June 1, 2010

Introducing nateburgos.com

I never thought about having a personal domain name to present my design portfolio and projects. Not because I was against it. Rather, I was content with my work as part of Design Feast’s address: http://designfeast.com/nateburgos. It’s been this way for a while.

But when I was doing some domain name scraping at the start of the 2010, I discovered that nateburgos.com was available, so I bought it. It was impulsive, because domain names are fleeting, but I also thought it was just time.

Initial goals and efforts
With the satisfaction of the domain name I wanted, I worked on the interface. There were a few goals I had in mind:
  • My site will be a one-scrollable screen. Nothing wrong with multiple pages. This was how the previous version of my site behaved and I wanted to stick with it. There’s also something simple about having all content, all on one page.
  • My site will have fixed navigation—so scrolling doesn’t make it disappear.
  • My site will be mostly black-and-white.
  • My site’s grid will be self-evident.
I went straight to making a sketch:

Except for the interactions, the layout doesn’t deviate too much from my previous site. In late March, I contacted my webdev buddy Megan Coleman, who also worked on my other site of Design Thought Leader. Her reaction to the sketch was that it “…looks very clean and simple, very you!” By April 1, Megan made an interface mock-up:

One thing that I noticed was the area for the image. The width became shorter than the previous site version. This bugged me. But I got over it with a workaround: going tall and honing in on varied details of the work. This presents the image of each project like a collage.

Easy editing with Unify
By mid-April, Megan had a working version with, as she put it, the “fancy scroll-on-click functionality.” More fancy than this was what Megan recommended for editing the content. Designers can be constant tweezers, and I am certainly one of them. I wanted to edit the text and images of my personal site as much as possible. Megan recommended Unify made by Unit Interactive founded by designer and writer Andy Rutledge. Unify is described as “the simple content editor that anyone can use.”

I’m glad that Megan integrated Unify. Like its tagline, it’s a web-based tool that’s simple in its purpose and presentation, which made it easy to anticipate and use. I poured my content into the coded interface. The process was smooth. Having a good tool like this helped quicken work on the content. But it proved wise to wait and having let the content—mostly dealing with projects—take shape over time with my previous long-standing site. So I had a version of evolving content to work with.

Time and tool: a great combination
Now that it’s live, I took comfort in the two factors of taking time and using a good tool. Echoing Megan’s reaction to its design, my site feels like me.

Next steps: Update and tweeze nateburgos.com, over time.

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Update, 6-8-2010: Big thanks to Andy Rutledge and Unit Interactive for featuring nateburgos.com in their Unify Gallery!