The original MyNameIsPJ.com: Smooth. Refreshing. Like a bumper sticker on a T-Rex. And a pain in the arse to update.
With graduation from the University of Memphis's design program looming, I set out to create a personal portfolio site that was in itself more of a statement than a thing of utility.
For better or worse, I succeeded. The site was powered by a custom-built PHP CMS, and defiantly oozed character and personality at the cost of usability.
Which was fine: I had never intended to use the site as a lead generator. I expected anyone visiting the site to know me personally. And even though people generally spent a few confused moments clicking around before they could figure the site out, they all seemed to have a good time with it, and to me that made it a worthy trade-off.
"Like a Bumper Sticker on a T-Rex"
What was not fine, however, was the ordeal involved in updating the site.
It wasn't necessarily the home-brew CMS I had cobbled together--although there was a lot about that I'd never do again. It was more the ridiculous design premise to which I had committed myself. Each portfolio piece was selected by clicking small, custom-cropped, completely non-descript crimson star-shapes. These star shapes alone took 10-15 minutes for me to create--add the time spent cropping the pictures and adding the content to the site, and it didn't take long for me to start wondering if this whole set-up was as effective and efficient as it could be.
Then, during an email correspondence with Stefan Bucher, I asked him to critique my work. His response made sudden sense out of the vague, growing reservations I'd begun to have.
My work was pretty nice, he said. What bothered him was my web site.
Against the work, the site was "like a bumper sticker on a T-Rex," he said.
Suddenly it was all clear: not only was my site a royal pain the butt to update (which, by extension, meant that it was rarely updated), it was getting in the way of the whole point: the portfolio itself. It was time to move on.
Even though I've out-grown the site, you can still check it out here, if you'd like.