Wolf’s Little Store has been rebuilt, again. This redesign marks a new start for me: after a brief break I’m back to work on new projects full-force.
This iteration continues in the spirit of version 3, with an improved focus on my best work. Most changes revolve around quality: a better logo, a better profile picture, a better responsive layout, a better portfolio.
Old logo left, new logo right
Back in the day I traced a wolf shape in Illustrator and put in a circle. I was happy with it and it has been my logo ever since. However, I felt it lacked some character and quality. The new logo has been designed by Dutch logo designer Gert van Duinen and I’m very happy with it. Gert is a perfectionist at heart and even though I already approved the logo he still continued to make tweaks to it to make it perfect.
No web fonts
As much as I’m a typography nerd and I want to use certain fonts on this site, there’s some disadvantages to using them. My main gripes with webfonts are the added load to the website, that moment when you see the font changing (bad page buildup), and the rendering on most operating systems besides Mac OS.
I can see the point of web fonts for conveying a certain mood, and their use is appropriate in many situations. I will probably use a webfont for headlines in some of my projects and deem it a good idea. But for my own site, where I preach speed and performance, I’ll stay on the no web fonts side.
New front-page illustration
I worked with German illustrator Jörn Kaspuhl for the 2nd time to draw a new illustration for the home page. It depicts what could be a future interface.
I think it’s clear if you look at the hardware and software evolutions of the last few years (Surface, Kinect, iPad, Raspberry Pi) we are moving towards a world where computers will be more invisible, screens will be everywhere and input will not be limited to keyboard/mouse only but we will use voice, touch and motion next to traditional input methods.
The point of this illustration is to show potential employers that I want to be working on this stuff. When I read things like this my eyes gleam and I start to think about all the possibilities. Oh, and for those wondering – the person depicted is not me, although some comparisons could be made.
A better photography section
In April I started a project to take a new photograph every day. So far, I’ve managed to keep doing this (I might have missed a few days here and there). I’ve been posting on this Tumblr blog so far, but I like to own my data, and provide the best experience – so I transferred the content to this website.
The idea was to create the best way to view photos across a range of devices. A WordPress plugin was developed to easily upload images. When viewing we try to serve the optimal image – an iPhone would get a lower resolution image than a desktop PC. A huge thanks to Jeroen and Jochen for their work on this.
Better picture on about page
A team effort
Many designers feel like they should be responsible for every pixel and every word on their websites. In a sense, that is true. The end result is your vision of what a website should be [for a given purpose, in this case a portfolio], but it doesn’t mean you have to do everything yourself.
When a client comes to me, I’ll assess the situation and hire the right people for the job. Maybe I can fully handle the job myself. Maybe some outside help is needed.
Removal of the ethos section
While I still believe in many of the points made in the Ethos section of the previous iteration, it was perhaps a bit childish and out of place on website for a business. This was a page I got a lot of positive comments about, so I’m keeping it accessible at the old archived site.
Removal of search
In the third version, there was a search form (somewhat hidden) in the footer. I had a custom WordPress module developed to track what people searched for on the site. Turns out, not so much. My stats said the box was rarely used, so I removed it.
Possibly the location of the box made it so that people didn’t use it, or it’s not a necessary feature. I could A/B test this but I don’t feel it’s worth it for a blog/portfolio type website.
Removal of share links
As Oliver Riechtenstein points out there’s no need to remind visitors that social media exists. I don’t want to rehearse his whole argument, in short, he is right. With the evolution to OS sharing (a Tweet button in Mountain Lion, charms in Windows 8, intents in Android) I don’t see the need to clutter my webpages with “tweet this” links/buttons.
Comments are still there. There’s a lot of hate about comments on the ‘net. A few high-profile bloggers (think Marco, DF, …) have been taking a no-comment stance for their blogs. The main argument is the quality of comments.
I feel the quality of comments on Wolf’s Little Store is high, and I personally love to read them. When I write a blog post I like to get responses and a feel of what other people think. Tweets fade out but web pages are here to stay. Try finding what you wrote on Twitter five years ago. Here’s my blog from five years ago. With a blog, the conversation happens in one place. There’s room for more than 140 characters. For me, comments are here to stay.
There’s a lot more that changed, take a look around. As with any site launch I’m sure there’s going to be some issues, so let me know if you spot anything.