Be the Villain – Eric Bailey for 24Ways
Much like a water slide with a section of pipe missing, a broken flow forcibly ejects a user, to great surprise and frustration.
Obligatory Redesign Post
Redesigning my personal site has always been difficult for me. I’ve lacked a direction for the design and had a hard time finding my voice. In the past I’ve escaped this by by having almost nothing but type. This year I set a goal for myself to write frequently and focus the design towards that goal. Communication is a big part of my job now and I desperately need the practice for written communication. Yet there has been nothing but crickets since.
I’m a designer so of course I need to redesign my site in order to write on it…right? I started this iteration of my site design over the summer with that in mind. It never got to a place that I loved and slowly lost interest because of it.
I picked it back up in the fall and after much slow iteration I think that I’m finally in a spot that I feel confident in. The core of the redesign centers around my writing, since that was the goal. It fully commits me to write. If I don’t this design and site will become stagnant quick. I’m hoping that that forces me keep writing consistently.
The redesign, again, relies heavily on type. Specifically FF Meta Serif. I loved how the black weight of the serif came across. Stocky, reliable but with a little bit of style. It’s weight allows for me to create an easy hierarchy with the type. For the body copy I rely on system font stack. I want people to read in the typeface that they are most accustomed to. This choice also keeps the page weight smaller.
I didn’t want to rely on any fancy animations or page transitions. A result of both my time and skillset but also to harken back to a time where building a personal blog was a bit more simple. These choices are meant to put more emphasis on content and not the design around the content.
Accompanying each new post is an illustration that represents the content. This gives me a constrained small problem to solve, makes writing a little more fun, and affords me some space to add personality to the site. It is a small piece that is meant to reference back to my art directed blog posts of long ago. Just as I’ve been wanting to get back into writing more, I’ve also wanted to push myself back into drawing. Drawing has been a form of meditation for me over the years and something that I try to build into a habit as well. I’m excited to hop back into sketching and sketching with a purpose.
While I still don’t think I’ve really hit the mark with the design, I’m happy with where it’s headed. I think it gives me enough of a platform to start writing and leaves some room for improvements along the way.
Higher Level Problems
Last month, I was getting annoyed with some of the things with my current email app. These little annoyances build up in my head, making me think that I’m not as productive as I could be. I started looking through what my other options are, assuming that I’ll get a huge productivity improvement from a new app. I look at what others are using, including blogs like The Sweet Setup and Interface Lovers. I’ll list out pros and cons of each app because none fit my specific use case perfectly. I’ll get even more annoyed that there isn’t an app that is great for my workflow.
In the past, I do this same process with task apps, notes apps too. Anything that I’m convinced will give me minor speed improvement or feel better in the app. I don’t just do this with software; I do it with my hardware setup as well. I’ve switched iPhone cases probably about four times in the last three months. Each change is thought through. This applies to my keyboard, mouse, backpack and more. You can even read through some of my overthinking on this site.
I’ve realized that this process I was following was useless. I was tackling small problems that in the grand scheme of things didn’t matter. The time I invested researching the perfect app isn’t going to payout for me in the end. The milliseconds that I could save from a new app isn’t worth the headspace that I’m giving it. In a vacuum these small decisions aren’t that big of a deal. It’s good to analyze your setup to make sure you’re removing friction from your process. The headspace these low level details took up prevented me from thinking at a higher level.
I’ve been training myself to push aside small level thinking to not block more important thought work. Applying techniques that I’ve developed while meditating has helped me clear these choices from my head. Having a workaround so that I don’t get caught up in meaningless details will hopefully let me think about
As for my new email app? I’m using the standard Apple Mail on my phone and computer. Not because they’re the best email app but because they’re the simplest to setup and maintain.
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I’ve found facilitating a product design sprint really draining for my team and me. Here are a few things that we’ve tried to make them more sustainable.
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