Redesigning My Website: A Journey Towards Improvement

May 26, 2024
 · 
4 min read

As I embark on the journey to redesign my website, bertmahoney.com, I find myself in a unique position. With a career spanning decades and a wealth of both expertise and experience under my belt, I'm searching for a new full-time role as a senior IC design specialist. This redesign is not just a cosmetic update; it's a strategic overhaul aimed at clearly communicating my value, background, experience, and future direction. I've been on the bleeding edge of technology for a long time.

Overview and Goals

What prompted the redesign of your website?
I’m currently on the lookout for a new full-time role as a senior IC design specialist. My career has been long and varied, and my website needed to reflect that. Until now, it has only showcased six case studies. I'm considering expanding it to include a general portfolio that covers all my design work: graphic, advertising, publication, presentation, outdoor, and digital.

What are the main goals you hope to achieve with this redesign?
The primary goal is to clearly communicate the value I can bring to any team or organization. I want my website to effectively convey my background, experience, and where I’m headed next. Ultimately, I hope that anyone visiting the site feels compelled to start a conversation about a project.

Process and Tools

Can you walk me through the redesign process? What steps are you taking?

My redesign process is organic and deeply subjective. The challenge lies in suspending my subjectivity to identify and address my shortcomings. I always start with a discovery phase to understand what I’m about to dive into. For my website, this meant updating content and devising a new strategy that leverages AI assistance and critique.

How are you incorporating AI into this process?

AI has been a crucial part of my redesign process for about 18 months now. I use Grammarly to clean up my copywriting, and I also rely on ChatGPT-4 and a custom GPT called "UX Builder" for UX projects. These tools have provided comprehensive UX assessments and prioritized task lists, which are invaluable for ongoing and long-term maintenance.

Which tools and technologies are you using for the redesign?

  • ChatGPT-4
  • Figma
  • WordPress with the Semplice Theme
  • Various WordPress plugins
  • Notion
  • Grammarly
  • Lighthouse
  • WAVE Accessibility Tool
  • WCAG Color Contrast Checker
  • Accessibility Plugin for the website

Design Principles and Standards

As a designer, what key principles are guiding your redesign?

I reference [principles.design](https://principles.design/) for a comprehensive range of design principles. I use UX AI to examine my website against the 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design, First Principles of Interaction Design by Bruce Tognazzini, and Ten Principles for Good Design by Dieter Rams. I create to-do lists from these assessments to incorporate as many suggestions as possible.

How do you ensure your website meets web standards and accessibility requirements?

I use w3c web standards validation tools for HTML and CSS, and the WAVE tool for accessibility checks. I then hand the results to AI to create a to-do list organized by dependencies.

Challenges and Solutions

What challenges did you encounter during the redesign?

The main challenge is balancing subjectivity and objectivity. Critiquing your own work as if you were someone else is incredibly tough. I draw from my experience critiquing paintings in art school to detach my ego from my work. Another challenge is avoiding the cookie-cutter format that many design websites follow. It's crucial to present content in a unique way that tells a compelling story.

How have you addressed these challenges?

To tackle the subjectivity/objectivity issue, I’ve asked close friends who know me and my work to provide feedback. This external perspective is invaluable. For the cookie-cutter issue, I’m experimenting with incorporating some old-school design elements reminiscent of GeoCities and Friendster, adding a touch of nostalgia to the mix.

User Experience

How are you improving the user experience with this redesign?

This is my first serious effort at adhering to accessibility standards, making the site more inclusive. I’m also fine-tuning many under-the-hood details to enhance performance and usability, with AI providing technical assessments to ensure compliance with web standards.

What feedback have you received from users so far?

Feedback has been positive. People appreciate the simplicity and ease of use. A developer I’m collaborating with was impressed with how straightforward and user-friendly the site is, which was very encouraging.

Future Plans

What are your plans for the website after the redesign is complete?

Once I complete the extensive list of tasks generated by AI, I’ll focus on optimizing the site’s performance. I also plan to start publishing blog posts, with my first one addressing the sensitive topic of job titles in the creative industry.

How do you plan to maintain and update the site moving forward?

I’ll set up recurring tasks, possibly with AI’s help, to ensure regular maintenance. These tasks will range from weekly to annual intervals, covering everything from minor updates to major overhauls.

This redesign is more than just an update; it's a comprehensive effort to present my professional journey and capabilities in the best way possible. By leveraging AI and adhering to stringent design principles, I aim to create a website that not only showcases my work but also engages and inspires those who visit.

We shall see.

Tagged: redesign · strategy · website
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LAST BIT
bertmahoney.com was made for you by me—Bert—on top of WordPress with the Semplice theme, hosting at SiteGround, variety of plugins, a sprinkling of custom programming for fun and effect, lots and lots of coffee—actually too much coffee—and 90's hip-hop.

Word.

 

 

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