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What's in my head while I redesign

Context is important. I want to provide a bit of insight as to why I'm redesigning my website.

February 21 2020, by Karl Oscar Weber,


I thought it would be helpful to talk to ya'll about what's in my head and going on in my life during this redesign, and tell you about the goals of the redesign.

So. I've been freelancing for almost 4 years, almost got the hang of it, but DAMN! The last 16 months have been soooo. Up until about 6 months ago we were oscillating between broke, evicted, unemployed, and homeless. (homeless with a small h, we thankfully, never had to sleep on the streets). Anyways. It was tough. It's tough being married, with 3 small kids and not having a secure home. As a provider you want your children to feel safe, and to have continuity. I wasn't providing that. I had to make big changes to get through this really unlucky slump.

To get out of that we needed help. We lived at our friend Teodora's house for about 3 or 4 few months. All 5 of us in one little room. While living there I worked real hard to get a job, or a contract. I would apply all day, and work on anything I could to try to get people interested in me.

It was during that time that I landed a job at a startup in Utah. I was super grateful. I drove 1 hour there, and then 1 hour back every day to work. but it only lasted 3 weeks. They soon fired me because I called out blatent racism and colonialism in the office. I wasn't a good culture fit, they said.

To make ends meet we started doordashing, which takes up loads of time, destroys the value of the car, and doesn't really net much money. We did that for months. All while living in that little bedroom. Eventually I was lucky again to get a short contract from my friend. Contract gigs pay well, so it was enough money to pay some bills, fix some things, and enough savings to get a small 2 bedroom apartment. That contract luckily turned into a full time gig, YES! Now we're moving to Montana to work for this company.

So, during the last 16 months I've been greatly humbled, and I'm very grateful for what we have.

Anyways, this context is important. My experience has directly formed the goals and direction of my career moving forward. What does that mean for this redesign?

Well I started the redesign as a response this long period of uncertainty. I want to build something that can't be taken away. Something that can provide, even a little security. Then somethin happened.

I started working on a Swift Course.

Yep. I can write iOS apps too. Last year I was approached, (through email), to write a swift UI course by a publisher named... stuffd.. I think. After I prepped and wrote a huge outline they pulled out and I decided to finish it on my own. LO and BEHOLD as soon as that decision was made the folks at Ghost released their latest version making it really easy to sell access to premium content in your blog. Suddenly I can sell a course without having to write billing or login code. I just have to record the thing.

I decided to do just that, but then I had to ask myself how much to charge and how I would market it. Changing it into a blog sounded like a good idea. But, I just finished a whole year of total poverty and I got thinking.

Is it ethical to make educational resources that most can't afford?

Yeah so that's the question I asked myself. Because these courses go for $250 and up. $99 when they are discounted. Most don't finish the course and perhaps learn to make some apps, perhaps not. I'm not a greedy fellow, This course is meant to be a small supplement, not a main gig. I started to worry that my motivation for doing it was all wrong. I should be motivated to just teach as many people as possible. So I decided, it would be mostly free.

Yep. Rather than making a whole other big ass website that I have to manage, and another "brand" or "persona" or whatever I'm just going to host the dang thing on my main blog. I'll charge $9 buckos a month for some premium content. But almost all of it will be Free and open source. Why not?

Alright so this is a blog and a premium book course thing?

Yes. It's still my personal website and my blog. I'm just going to add a ton of educational resources to it.

What about, like..., the redesign?

Oh yeah! Some more context. So at my main full time job I'm an Open Source Developer. I work on their Design system and web front end. We have some ambitious goals to design a component library built on top of a flexible design system. I've also decided to modernize my skills by adopting CSS Grid & Flexbox for repeatable elements, and other crazy stuff. The goals are automatically responsive pages, accessible by default,  easy to compose User interfaces, and layouts without custom styles.

To achieve that goal I've been doing some experiments, I want to put these experiments to practice here before I try to integrate them into the design system. As a result, I'll be building a system here first, for the blog. I'll document each technical and design decision as I work through them. It will be fun.

In my next journal entry you'll get a peek at the design I have planned out.