Jeffrey Zeldman redesigns in public… again

Web standards guru strips back site and goes mobile-first

Happy Cog founder and web standards guru Jeffrey Zeldman has once again embarked on a redesign of his website. According to his post on the subject, it's something he'd been itching to try since he first saw the web on a modern mobile device. At the time of writing, the site sports a single-column design, huge fonts, and is a marked departure from the previous version, which "deliberately hearkened back to the old, old days of [the] site".

We asked Zeldman (JZ) about his redesign, about redesigning in public, and his future plans for the site.

.net: Why have you decided to redesign your website? What was wrong, in your mind, with the previous iteration?
JZ: Nothing was wrong with any of the previous versions, but this version is designed for now. I love mobile for reading and I wanted to honour the concept of 'mobile first' by pushing it possibly farther than a sane designer would.

.net: What do you think the value is on redesigning in public? Should more people try this path, at least with non-commercial sites?
JZ: As an industry, we have evolved methods and processes that deliver precise and dependable results. This is wonderful for client work, but I sometimes mourn the spark of spontaneity that is necessarily lost as our processes mature and solidify. Redesigning in public is pants-down, balls-out scary. As such, it is liberating. All designers should try it; obviously, they should try it on personal projects!

.net: The type size is rather … large. What prompted that?
JZ: I love Webtype's Franklin – a brilliant David Berlow web font rendition of the classic Franklin Gothic – and I love big Georgia on modern operating systems. There is beauty in these things. I wanted to honour that beauty and I didn't want anyone to miss the point.

.net: Have you any plans to do a bit of media-query optimisation for different viewports, or are you aiming for a one-size-fits-all site?
JZ: I probably will do that, possibly even tomorrow, although I won't sacrifice the basic in-your-face-ness of the design. But I might fine-tune font sizes for different viewing contexts, while preserving the basic theme of bigness.