Don’t call it a redesign!

Screenshot of my website from 1999The earliest version of “Jason’s Site” that I could find, probably from some time in 1999.

It’s more like a sneaky reskinning or a slightly-modified theme swap. No matter how we talk about this personal site refresh, it was long overdue. To understand my objection to the term “redesign”, we need to rewind this VHS tape back a bit. I spent the first decade of my career as a web designer during the web standards renaissance of the early aughts. I was always experimenting with the latest front-end tricks and used my personal site as a playground for crazy CSS ideas that were too edgy for client work. “Jason’s Page” started out on Geocities before being FTP’d over to UCF’s servers when I started college in 1999. In late 2002, I bought a domain, set up a web hosting account, and was born. I never intended for “Jasongraphix” to be my permanent online identity, but nobody ever spelled my last name correctly and the .com was available, so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It was around that time that I became a “blogger” (over on, of course) and then in January of 2004, after DIYing a half-baked MySQL CMS, published my very first post on this site. It didn’t take long to realize that I wasn’t going to be a platform developer, so I migrated to Movable Type, and eventually WordPress, keeping my post history intact with each move. Here are a few of my major iterations:

What you won’t see above is the most recent past design of this site. It was about a decade ago that I retired that dark theme, and switched to the minimal, responsive WordPress theme, Pinto by ThemeBeans. That change was both symbolic and bittersweet. I made the transition from agency web design work to user experience when I joined Mailchimp in 2010. I was still doing front-end work and blogging now and then but I no longer needed a web design sandbox to play in. Like the Mossy Frog photo above from my recent Mastodon post, that theme blended into the background, and allowed me to focus on content creation.

Fast forward to March of 2023 and while I still enjoy posting here now and then, have 0 interest in redesigning my site from the ground up. After a PHP upgrade revealed a few fatal errors in my long-retired theme, I decided to let Pinto go. I wanted this next iteration to have a little more fun and personality, but also still wanted the design to blend into the background a bit. I ended up using Amble by RoughPixels as my foundation. I did a bit of theme tinkering, generated the body background image in DALL·E, and decided it was time to bringing back the chunky social footer. So, as I said before, it’s not a redesign and it’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy where it ended up. Here’s hoping the next design update comes a little sooner.

P.S. Did you know you can follow this site on Mastodon? Just search for and follow and thanks to the magic of the ActivityPub WordPress plugin and content federation, new posts here will show up in your feed.

3 comments on “Don’t call it a redesign!

Ha, I didn’t expect “jaredigital” to follow me this far either. “Jason’s Page” used some dope filters. I think it’s about to come back in style.

Ha! Maybe the ICQ contact form will too!

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