The new Massive Blue
Today I launched my new portfolio site, Massive Blue. This has long been my online business site that drastically needed an overhaul and I finally managed to find the time to do it. Not that it was a particularly easy process, countless versions later this one emerged, I am clearly my own worst critic. Read on to find out more about why and just how big it really is; 1080!
I’ve had two main sites for the longest time now, my portfolio / business site and this my personal blog. I felt early on it was important to separate the two, my business site for showing off work and receiving requests for new work and a personal site to write about whatever I want, work related or personal.
I originally didn’t want visitors to my business site reading my personal tirades but that has changed a lot over the last year, my personal brand is very important to me and I needed to consolidate everything under the one umbrella. If people don’t like what I write here, or a swear word or two, it’s likely that we are not going to get on in a business relationship either.
My main goal behind the redesign was to better show off my work, quickly and easily, previous versions had too much bullshit about “we” do this and “we” do that. I want to show off my work foremost, if I can keep producing quality work that people like then quality clients will keep coming. That’s the theory anyway!
A super simple interface with obvious and clear links to projects and methods to get in touch was a primary need, I wanted to experiment a little with sizes but keep the colours to a minimum, the name really dictates the key colour in the palette.
Now I just need to get several of my clients to complete their side of the project so I can add a bunch of new stuff to my portfolio!
Why? Why not! Of all the people I had shown early versions of this design to, only a couple mentioned the width and one person flat out berated it (no names!), but my reasons for using a wider-than-normal design are very not as exciting as one would think. I wanted to have big images, and big text, I wanted to show large previews of sites I have created as we all know what can happen to them when clients get their hands on them!
It is a barrier for entry also, I currently get a lot of requests for work and I’d hazard a guess that I am not the right person for about 90% of them. I don’t design sites for $200 and I don’t design sites for antiquated systems or browsers.
This number wasn’t plucked out of thin air either, there has been a lot of discussion lately and Cameron Moll’s article Is it time to move beyond 960? really reinforces what I am trying to achieve. I don’t think a 1080px width is unjustified either, on both my business site and personal blog more than 80% of visitors have a browser width greater than 1096px. 1 in 5 people potentially seeing a scrollbar doesn’t phase me, 1 in 10 people to my sites still use IE and god knows what that must be like!
Do I believe 1080 is the optimal width for a site? Absolutely not! I think 960 is fast becoming the industry norm and for all the right reasons, I don’t think many sites could justify a big width and I absolutely believe you need to take your visitor statistics into account. Is this right for everybody, no. Will it be one day? Probably yes.
Massive Blue is my portfolio site with a few images, links to work and a contact form. If we can’t push the envolope on those sites, what sites can we do it on?
As MobileSafari popualarity grows I felt the need, and enjoy the experience of designing a site for the iPhone & iPod Touch. I didn’t feel the need to completely recreate a mobile version of the site, it’s a simple little design that links to my latest projects and has a link to my email address. You can of course visit the entire site on your mobile device if you so wish, through some (boo, hiss) browser sniffing and cookie setting you can easily access the full version.
Be sure to have a look at massiveblue.com on your device.
I expect there to be a lot of discussion regarding the 1080 width, yes it is slightly controversial but I genuinely believe it is worth experimenting with new options, the number of sites built at 960 is vast and we need to continue to push the envelope (perhaps negatively) and explore different things. Design is subjective and it’s never going to please everyone. I hope you do like my new portfolio though!