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Monday Postcard #235 – The Thrills of Building a Website

Monday Postcard #235 – The Thrills of Building a Website

Monday Postcard 235 The Thrills of Building a Website

After I announced the redesign of Pelagona last Monday, it felt very strange. On the one hand, it was a big relief. I had been working on this project for months and finally it was done. On the other, the more the week progressed, the stranger it felt. It is hard to put it in words, but I think this was due to the intensity of working on it for a long times- Suddenly it felt like I was missing something. My days did not start thinking about which subsite to work on, which bugs to fix, which photos I needed to edit. Every time I work on a website project, I get the same feeling – a combination of excitement and nervousness, because I never know what to expect this time and which exact skills will be needed for that particular website. It always feels a bit like a rollercoaster.

Just like any other project, it starts with a rough idea. I knew where I wanted to take Pelagona. In my head it was very, very clear. The challenge is always to bring these thoughts to paper. Do I need a new logo? Do I need a new colour scheme? How do I want to make people feel when they open the site? How will it all become coherent? At this stage, I also dig through a lot of other websites which I like and try to get inspiration from them. 

Soon, the idea is being turned into a more structured concept. I like to compare building websites to writing a research paper. First, you need an idea, then you need to translate it into a structure and then it needs to come to life. I break the concept down into a more detailed one and then further break it down into so-called “flow charts”. You can imagine these like a huge flipchart on which you stick post-it notes. Every note stands for a sub-site and then you have to think through every process how all the notes will link to each other. And then again, I break the flow chart down and make one for each sub-site; the post-it notes become the buttons and links on that site and so forth. During this process, you usually find me with many A3 sheets, probably on the floor. I sketch on the paper and write down anything which comes into mind.

Then comes the scary part. For some reason, it never gets easier and it always takes me some time to overcome a few days of procrastination. The first steps of bringing a website concept to life are always the hardest ones. I have to mute my doubts, stop overthinking and just get started. I never formally learned how to code. I am 100% self-taught (and also learning from very good friends who work in tech). Maybe this is why every single time these doubts start creeping into my mind. Will you be able to do it? Will the migration really work? What if you damage the code? What if it crashes?

I usually start with an easy sub-site and slowly work my way to the more important ones. Once I see small steps of success, it definitely becomes easier. And once I really get started, there is nothing stopping me. There have been many days recently where I was “glued” to the laptop, I even forgot to eat or even drink, because I was so focused on a particular task. (No joke.) Naturally, there are always issues and sometimes it looks as if you cannot solve them, in the end, you will be surprised how much you can achieve.

The amazing thing about digital media is that you can build your own world. The sky is the limit. I love the democratizing character of the coding world. It is similar to painting or writing a novel – anything you can think about is somehow achievable. Somehow – it may just take some time to research or to find the right person to help you out. Anything is possible for anyone once you start getting used to the “language”, the code. When I started out in tech, I knew almost nothing – probably even less than that. I soon realized that if I wanted to bring my ideas to life, I had to get a basic understanding of coding too. Like with any language, it makes it way easier to communicate when you show that you are eager to learn and want to get better at it. Even though it was daunting at first, I soon saw the benefits: communication with tech teams became much clearer and I was able to understand where they were coming from. From there, I took baby steps into building websites myself. Looking back at this development, it is amazing to see the progress. It is just when you learn Italian, for example. During a holidy, you manage to order a meal for the first time. Some time later, with a bit more practice, you manage to lead entire conversations about a multitude of topics.  

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Frankly, I would have never imagined that I would ever write a Postcard about tech, or, about a website I worked on, published on another website I have built myself. It is pretty cool – yes, I do sound nerdy, but if “nerd” is a term for somebody who tries new things, gets out of their comfort zone, keeps learning and achieves great things, I am happy to be a nerd!

Thank you for all your feedback about the new website and collection. It makes me really happy to read all your messages.

Have a great week ahead!

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