What Authentic Boredom almost was
~ 20 July 2004 ~
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
Stock photography, type, and killer tees. Genuinely recommended by Authentic Boredom.
Authentic Boredom is the platitudinous web home of Cameron Moll, freelance new media designer, author, and speaker. More…
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A selection of fine reading, available for a limited time only:
- Jobs home page reorg
- Coming soon: Mobile Web Design, the book
- Dyson ad: Text as more than just words
- Setting sail for Europe
- Review: Sumo Omni bean bag chair
- Dashboard widget for Authentic Jobs
- Limited-time offer: $99 listings
- Nine skills that separate good and great designers
- Fire sale
- Introducing AuthenticJobs.com
CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standard Solutions A solid round-up of indispensable CSS design techniques by Andy Budd, Simon Collison, and Cameron Moll.
Mobile Web Design A guide to publishing web content beyond the desktop. Tips, methodology, and resources. Now available.
Letterpress Posters The unassuming beauty of a freshly letterpressed print.
That Wicked Worn Look. Techniques for that worn, aged, distressed look.
Mister Retro Machine Wash Filters Turn the dial to “Instaworn” with these filters.
Blinksale Dive in and enjoy shamelessly easy invoicing from Firewheel Design.
Basecamp My preferred web app for internal and client project collaboration.
HOW Conference Austin, June 24–27. Pentagram, Adobe, P&G, et al.
Web Design World Seattle, July 20–22. Practical sessions on web design.
Stimulate Salt Lake City, September 2009. Entrepreneurship and design conference.