Site update

A year's worth of learning

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

A year since building my site with Eleventy, I decided that it was time for more late night stress and unpaid work! It's been just under a year since I wrote a post about trying to use Eleventy to build my blog. As my first project with any kind of static site generator (a tool for taking data and templates and building websites, see Phil Hawksworth's post on static site generators), I realised I wasn't making the most of Eleventy's capabilities. I had been writing almost full HTML files, restricting myself with poor templates and misunderstanding layouts.

How did we get here?

My site started off in 2017 using more colours than the human eye can see. While so many people's sites make use of different colours in a fantastic way, I had done so in a confusing and inaccessible manner.

Sources of inspiration for colourful sites (I think these sites are the bee's knees):

Fast-forward to 2018, James Jing-Yi Mitchell managed to convince me that using 51273 colours wasn't a great idea. This was the beginning of the blue era.

My old website, featuring very blue cards with a heavy amount of whitespace making the website look bare.

I then spent a bit of time last August making my site with Eleventy, learning how to use Sass, using version control so that I do not accidentally overwrite a Sass file losing 4 hours of work (whoops) and hosting it with Netlify. You can read my woefully inexperienced blog post: Eleventy Personal Site.

Improving the site

After a solid year of learning, I decided it's time to re-do the site. A large part of this was inspired by learning from the Piccalilli Learn Eleventy from Scratch course. I would really recommend it, the course is really well designed, allowing you to pick up where you left off easily and quickly understand advanced features. Thanks to this course, my new site includes:

  • An RSS feed
  • Smart data stuff
  • An easy way to view posts with shared tags
  • Recommended posts

Regardless of your skill level, the course accommodates for all and makes it straight forward to get your own site working.

Moving forward

So what's next?

I'm on my way to completing a Master's degree in Interactive Media at the University of York, I am researching whether as web designers and developers we can use personalisation to make the web more accessible to individuals. Website accessibility is really poor in general, with it either not implemented at all or the quickest way possible. I am hoping to understand if personalisation of user interfaces will go any way to improving accessibility in an easy to implement way.

I have also been thinking a lot recently about how technology is inherently political. The choices and decisions or even lack thereof reflect an individuals education and motivations. As human beings, I do not believe that there can be such an abstraction so that technology is not political. I'd like to use this blog to write about these issues.

In the past weeks, this has been more evident than ever with issues of artificial intelligence (AI) being rammed into every product. The following articles illustrate these issues.

Written by

Joe Lamyman

@JoeLamyman

More from my blog

  • Designing an interactive survey

    As part of my master's degree, I have designed and coded an interactive survey to help me gather information around people's preferences when it comes to personalising website user interfaces.

  • Eleventy Personal Site

    To be able to create blog posts without having to set everything up in my source code, I wanted to find a way to use a CMS to update my site and write blog posts.