Designing intentionally, not accidentally (Portfolio vs. Future Self app)

When I started this portfolio site, I ended up doing a lot of “design by default” – adding things because I knew they needed to be included, but without intention and care about where they would go and why. To use Jesse James Garrett’s term, I was designing on the skeleton level only, without paying much attention to the lower levels except as unstated assumptions.

I knew the site needed to help me get a job, I knew it needed to have my resume, show my experience, and be reasonably visually pleasing. But I didn’t do much to consider the scope of the project, and I didn’t articulate my structure except in the Wall-of-Post-its.  So a fair amount of the work ended up being done by default, and questions like “where does the blog go?” and “which template is best” were answered by “just put something up there and fix it in testing.”

On one hand, this did fix my own hang-ups, which include inertia and terror of the blank page. Having something to revise is better than having nothing.

But it’s very easy to stick with a flawed project because it’s *something*, especially if the flaws run deep. (For example, my continuing puzzlement over the best template.)

So for Future Self, I decided to back up and start from the beginning. Using Garrett’s five levels of design (via Bill Hartman’s lectures during the Bentley UX bootcamp), I wanted to be articulate about each stage. This is especially important because this isn’t just my project – I’m collaborating with my partner on this, and thus we need to be really clear with each other about expectations and ideas.

More in the next post, including drafts of Strategy, Scope, and user scenarios.