I’ve been experimenting with this new site of mine for about five months and I’m really happy with how things are progressing.
The story so far
I’m posting about as often as I ever have here, mostly because I’m a fantastically wishy washy and slow writer. Writing takes up the lion’s share of my time on any given post, with design and code amounting to a comfortable reprieve. I’m admittedly being very conscious of how much time I spend on design so that I can see how viable this is for publishing. Consequently, my designs are fairly minimalistic (though I am very pleased with a few entries).
I’ve continued to improve little corners of the site since launching, usually resulting a quiet posting week here and there. I just finished upgrading some of my CSS and sIFR files, which consequently helped me simplify my publishing process.
I haven’t written about the technical side of how I’m creating this site because, not only is it pretty basic, but I’m also hesitant to suggest it as a technique alone. Meaning, it doesn’t matter how this site is made from a technical perspective, I’m much more interested in promoting the idea of considering how design can enhance content.
The story to come
I’ve noticed some of my designs feel limited by my writing. In the same way you typically hear your thoughts in your own voice, I visualize my writing in a particular way. I don’t think the design here is bad, but I have design ideas in mind that don’t really work with my writing. Because of this, I’m interested in getting some content conspirators involved so that I can design around some new voices.
I’m still brainstorming where to go with this idea—getting others to write content is difficult at best, and interviews can be a bit bland—but one approach I’m thinking of is somewhere between an article and an interview. For instance: asking guest authors to answer a single common question, something sorta wide open, that way it’s just a response on one topic rather than a typical interview setup. This will hopefully put low strain on contributors and still allow me to play with some new content. This is the natural end result of the real point, editorial design for context. Not just mine, but from contributors too.
I believe I can somewhat confidently say that what I’m experimenting with here could work for an industrious magazine or newspaper website. Obviously, this design is very much tied to me and what I’m using it for, but the theories and methods are extensible and feel sound. In the end, it isn’t supposed to be a design trick, or worse, a hindrance to publishing. It’s about finding the meaning of a story through design. This doesn’t always equate to anything more than competent design, but it should equate to visual languages that help make content more powerful.