New Year, New Design, New Focus

The past year has been difficult to blog regularly and find inspiration. I often found myself putting up links to keep the site alive, often falling for the Linkblog Cancer without feeling like I had something valuable to add.

Some of the lack of inspiration was time related (like having my first child and devoting time to being a dad and husband), but I also felt like this blog was wandering without a coherent theme or audience to focus on.

Justin Jackson shared this advice Amy Hoy gave him about his blog:

“Justin, your blog is unfocused. You’re talking about everything! As a reader I don’t care about you; I only care about my problems. Who is your blog for? What do they need?”

Reading this got me thinking. When I originally launched this blog, I was a “business guy,” and wanted to curate stories about companies. But over time, my interests have evolved. Pigeonholing myself into writing about “business” often made me brush off opportunities to write about design and development – the two other spheres of User Experience Design, which is really what I want to be writing about.

So with that, I set about rethinking this site to better target the “well rounded” user experience designer. I’m excited to give myself the mental space to write about topics I had been linking to sparingly. Posts will focus on 5 categories:

  • Business – What this site was built on. These are the stories behind interesting companies.
  • Design – Everything in the world of User Experience, from visual design to customer experience to content strategy.
  • Code – Over the past 18 months, I’ve taught myself how to build software. Posts on here will focus on either HTML/CSS/Sass/JavaScript for front-end or Ruby/Rails and PHP on the back end.
  • Careers – This is most definitely not self help (except it is). Ironically, this wasn’t in my original plan until I combed through my archives and found that I often write/speak on this topic.
  • Guides – This is something I’ve long hoped to write more about: how to do cool stuff. It was a goal of mine last year, which I failed at, so I’m giving it another go.

There’s a new archive page that will make it easier to browse through those categories.

I’ve also shared the code for this theme on Github if you’d like to take a look. I’ll be sharing more about the process I took to build the theme later this week.

Finally, I’ve also set up a new way to subscribe to the blog: a weekly email digest. Email has slowly become one of my favorite ways to discover new content when it’s a carefully curated source. This will be a low volume (once per week) summary of all the posts that week. You can sign up here:

Aside from Email and RSS, don’t forget that you can also subscribe on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you to all the readers of this site – it’s been a blast writing Behind Companies for the last 3 years, and I’ve got some great plans for 2014.

January 5, 2014