You will not believe how long I have agonised over this one small sentence but we are off now, launching into this first blog post. Welcome to the pages of my shiny new website.

Chuffed as I am with how much fun the process has been, it has had its challenging moments. I am not a designer and I simply can't "see" things the way that your average artist does. There is nothing visual in my head at all. When thinking about what I would like to create on this page that could truly represent me and all I am interested in (and maybe even interest others) it instantly becomes an empty waiting room inside my brain, the silence only broken by the occasional embarrassed cough, awkward shuffling of feet or perhaps a few discouraging sighs.

So how does the visually vacant lot of a web developer's binary brain create a website design? Simple. Force it into submission by turning it into a step-by-step logical problem-solving thing, leaving artistic expression bruised and shaken but otherwise unharmed.

And so this website started its life as a large empty png and slowly grew as I trawled the net, taking snapshots of little design elements here and there that I really liked. I pasted in a nice banner, some cute navigation styles, a featured post, some footer images. I roughly cut out tags, archives, search buttons. Little by little my Frankensite was born, growing over time as I started to meld the various elements from completely different sites in an attempt to make them look like they all naturally belonged together. The visually blessed among you will have no empathy for this process—what you can see in your head is all just myth, legend and kelpies to people like me. For this reason I urge you to view this design within that context and be awed by its charming but humble good looks!

Once I had my design bandaged together it was time to work out how I wanted to build it. There are some things dear to my heart that I feel this site needs to include. I couldn't get them all right this first time round but these are my guiding lights as I play, tinker and develop:

Simplicity

This site needs to just work. I don't want to rely on the heaviness of things like css frameworks, font icons, javascript or ajax. Simple blogs like this have no need for anything fancy. 99% of users are not going to notice any of the costly enhancements I could add. On pages that really (really) need it I will add it in, but where it doesn't add anything sensational...out it goes. This has been super challenging for me as my past has always had me sinking into the pleasant warmth of the Bootstrap bath with glittery Font Awesome salts and an ajax scrub.

Speed

We live in New Zealand. The internet is slow. No, I mean slower than that—much slower than you are imagining right now. Again, this means stripping things back and clearing things out. Do I really need that functionality, or that design feature, or that particular image?

Accessibility

What a huge beast this is. For me it means making my content available to anyone who wants to read it, whether on a phone, a text browser, a screen reader, a 60" television or a 1" inch smart watch. It shouldn't matter what kind of input device you are using, you should be able to read what is here and move to where you would like to go. Much room for improvement here but I am looking forward to the journey.

Semantic markup

I just really like rules. I like things to be in the "right" place. I like my towels folded just so and I like my content to be semantic and easily reused on different platforms.

Again, I stress I couldn't meet all these goals today and quite frankly I have put this website up only just cooked around the edges—don't go poking a toothpick into its centre as you'll find gooeyness. How exciting though to have so much more to do (and write about).