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Personal Website Redesign

TL;DR: I made my portfolio nicer and updated some information to reflect changes in my life.

My motivations

I think it's crucial to have set goals in mind when deciding to refactor or redesign an existing project. One of the main goals I decided on when setting out to redesign my website was to update all the information on it to reflect the fact that I am halfway through my first year at the University of Toronto and that my life has changed quite drastically since the previous version of my website (which was made last summer).

Another key goal that I set out to accomplish was making everything simpler, more presentable, and less heavy on both the eyes of the users as well as the processor of the computer rendering my website. My previous website's colour scheme suited an application well, but it looked off when implemented in a portfolio, and the proportions of various elements on the page were severely unbalanced.

Previous version

First steps

Just like with any web project I create, I started by looking at other projects for inspiration. Since I was making a portfolio, I looked at portfolios of a few of my web developer friends, along with websites of industry professionals including Adam Wathan, Steve Schoger, and Scott Tolinski.

As soon as I felt like I had a solid understanding of what I wanted to create, I opened up Adobe XD and dragged in an iPhone X artboard. Why? Because I live and breathe by mobile-first design, and because the smaller screen space forces me to be a bit more creative when planning layouts.

After that, I started to look for a simple colour scheme that will fit the design style I decided on during the planning stage. I decided to go with 10 shades of vivid orange and 10 shades of a cool grey colour from the Refactoring UI Book (that I highly recommend), as orange is my favourite colour and it's pretty much essential that an interface has some neutral palette.

Designing the prototype

Once all the preparation was done, I started designing the prototype for my website, creating all of the sections including my introduction and project sections on the mobile view first and then moving it over to bigger artboards such as the portrait and landscape iPad screen sizes and then small and large laptop screens.

You can download the finished Adobe XD file here.

Developing the website

Creating the Vue app

With a prototype ready to be implemented, I opened Terminal on my Mac, updated all my npm packages, and ran the Vue CLI in an empty folder. While working on the prototype, I also decided to try using Tailwind CSS for the first time, so I opened the website and followed their installation guide.

After creating the project, I went ahead and started creating the home page following the prototype I created, making minor modifications along the way as I saw fit. I then updated the Vue Router to add pages for my ongoing projects and this redesign post, and then wrote up and styled those pages.

Tweaking the design

After I finished the website, I connected my Mac to a monitor and tested how the website looked across all the popular screen dimensions, tweaking the sizes of several elements to try and make things look more uniform on the page.

I then made sure everything looked and worked the way I wanted it to in Safari, Chrome, and Mozilla, as those are the most popular browsers that the majority of users will access my website with.

Refactoring using Nuxt.js

My namecheap shared hosting plan expired, which pushed me to refactor my website again and move it to a different hosting solution. I decided to go with Nuxt.js and thus configured my project using create-nuxt-app and automatically added Tailwind CSS as a plugin. I then moved all of my files and everything worked seamlessly. The benefit of moving to Nuxt over keeping the app in Vue is that I can now statically generate my site which makes it load incredibly fast in most web browsers.

Hosting the website

I recently moved my redesigned website to Vercel, and have been hosting my statically generated Nuxt website using their Free plan.

Conclusion

Now you're reading this page on my website, and if everything is formatted properly, then that means that this project was a success. You can click my name at the top of the page to go to the home page and check out some more info about me.

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