It definitely sounds strange to write about how a personal website changes. But I learned a lot from this fickle trends, and at the same time, paid a lot of price for it as well.
My first website was quickly created using Axure as a fast solution (2014-2015)
If you work in the UX field, people usually ask you for your portfolio. So when I was studying at HCDE, I needed a rapid way to put a website together for the coming up career fair. Without a second thought, I use Axure and put everything together.
Initially I wanted to be a researcher, and would like to create a portfolio to show my research work. For me, a quick way to create a portfolio for a researcher is to create a site in Axure like a researcher would create a quick mockup.
My skill in Axure was definitely sharpened after I made my very first website. But I decided to replace it with my new one made in HTML, which is easier to maintain in the long run.
Moreover, a website should be responsive. There is no way for me to create a responsive website by using Axure but code. That is why I abandoned my old site.
My second site was made in HTML5 and CSS but quickly out of style (2015-2018)
In my second year in HCDE, I took a class about building a site using HTML5 and CSS. It was a terrific class, and I learned how to put my own site together.
It was originally hosted free under University of Washington since I was a student, but after I graduated, I have to move it to Amazon Web Service.
In early 2010s, the website design trend still had a flat color background and a major box usually with round corners which carried all smaller content blocks in it. Not much gif or video was used, and the interaction between blocks are more static when compared to the trend we have now.
I noticed in around 2017 the whole web design trend switched to no border or block style. Personally I am a shadow lover, but no shadow should be involved since flat design is the trend.
My second site looked like an antique when compared to other sites.
Feeling like living in an old house, I wanted to renovate my site by changing codes. Similar to how I renovated my old house, in the very beginning, I wanted to replace some small items, probably small items just about the look. I started integrating new elements into my content blocks, such as gif and complicated interactions of blocks to the second site. I felt like I was putting a lot of patches to a house without thinking if it can hold all these new elements. Then one day, the site crashed, and I had no idea how it happened since I gave it too many patches.
In the end, I realized that I need to rebuild the entire structure since the old structure can not handle heavy new elements on it. Then I start to worry, what if I need to rebuild the entire site again in a few years. The problem is that I have a way too much content that I am not sure if I will have that time and effort to rebuild the entire site.
Moreover, I want a site not just for a show case of my work, but also something useful to others. A site people will find helpful information on it about topics they are interested. A site that I can quickly update contents and revise it.
My third site with WordPress.com (2018- forever hopefully)
After researching a lot of options, I decided to go with WordPress.com. WordPress allows me to update the templates quickly when the next trend of web design comes, I am all ready for updating everything.
Of course there is a huge drawback. Templates only offer me limited options for customization. That is, I can not customize every element detail in my website. For example, on the menu, this template does not have a submenu/page called portfolio or blog to browse all portfolio or blog items. In UX professional point of view, I would consider it is not user friendly. I had to create a page to serve as a menu for all projects in portfolios and an entry page for all blogs. It was a little bit hard because WordPress gives users limited ability to customize pages.
I will keep looking for the template that suit best since switching template is not difficult. I found follow the design trend is fun, but just like renovating a house, I have to pay a price as well.