I remember the day when I launched this blog. It was on January 15th, 2015 and I didn’t have any purpose or strategy prepped before launching. I know that having a clear strategy in mind before you launch a project is a must, but this one was a little different.
I also had 2 different Romanian blogs. One for marketing and the other one dedicated to Instagram projects. And let’s not forget about the brand I’m working for and to which I dedicate most of my time – Bannersnack.
So it was kind of complicated for me to keep four different blogs updated.
But this blog had a different purpose: to push my limits and make me experiment something that is out of my comfort zone.
Maybe for many of you, “out of your comfort zone” represents just a clickbait headline on Facebook. But let me ask you: did you try it? For example, did you ever try to take the bus or ride the bike to get to your office instead of driving your car? Or if you can’t live without your phone, did you try going somewhere without it for a whole weekend?
I recommend you to do so. It’s a great experiment!
Now let’s go back to the purpose of this blogpost!
There are two really important parts of my blog that I want to talk to you about.
You – my reader!
The one that takes the time to read my ideas, my struggles or what-nots I’m publishing here. I want you to know that I am grateful to you for being here even if I’m sure that sometimes there are better and more important things you can do.
I know, I don’t have a lot of traffic and there aren’t hundreds and thousands of readers and users checking my blog every day but there are a few of you who are reading it.
To you I’m saying the most honest and from the bottom of my heart “Thank you”
It means a lot to me that you read my blog and that you sometimes share my articles. I feel like this is a true statement of trust in what I write and that you believe my content is worthy of being seen by other people too.
I believe that every blogger, whether it’s a blogger living from his blog or doing it out of passion, should be grateful to his community.
Because a blog without a reader is only a pixel on the internet.
This blog’s design!
Let me tell you a story. It was a Monday in which I had almost finished my work when my friend Marius sent me a WhatsApp message. We started talking and later we moved the entire discussion on FaceTime. Talking about the importance of our work, about how important is to have a side-project and why we, as creatives, need challenges in our lives. So, we got to my blog and we ended up deciding to redesign it from scratch. I was amazed on how a professional guy like him accepted the challenge of redesigning my blog (in fact, my friends, I’m still amazed by his work).
So we started doing a weekly ‘interview’ about me, my future, how I see blog, why I want to blog about and other basic questions. This whole experience made me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.
In fact, as I’m writing this article I may write another blog post about what you can see here, what changes Marius has made and how he worked with Zeno and his wonderful team to make this happen.
But before I finish this article, I asked Marius and Zeno to let me know how the experience of designing and developing my new blog was.
Blog design has always been among my favourite tasks.
They’re challenging, fun, sophisticated, and push the designer in me to create something both functional and more interesting from a creative point of view.
I always knew that people will likely share and engage with a product or a service when they are visually excited by it. So the visual aspect of Robert Katai’s blog became the backbone of the project, right after his business goals were clearly defined.
Robert’s love for Instagram and visual marketing is no longer a secret, so the first logical step was to make sure the layout will serve justice to it’s colourful photography style – hence the amount of negative space involved in the process.
Making the content king was rather simple – bold and highly readable typography, clear and strict visual hierarchy, avoiding textures, gradients and complex forms – all of this while applying the principles of grids, geometric approach and visual balance.
We’re very proud of the result we have achieved: a bright, attractive, clear, intuitive and easy-to-use interface, developed by Zeno Popovici and his talented team at Graffino.
A blog’s design and usability are essential to a quality user experience.
That being said, I am confident the product has and will continue to satisfy Robert’s business goals moving forward.
Working on interfaces is cool, but we believe one can really shine only while being involved into something really personal like a blog or personal site. There’s emotion, finesse in a personal site that really needs a lot of time and polish to get it right.
On a site like Robert’s, details are very important. You have to sparkle delight, make the user comfortable and guide him to the important bits or the site. The the only way to do that is by implementing the designer’s vision, exactly how he intended it.
While we worked we’ve spent countless hours pushing pixels around, having endless conversations and re-deciding on how features should work.
The admin interface is still one of the things we’re most proud of. We could have left the default WordPress interface up and call it a day, but it would have been an insult to the work we had already done. We don’t work like that.
It’s so sad when companies get a beautiful and functional site but when the client enters real content, the whole experience blows up.
It’s monumentally important to build an easy to use, powerful but in the same time limiting administrative interface for the projects you deliver. Clients do not have coding experience and clients don’t know design. That’s why we’re always creating an administrative interface that’s easy to use but also keeps the interface in the intended original design. We’re hiding all unnecessary stuff, creating option menus and make WordPress easy to upgrade. We often build our own plugins because the existing ones cannot be properly customized or have too many features built in.
Lastly, mobile optimization is really important nowadays. If you want your site to rank properly in search engines, optimizing for mobile devices and serving your site over https is a must. But this isn’t the only reason we optimize. Visitors with slow phones or Internet connections, or the ones that might be impaired must be taken into account. That’s why we’re doing our best to make the mobile experience as fast and easy to use as humanly possible.
Over the years we went to great lengths to understand what we were doing wrong, and how we could build better projects. Someone we’ve worked with a while ago, told us we have impossibly high standards and that we’re insane regarding on how we’re writing our code. That’s the point.
You have to be insane when you’re writing your code.
Working on this project was an awesome experience for us, mainly because we love working with Marius. Marius is always coming up with impossible stuff, challenging us to exceed our limits. This is one of the reasons why we became so good at what we do.
If your designer is not challenging you, find one that does. A great designer will make become a better front-end developer.
So, this redesigned blog is like a thank you note for you guys.
I know that I there is still a lot of work to be done, lots of things to be accomplished and many articles to be written, but today and this article is about you: the few readers who are always coming back to this blog because they care about it, or maybe they care about me enough.