll.com is far superior…

Keep up the code work Cammeron - my current website hasn’t changed since i first started hacking 3 or more years ago. I now do this stuff for a living (albeit more programming rather than design) and haven’t had the time to make any changes to my own.

I think you have inspired me to set aside some time asap and do something with my own site.


5   Dave Marks ~ 21 July 2004 at 08:07 AM

Sorry I also wanted to say - the current design looks much more professional than the jpg you showed, although i do like the logo and left nav on the jpg - prehaps you could work the header into this design… shows off your design skills!

6   Josh Bryant ~ 21 July 2004 at 08:48 AM

Wow, that screenshot that you posted is amazing. I like that one way better. Less traditional, more original and just plain awesome looking. That is one of those knock me out of my seats designs. I am sure you could find a way of getting the navigation to work now days using various techniques. It would be great to finish that one and serve it up as an alternate.

Excellent work, I am very impressed and still drooling over it. That shot will definetly be saved in my “solid sites” folder.

7   Ruben ~ 21 July 2004 at 09:25 AM

You made me laugh out loud with your supafly surf wagon.

That cool menu makes me want to say that I like the screenshot design better, but I actually prefer your son’s picture, I think. (Nice to get confirmed my hunch that it is actually your son)

8   Ryan Parman ~ 21 July 2004 at 01:19 PM

Very interesting topic. I’ve been working on a similar post for a couple of weeks now, on and off.

It’s always interesting to see another designers journey…

9   Jason Cale ~ 22 July 2004 at 06:21 AM

great article, and one that hits home im sure with many designers. I have little time to eat, sleep and do anything other than client work. And as soon as i have five minutes i will get around to sorting out my new site, or at least any site as its been down so long!

tonight maybe, yes maybe tonight….


10   Dave Neal ~ 22 July 2004 at 06:38 AM

Misery loves company.
The fact that you had any problems at all designing this site is paradoxically (is that a word?) suprising. I shouldn’t be suprised, because anything this well designed would have to take great time and effort, but I am suprised because it is so flowing and seamless that, well as the saying goes, you make it look easy.

Misery loves relief.
I would be lying to say that your design (among many others) has influenced my lame attempts. Nice to know that you had a least a little trouble along the way.

Misery likes beer.
I owe you one. Stop by anytime, I’m buying. It’s the least I can do.

11   Alexis Bellido ~ 22 July 2004 at 04:35 PM

What designer hasn’t been in that road sometimes? , feeling not so happy with his own creations, it’s good to see it from the perspective of a great designer such as Cameron.

Now I can only dream my blog could be featured in Simplebits or the Vault, anyways it’s a long and winding road until my next version.

12   Caleb ~ 23 July 2004 at 01:50 PM

I have had photos of mine stolen before and used wihout my permission. Heck I even found one web site SELLING entire gallerys of photos that where not his. It was sports photos. Needless to say I allreted some people who had work on this guys site and he was shut down in the matter of minutes after the most on a sports photographers message board. It amazes me what some people try to get away with.

13   Tina ~ 23 July 2004 at 01:56 PM

I came across this site awhile ago, and then forgot where I had found the link. This design I could not get out of my head I was so floored by it.

Lucklily a trip back to Digital Web Magazine brought back my memory.

This design is kickass, and it’s so refreshing to me to read about ‘design’ instead of standards. While personally I have just begun the transition to xhtml and do agree with standards, I do feel that sometimes creativessness seems to take a backseat.

This site is kickass, in both it’s design and content, and is an inspiration for sure.

14   AkaXakA ~ 25 July 2004 at 09:27 PM

That wip (Work in Progress…well, out of progress now) actually looks more authentic than your current design.

Also, the menu doesn’t look to hard to code to me. Then again, I’ve been coding the web for 7 years now (yeah showing off here), css sprites (http://www.alistapart.com/articles/sprites/) look like a good contestant for the menu.

If that’s the only thing holding you back, I’d be glad to help you make it a reality.

Then again, you hinted that you dislike that design now, what are the elements you don’t like about it then?


Authentic Boredom is the platitudinous web home of Cameron Moll, freelance new media designer, author, and speaker. More…

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