Designing and building this website is in itself part of my process of inquiry – something that is very much in the origin story of this blog.
While I was formally trained as an architect and have dabbled in other forms of design, I do not consider myself a web designer, a a graphic designer, and most definitely not a UI/UX designer. My limited knowledge of these fields are based on casual exposure to it (because I am quite the nerd) and some learnings from more than a decade ago (which makes it grossly irrelevant today). Essentially, I do not have the ability and knowledge of techniques or technologies to be employed in the design & creation of this website but I plan to make all sorts of experiments and mistakes in this becoming process.
I imagine this internet place of mine to be gradually and lovingly built piece by piece over the years, and I am thinking of documenting and sharing that process as well. Where possible, I will share the thinking behind my decisions and indecisions, and would be glad to have conversations with you dear reader about these. All of this will be in the category “Site Notes”.
For now, here are some starting points for what is to come.
I do not have an aesthetic direction for the website yet. By nature, I tend to lean to a minimal, structured aesthetic. However, I am also getting curious about design elements that spark joy and delight, like Easter eggs and whimsical touches. How that will turn out will be part of this exploration.
I do however know that typography will be a big part of what this place is going to look like. Legibility, contrast, and hierarchy will be key considerations in the design when I get started on it.
For now, to kick things off, I am going default with Automattic’s WordPress theme, Twenty Twenty.
Being a website, the technology behind it is intertwined with its design. Given my limitations that I’ve mentioned above, my technology decisions are based on a few basic principles.
I like the idea of having the freedom to create something, break things along the way, and having control over how the content is used. Because of that, I have chosen to go with a self-hosted web solution instead of a hosted service like Squarespace or even Notion. At the same time, publishing content on platforms like Medium or worse Facebook, who monetise what I do and use their algorithms to decide what is worthy of being read needs to stop. At the end of it, I’m embracing the extra hassle, in favour of freedom and control.
There are many website engines (is that the right term for it?) that I could have employed upon going down this self-hosted route. I browsed open source solutions like WordPress, Ghost, Hugo and at the end of it, decided to go with WordPress because I was somewhat familiar with it from my occasional usage of it over the last decade. It also seemed to have a wider community of users from which I could possibly lean on in the future.
I feel that this is the key to determining what kind of website this will turn out to be. My desire to keep things neat and organised is a way of dealing with my anxiety and that has gifted me with a certain obsession with how things are structured or as some say ‘architect-ed’.
My limited knowledge of the world wide web tells me that having properly structured content is an important thing. It means using proper semantic markups and use of microformats where possible so that the content lives on the Internet as a useful and responsible piece of digital thing.
How to organise all these words and images on this website? What would the navigation structure and experience be like? How should I link and build up one piece of content with another? Categories and tags, which one? What’s the logic behind their use? Clarity vs serendipity?
There’s a lot going on in my head about this and there might be a lot of words written about this in the future.
What kind of content will live on this website?
From my Brain
I will inevitably be writing new things which will come in all forms. What things will end up here depends on life itself and where the boundaries lie will be a conscious work in progress. There are words meant for my personal journal, for my family, for my friends, for my therapist, and there are some that is meant for the Internet.
From the Archives
I’ve written in many places over the years and most of that have been filed away in a folder. I may dive into it to uncover some that may be worthy of re-posting for context, for reflection, or for its timeless relevance. However, that may be far in-between.
I may cross-post things related to me that exist elsewhere on the Internet. I may also share links to things that I find interesting here. As this place becomes a confluence of a great variety of my interests and lives, this place may get a little messy which makes the ‘Information Architecture’ component above more critical.
There’ll be more considerations and further elaborations in the future and you can discover these documentations under the category “Site Notes” in the navigation place of the blog. Till next time.