This website is a weird hydra of professional positioning, private connection, creative outlet, learning lab, and playground. I like to change things from time to time depending on which of these parts captures my current interest and the attention of visitors.
I’m trying to use open-source software wherever possible – this has of course pragmatic financial reasons, but it’s also a great way to learn. I’m happy this makes me a small part of the open web.
It’s important for me to respect the privacy of my visitors. There are no cookies on this site and as of now I’m not even gathering visitor data. As this means I won’t know you were here, I’m happy if you leave a small note somewhere.
The tech stack
- The website is run by (self-hosted) WordPress. I’m sure there are more elegant, minimalist, and durable approaches, but few of them reach the pure power of it. What’s good enough for 43.2% of the internet works for me. I also really appreciate the support of the open web of Automattic, the company behind WordPress.
- The theme I’m using is Kalium which I adapted to my needs in smaller ways. It’s sleek, timeless (in a minimalist way), and adaptable. I especially like its image and typography design for my photography, the integration of an artistic portfolio, and smaller details in the header and footer.
- My typefaces are Inconsolata by Raph Levien and Palatino by Hermann Zapf (with ET Book by Dmitry Krasny as fallback). I might add Ogg for some headlines one day, but that’s a luxury for later.
- I want to highlight the following plugins:
- Matthias Pfefferle‘s (via Automattic) ActivityPub Protocol connects my Blog to the fediverse. This means you can find it on for example Mastodon and follow it from there. If you answer to the federated posts, your answer will even show as a comment on this blog! (After I accept it, I have to be careful with automated spam.)
- Mapster WP Maps is a great plugin by Victor Temprano/Mapster Technology Inc. It is intuitive, powerful, and integrates nicely with the WordPress back-end. Victor also provides great service and has some very helpful YouTube tutorials on online mapping! My tiles are the Terrain tiles from Map Libre, another great open-source organization.
- Since setting up Jetpack (by Automattic), loading times have decreased greatly.
- There are several others used by my theme, I’m trying Yoast for some lazy SEO gambling, but the above are the important ones. I’m currently not using any analytics, as I don’t get Matomo to work and got bored by the trouble-shooting.
- For images, I use mostly my own photos (shot with my Sony a7r II). As I want to include some more typical images like screenshots, I’m playing around with layouts that fit the theme of the site. (It’s not necessary, but I kind of like the idea that the photos have a somewhat special position here.)
- The only thing I was not so happy about with the theme was the layout of blog posts. I adapted it inspired by the work of Edward Tufte. (I’m sometimes not sure whether he is also the designer behind it or more of a design educator.) Specifically, I followed an implementation by Dave Liepmann, the “Tufte CSS.” This too is work in progress.
- I’m using sparse color to let the photos do their magic. The only color I’m using is “Cosmic Latte,” #FFF8E7, “the average color of the universe as perceived from the Earth.” I thank Zhendong Wang for this inspiration.
Ideas for the future
- I mentioned some already: I think Ogg might be a nice addition to my typography (for headings). I would also like to take over side-notes for my blogs (think footnotes that appear in the margins) as well as use the white-space on both sides of the text by allowing some images to float there in a controlled manner.
- There is some weird and non-intuitive overlay between the start-page and the about page. I feel the static texts at the start page make it less likely visitors will see what’s new. I thought of it as a “now” page in the way Derek Sivers suggested – but yeah, “ongoing” and “recently” are very different flavors of “now” and I’m not yet sure how I will solve that.
- The professional part is in a bit of a slumber and I want to make this part… more professional. This is probably more of a positioning/branding/strategy question than design alone.