Writing

Eating your own dog food: on designing my website

One of the most frequent pieces of advice I give to the startups I work with is: "Design iteratively — the first version doesn't need to do everything and it doesn't need to look perfect either."

The fact is, however, that I have failed to follow my own advice when it comes to this, my own personal website. Failed miserably.

I've thrown out about 6 fully-featured, full-coded and decent-enough looking versions of this site over the last few months. Thats hours of work and countless evenings I could have devoted elsewhere.

This had to stop.

So last week I took a step back. I asked myself, what advice would I be giving to someone else in my position? And what I'd be saying — no, yelling — is: "Ship it! Get feedback! Stop faffing!"

So this new iteration of the site is just that, an iteration. It's not perfect (the responsive layout is a bit borked for one), but it does what I needed it to do right now: provide a place for me to write.

There are plenty of rough edges that I am going to sand off as I go, but I'm only allowing myself a couple of hours each Sunday to do that. I don't want to get stuck in that indulgent cycle of permenant redesign — a cycle which has nothing to do with iteration. In some ways this will be a exercise in Designer restraint.

I'm also hoping to get some constructive feedback from you, dear Reader. After all, the next piece of advice I give startups most regularly is "Go out and talk to your users. Don't design in a vacuum".