Dave Myers - Designer/Developer/Illustrator Dave Myers Designer/Developer/Illustrator

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Redesigning and Re-Evaluating

Site comparison: before and after
Site comparison: before and after

Every so often, change is a good thing. I’m constantly learning, and the more I learn, the more I want to go back and re-evaluate my own personal site. Unfortunately, it usually takes a backseat to client work, but how you present yourself through your personal portfolio should be one of your highest priorities as a designer.

These are the steps I took in preparation for the redesign:

Do your research.

Before you get that sketchbook out or fire up Photoshop, get inspired. Think about the portfolio sites you've seen that you really connected with. Take a look through some of your favorite design galleries to get some fresh inspiration. Make notes on sites you like and what it is about them that makes them work.

Determine your objectives.

Decide what you need to include in your site, and how each item should be prioritized.

Don't be afraid to let your personality show.

We're talking about your personal portfolio here, it needs to convey your own personal style. Most of your site visitors will be first-time users, make them feel welcome. Just as with in-person introductions, you want to make sure the visitor's first impression is a positive one.

Present only your best work.

Your portfolio should include your best work, and your best work should be reflected in the design of the portfolio. Be sure to continually revisit your portfolio as you complete projects. Is it something you're proud of? Put it up!

Take chances.

You might feel like you have to play it safe when designing for a client, but you have absolute freedom with your personal website. Don't be afraid to explore elements in the design that you haven't tried before.

Scrutinize.

Guides on Photoshop comp
Guides on Photoshop comp

You have to be your harshest critic when it comes to your own personal site. Go over everything with a fine-toothed comb. Make sure your spacing is consistent, zoom in on your design and use the guides.

Remember: you are your own client here. This means you have nobody to criticize the design other than yourself. Get the opinions of other designers you trust, it can't hurt.

Don't rush it.

Again, remember that your portfolio is supposed to be reflective of your absolute best work. Have patience, it'll take time to get the site just how it should be.

Further Reading

Comments

Aug 31, 2009 Arrow1 Down Reply
Aaron Weiche

Well done on your recent web redesign Dave. For me, the most important parts of what you outlined are research and scrutinize. You can never look at enough ideas and inspiration and you have to push yourself. Thanks for the post.

Sep 02, 2009 Arrow1 Down Reply
Rhianon

Great website! Funny...I was just doing research to redo my own portfolio :)

Sep 23, 2009 Arrow1 Down Reply
Oleg Gromov

Hello, Dave!

Reading some info about you, I've considered we're colleagues. I also use xHTML/CSS in everyday work, except graphic design. Please answer, if use some CSS framework (not far from now I've understand that the simple one can greatly help me to work) and why.

Thank you for a great site, I like it! ;) I have my own personal one, and I'm going to redesign it in the nearest future. I also plan to add an English version (I'm from Russia) for my customers from abroad.

You write here about great and useful things. I guess, you don't have much spare time to write all-about-you-would-like-to, but you do it well. Please continue! :)

Your great design has also inspired me to make something interesting and useful. Big fonts really make me feel, and big buttons are the best.

Thanks :)

Sep 23, 2009 Arrow1 Down Reply
Dave Myers

Oleg,

Thanks for your comments. Regarding your question: I don't use a CSS framework. I personally like to divide the CSS into separate stylesheets to make them easier to work with. Here's a breakdown of what stylesheets I typically include:

* Elements - Resets basic element styles
* Layout - This stylesheet follows the same format as the HTML layout
* Classes - Any classes used throughout the site
* Enhancements - If you're going to use CSS3 features that are not compatible with all browsers, it's best to keep these enhancements separate from the other stylesheets. This way you can ensure that the site still looks good in all browsers.

Feel free to take a look at the structure of my CSS to get a better understanding of how I approach styling a website.

Oct 04, 2009 Arrow1 Down Reply
Idil

The site looks fantastic! I am thinking about putting together a portfolio for the first time and to read your entry it helped a lot. Thank you.

Oct 30, 2009 Arrow1 Down Reply
Ishia Ramtahalsingh

Hey Dave love the site! I recently moved out here to San Jose CA from sunny FL. It's been really ruff finding a job, I have a portfolio site up and I started thinking maybe the reason I am not getting any calls back is because my site needs work. I started looking around to see what other people are doing and what elements I find interesting on their sites. I came across your site on CSS mania and was like wow, that's how I should layout my site, I also found your tips on what you should do when redesigning very helpful . I have started working on my redesign which follows your concept here(layout wise) I hope you dont mind? If you have time and would be willing to give me some feed back on my site that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much Ishia Ramtahalsingh.

Here is my site url www.ishq-designs.com

Feb 14, 2010 Arrow1 Down Reply
Chris Olbekson

Dave,
I really like what you have done with the site. I'm in the process of doing some re-evaluating myself. I think this is how we grow to become better web designers.

May 09, 2010 Arrow1 Down Reply
Rahul

Your website looks good and usable also !

Apr 01, 2013 Arrow1 Down Reply
Matt Millen

Dave, I really think it is great what you have done on the redesign, we have just also created this little useful guid to creating mobile apps that you may be interested in. <a href="http://www.intentideas.com/mobile-apps/a-simple-guide-to-building-an-app-iphone-app/&quot; target="new">Simple Guide to building Mobile Apps / iPhone App</a>

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