In the past when faced with indecisive project stakeholders, or on a project where requirements are shifting I’ve used design principles as a tool to nail down what we can early on. Collaborating on a shared list of principles owned by everyone can help guide decisions and construct shared values.

So if it’s good enough for clients, it’s good enough for me! Here’s some principles for my site redesign.

1. Take small steps in the right direction

Make small changes that combined will have large impact, but don’t let any single choice stop progress. Instead of letting indecision and overthinking run this project, I’ll make quick, small decisions that are easily reversible.

2. Go with gut feeling over calculated choices

In the spirit of principle 1. I will go with what I think looks good or works well over researched, calculated choices. I should learn to trust my experience and taste and if that means making a few mistakes then that’s no problem.

3. No choice is permanent

Any design choice made or code made live should be able to be changed, adjusted or reverted with ease. I’ll use GitHub to commit small changes with well written commit messages to make this easy.

4. Choose convention over novelty

I’m not interested in making the best looking website - I want a site that reflects my personality and working style over some Dribbblable design-porn. I’ll use convention to guide me and resist novelty.

5. Take a frugal approach to code, and writing

I’m lazy, but I’m also concerned with performance and efficiency. If I can work a little bit harder to save myself time later on I should. If I can save some kilobytes early on where it might seem like I don’t need to, I will. I’ll manage all my code through GitHub, so I’ll write commit messages that can be reused in blog posts about the design progress

6. Nothing third party that can be avoided

I’ll avoid third party plugins, scripts, analytics or tracking or anything else. The goal is that only thing you need to give your consent for on my site is my bad sense of humour and poor grasp of the English language.


It’s been a few weeks since I started this redesign in the open malarkey, and I’m yet to share an update on progress. I’ve never been much a sharer - but committing to redesigning in the open for the first time means I need to change that.

But am I going to write at length about the design decisions I make as I go, detail each step of the process? Or will I quietly work away in the background and let the design take shape while I post better written and considered updates with less frequency?

Probably the latter, but it’s going to be fun finding out.