I originally built the blog without putting much thought into it. I grew up knowing blogs as a stream of full articles that carried over onto numbered pages until you reached the beginning of a blog—typically, an overly ambitious announcement about their determination to write consistently before trailing off months later. (I use this example because I consistently do this.)
Over time, and especially with the boom of the static site, blogs have taken a different form. Some people render every post on a single page, while others hand-pick their favorites for a shortlist. I assume page-based blogs are less relevant now because we’ve replaced them with infinitely scrolling social networks, where you might occasionally link to your blog posts.
Taking all of this in, and polling the internet, I landed on a UX-forward approach of listing all of the posts, but writing 50-160 character descriptions for each one, which is reportedly the ideal size for a search engine description. This lets the reader skim articles based on title, then read the tdlr before committing to reading the entire post.
Along with the new blog index, I took this opportunity to also introduce categories and tags. I fought myself about this topic for a while, going back and forth between what is a category and what are tags in regards to my own website. To me, a category is used to group posts by centralized topic—this redesign, my work, etc. There can only be one category, and a post wouldn’t spread across two categories. I came to this conclusion after originally considering “process” as a category before realizing that I only write about process—and it’s more of a tag than a single category.
As for tags, I revisited the tags that I used on the Cushion Journal (design, dev, story, and announcement). This lets me identify posts that might span both design and dev, like this post if I were to include code snippet, or across story and announcement, like my post about burning out and joining Stripe. I try not to overdo it with tags, but provide enough identifiers, so I could eventually add a way to filter by either category or tag.
My goal with the blog is to write about more than work and this redesign. I’d love to include updates about Design Town (the studio space I run with my wife), places I travel, books I’m reading, or meals I’m cooking—more “life” things. Since this is a personal blog, I can literally post about anything I want, so I really want to take advantage of that. I’m hoping this improved layout is a good first step in preparation for a blog that better defines me.