Redesign of ika.ink

Posted on Jun 08, 2020

Web Development, Projects

After 5 long years, I've finally updated my website!


My website has gone mostly ignored over the past few years. It's ironic and a little sad, because I'm a web developer and this is my "thing". In my own defense, I'm doing this sort of work at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. The last things I feel like doing once I get home is working on another website. But my website plays a pretty big part in getting other things I enjoy doing online. There's not much else to do with my free time while quarantine is going on, so it was the perfect opportunity to dedicate some effort towards completing this goal.

Approach

So why did I decide to do a complete redesign & restructure? Besides the fact that it was so old and unmaintained I couldn't have avoided a rebuild, I also felt I had different needs in a website than I use to. I primarily highlighted art in my old design. But it was really old art I can't say I feel very proud of or in touch with anymore. I also threw some development & design items into the mix randomly. I was left feeling my site didn't have clear focus or direction. So I wanted to make a clear definition between my interests and different areas of this site. That's part of why I kept my homepage so simple. I don't really want to overwhelm a visitor with previews of random bits of mixed content on one long page. Who is honestly gonna scroll for that? There are three simple options of items to view; My art, my thoughts or my ambitions. Gallery, Scrapbook and Projects.

Gallery displays the visuals. My art or any of my creative endeavors. Oddly enough as an artist, I'm not very good at sharing things. I'm terrified of putting things out in the world sometimes, though I can't say for sure why. So I've set things up in a way where I'm posting these items for me, as a collection of what I've done that I can look back on. For this reason, the primary focus is imagery and not so much a bunch of text about a piece, explaining processes and translating thoughts. For that I've created my Scrapbook. 

Scrapbook is more the "blog" section of my site. I've traditionally always called my personal blogs "scrapbooks". It just feels more like what I'm going for. I normally post things I want to look back on and remember for one reason or another. 

The rest of the site is rounded out with Projects. I, like so many people, have a habit of starting a bunch of different projects and never finishing. I also very rarely share things I'm working on, so from the outside looking in, I don't think it appears as though I've got much going on. This whole pattern is rather annoying. So the Projects section of my site gives me some accountability. If I want to work on a project, it needs to go online and I need to update my Project pages as I progress. In this way, I'm really only going to put something up that I feel confident I'll come through on. I may add in a few past projects though, just so they have a place to live that's visible. 

Development

The biggest change is a switch in CMS platform. My previous site was build on Wordpress oh so many years ago. I don't have anything against Wordpress, it powers 30% of the internet for a reason. However, I'm not a fan of having to bend a blogging platform to act as a full blown content management system when it's really not what it was built for. It's either that or I make my site structure work as a blog. I'm also not into relying upon an inevitable ecosystem of Wordpress plugins to maintain.

Ika is now powered by FusionCMS, a "content first" focused CMS powered by Laravel. I'm currently on the proprietary version 5. But with FusionCMS version 6.0 in active beta, we (my team at efelle creative) have made the decision to fully open source the system! I'm so excited to share it with the world so please check it out if you're a developer. The decision was easy, not only because this is the platform I use at work, but because I can make the site architecture all my own and work the way I need. It means cleaner code and less bloat over all. 

    Design

    I kept a very similar color pallet to my previous design with blues, greens and accents of peach. But the composition of the design itself feels more professional. The combination of colors, fonts and basic typography remind me a bit of a school composition notebook. I'm very comfortable writing in notebooks. So in a way I wanted to make my site feel familiar in that sense. And I'm a sucker for a star chart, it's a really cool and clean aesthetic to me. I enjoy combining space and underwater themes in general, so while I'm channeling only space vibes right now I'd for sure like to integrate something aquatic in down the line.


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