Always Try New Things
15 March 2011
Challenge is good. I think it's healthy to want to try new ways of doing things, or to turn your hand to something you may not have tried before, especially when we find that other areas of our lives are being simplified by the application of technology (OK, by throwing science at day-to-day living we make some areas needlessly complicated, but hear me out here).
Challenge is healthy. It allows us to set our own goals, to broaden our horizons, to find out things about ourselves we never knew.
With this in mind, I started work on this site in late 2010. I knew what I wanted to end up with - a little corner of the web that was mine, a personal playground, a place for all the stuff I couldn't do at work and didn't really fit into any of the other projects I was involved with. I knew how I wanted to get there - by trying out some cool new technologies (such as HTML5 and CSS3), investigating some new pieces of software (Perch and Espresso have become firm favourites), and pushing my abilities farther than I'd normally get the chance to (particulary jQuery and responsive layout design).
(Don't get me wrong - I love my day job at e4education. It's very rewarding and I feel like I'm doing something with purpose by creating websites for schools. However, the time and budget constraints involved in client work often mean I have to scale back some of my ideas and go with tried-and-tested methods. With this site, I had a clean slate - no real deadline, no real goals... but also no real direction, which resulted in quite a few false starts until I figured out what I wanted to do with the site. At least I learned the importance of writing myself a clear brief.)
I finally settled on a single-page site; part-portfolio, part-blog. Somewhere to write a few words now and again, and to test my ability to design that content individually. Somewhere to collect the projects I've done (and will be doing in future). Somewhere to challenge myself.
It's taken several months of stealing a couple of hours at the keyboard here and there, exploring new software, finding mislaid semicolons and swapping out textures to find just. The. Right. One. Now I'm looking back on the climb: the false starts and hiccups seem almost inconsequential as I've managed to get this far. But there's also a lot more ahead - I've not conquered the mountain yet.
Still, I can't help smiling - it's going to be one hell of a journey.