How I tried to make my personal webpage and failed miserably

Some of the mistakes I made even if I should have known better.

The beginning

I started this year, 2021, thinking about making my own site to have all my online presence on one site.

(RIP to my online presence, I have none)

I wanted to do some freelancing on the side, and what better way to start than having an online portfolio, right?

I was SO wrong.

The beginning of the problem

First of all, what, exactly, was I going to display? My lack of side projects? All the articles that I never wrote? The blank space was, to put it lightly, an issue.

But the Internet keep telling me that I needed an online portfolio, my own domain, and all that jazz. So I kept at it.

My first actual step on this journey was thinking, okay, let’s buy my own domain and from there on, everything is going to… Flow? Become easier?

I’m actually very skilled at convincing myself of unrealistic things.

Having my own domain

So, I went to google domains, because being a dev I thought that having a .dev domain was the absolute best, and bought one.

That was the first step, and by far, the easiest one.

And then, even after reading marketing, branding, UX/UI, and all the related articles, I went and made a design that took none of that into consideration.

The first attempt

I’m going to post a screenshot, just so you can see my first attempt.

I think it was a good first design, considering I have absolutely no design background except for a couple of courses, and my artistic eye it’s… not good.

But when I started coding it, pure, barebones HTML and CSS, I started to dislike it.

It was very basic and didn’t reflect me at all.

Also, I wanted to make clear a bit of my own identity: a queer woman, looking for work (obviously) but also to collaborate with communities close to my own identity.

But I didn’t give up (well, after a week of intense soul searching, I mean, design inspiration) and started designing a second site.

And faced the same problem: it was better than my first draft, but it still didn’t reflect me.

The homepage from my second design, showcasing my heading
The second part from my design, showcasing a bio

I found myself trying to incorporate lots of nice-to-the-eye tricks, but didn’t address the underlying issue.

Namely, that I have no real experience in starting this type of project.

Trying to get organized

After some intense googling, I managed to find three broad areas to define:

  1. Branding: who I am, how can I best represent my identity, why I’m a good solution to a customer problem?
  2. Design: how can I convey (visually) my brand to the user, what is going to be my design system, what typographies I’m going to use? I’m going to sketch using pen and paper, and then go the digital route. It’s something that worked really well for me when I created Femball [ADD LINK].

So I also thought that if I documented really well all my processes, I also have the added benefit of having a complete case study for a real problem to show to prospective clients.

3. Development: even if I’m a software developer, I want this to be the last phase of every iteration. How can I define an MVP for this? What can be a good checkpoint for this project?

I’m looking forward to documenting the process and how it went after each iteration.

Did you make your online portfolio? How it went?

Let me know in the comments. See you soon!

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I am a developer from Argentina, mostly working with React apps. I enjoy paying attention to the little details that make something perfect.

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Lila Papazian

Lila Papazian

I am a developer from Argentina, mostly working with React apps. I enjoy paying attention to the little details that make something perfect.

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