Looking back to look ahead

Looking back to look ahead

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I launched the first version of this website in 2007, somewhere around the time Steve Jobs announced Apple iPhone.

Since then I’ve redesigned the website almost every year and with each new version of the site came a visual refresh, and the adoption of new features & technology that I wanted to learn for my upcoming projects.

It started as a hand-coded static site in HTML, and CSS. Over the past years, it moved to WordPress, powered by various themes including Genesis, GeneratePress, and a custom theme based on Underscores.

Last year, I moved the site to Full Site Editing(FSE), built on a custom block-based theme that I coded from scratch.

Through the Wayback Machine I was able to find what the site looked like back in the day.

Here are a few versions (although the one below isn’t the first version of the site, it’s the earliest I could find that looked intact, more or less!)

Some personal insights:

Looking back at the previous versions I had a few interesting and surprising observations:

  • I had a newsletter sign-up form on my site for more than a decade. I even came up with clever names for the newsletter, designed the header, and set up Mailchimp (and collected over 200 subscribers), but never got around to sending even 1 newsletter. I did enjoy the process of designing, and writing content for the email sequence.

Maybe it’s time to take a hard look at this goal and see if it’s something I really want to do?

What might be the right thing to do might not be the right thing for me.

How can I do more of what I enjoy doing?

  • Some of the elements like the Golden Gate Bridge, and the world map have been a part of the site for over a decade. I let go of them in the latest version, to keep the site minimal.

Does minimilism mean letting go what defines you and your style?

  • It took me almost a decade before I was comfortable having my photo on the site. Even then, I started with an avatar image before going to a full-length image of myself.

I know there are privacy concerns and all but I believe having a personal photograph or even a headshot adds more credibility to the site.

It gives a personal touch and helps to build trust and connect with your audience.

In a distributed work environment, this is added bonus.

  • I went from doing it all-web, identity, and print- to honing into front-end development for agencies & designers, niching down to WordPress development, and now writing about WordPress. It’s been an experiment, one that I will continue to do.

Embrace the detours. Life is not a straight line for anyone.

Kevin Kellly
  • I loved writing content for my site. I planned on having a blog since the first version but never got around to writing. Why?
    • Because I was a perfectionist.
    • Because I thought I had nothing to write or add to the conversation.
    • Because I was scared of being judged.
    • Because I didn’t trust my opinions enough to think I should share them.

Do it anyway.

Its a great way to connect with like-minded folks.

My perspective is unque to my experiences.

My articles don’t have to be earth-shattering.

My skills will improve over time.

  • Hiding behind the “We” in the copy and pretending to be an established company when it was only me and when I never planned on having a big team.

Its ok to stay small and be a team of 1.

  • I love the flair of a script font and always had it somewhere on the site. For the latest version of my site, until I added a script font logo, it felt incomplete-like it was missing my personality.
  • I loved designing for myself, maybe I should do more of it.
  • My love for the color, orange (if you ever visited my home you won’t miss it) has clearly stood the test of time.
  • I embraced the dark mode way before it was a thing.
  • My choice of font type has always been sans-serif.

Some things never change!


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