Photo courtesy Drew Patrick Miller, Unsplash

A website is never finished

I’ve just launched a new website for my business, Resonancy. I wrote about its humble beginnings in a previous post and now it’s time to reflect on the experience.

Building my website has been a labour of love. It’s taken months longer than I anticipated and many weekend hours to get to where it is today. And in that time I also built a code-based pattern library / style guide to accompany my site.

Why did it take so long?

The answer is simple. I wanted to do things properly. Of course, this takes a lot longer than the standard ‘just-get-it-done’ approach. I was also trying to be lean with frameworks and libraries (using only jQuery and FontAwesome), and honour both the design and the pattern library as much as possible. This meant being generous with breakpoints, continually modifying content and tweaking to ensure consistency across the board.

But why do I care so much about all that?

For me, it’s the primary exemplar of my capabilities; and the expression of the type of business I am/what I want to be.

My website is not just one piece of marketing, it is the most dominant portrayal of my business out there. Therefore, it should be the most accurate portrayal of my business out there in the wild. That’s why my website will never be finished.

So this is just the beginning. I consider the first release Iteration 0. The list for Iteration 1 is growing and it’s likely that this list will be divided up into two iterations. And I’m okay with that.

In the world of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), I am in the measuring stage of the build-measure-learn cycle. It’s about getting a functional product out to market but it’s not the finished product. It’s simply the first of a series of cycles where you learn from user feedback, stakeholders, metrics and other external validation sources. What’s the point of building something that people don’t use or like, with no intention of improving it?

The very idea of a website never being finished is actually a relief. The perfectionist in me always thinks that it needs to have things absolutely right because it’s used to the idea of ‘print’. Print represents a sense of finality and completion that adds weight to the task. But websites represent a sense of fluidity and conversation.

This is what I need to buy into wholeheartedly as I move further into my website journey. Mistakes will still be made, things will feel messy for good reason and the perfection idea should be discarded. Because even our idea of perfection is misguided and imperfect.