The Cobbler’s Children Have No Shoes

several feet in colorful socks

I think “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” is a pretty common saying regardless of what field you’re in. If it doesn’t sound familiar, it’s a rough translation of a Spanish proverb. The idea is that someone with a specific skill is often too busy assisting others that their own affairs go unattended.

Maybe it’s a designer’s attention to detail/quest for perfection or the rapidly changing nature of technology and trends but it’s always seemed particularly apt for web designers. We regularly complete (hopefully) amazing client work while our own websites become outdated and neglected. I know I’ve spent weeks redesigning my own website, working in fits and bursts between paying client work, only to get bored or tired of what I’ve done before I even get around to implementing it. Likewise, I know that I should be creating content for my own site while helping others find their voice. But it just doesn’t seem to happen that way.

Matt Kersley has an interesting solution to this dilemma. He’s published an undesigned version of his site with the idea that as a web designer, he’s now represented online, very publicly, by a crap site (his words, not mine). And that will sufficiently motivate him to finish as soon as possible.

Although I’m not necessarily as brave as Matt, the idea did inspire me. Of course, instead of just copying a great idea, I needed a little twist to make it my own. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone and write about it as well. It sounded like a good opportunity to educate potential clients on my process and maybe get some feedback from others on how/why they do things differently. At the end of the project, I should have the redesign I’ve needed for a while and hopefully some interesting content as well. Win-win.

I expect the process, and subsequent posts, to cover some of the following topics: requirements gathering (what are my goals for the redesign? What do I need to do differently this time to accomplish them? What needs to be added, removed, or changed?), the design process (how will the site look and act to accomplish the goals and meet the requirements we set?), prototyping and implementation (the actual building/development), feedback and follow-up (what metrics for success did we decide on in the requirements phase? What are the results? Did the redesign accomplish our goals?).