array(0) { } Finally. | Darren James Harkness

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Finally.

This morning I switched over staticred.com to a new design I've been working on for the past couple of months. 

I've been wanting to do this for quite some time.  It's not that I didn't like the old design, but it's been sitting there now for almost 4 years and was in great need of some attention. 

Here's the old design, for nostalgia's sake.

There were a few things I wanted to do with the redesign, all revolving around challenging myself technically.  I wanted to learn more about responsive design and parallax scroll effects. I wanted to create a single page site that could contain the information I wanted to display as part of the portfolio (the old "Work" section of the old site was getting a bit ponderous). I also knew I wanted to play with an image-heavy design rather than just have large chunks of text. 

Responsive Design

I'd started looking more seriously into responsive design when my friend and colleague Elizabeth told me she was looking to employ it for the Athabasca University site refresh.  I had read about it earlier on A List Apart, but had put it to the side.  I have a personal bugaboo about mobile sites being displayed differently than desktop sites, since those sites have generally tended to be watered down versions (and therefore less useful). Elizabeth helped me to see that this didn't have to be the case with responsive design, however, so I was inspired to pick it back up again. I did a small-scale test on this site to start, but wanted to spend a little more time honing my skill with 

It helps that there's more in the way of help now, thorugh projects like Bootstrap.  I used Bootstrap as the base for the site redesign, and built out from there.  That got me half way there; the rest was figuring out when and where I wanted things to break, and 

Parallax

I first saw parallax effects in place on a site Anders Svensson worked on, and loved the extra layer of immersion into the site that this effect provided.  I know this effect is going to go the way of Kai's Power Filters in the future, but I love it enough now that I wanted to work it into the site subtly. 

I've seen it employed beautifully on other sites, like Apple's iPad Air page and Derren Brown's About page.  I wish I was that talented. 

Done's better than perfect. 

I still have a little work left to do on the site, primarily around adding to and refining some of the content. But I couldn't wait any longer to get the new portfolio site up - or, at the very least, I didn't want to wait any longer.