I’m taking a look at Devin Bates’ site, burritoreproduction.com.
When people first got their sites set up, this site had some of the only visuals that stood out. Sadly, the original visuals have changed, but from what I remember, the homepage was bright blue with a distorted picture of what looked to be a person on it. I have no idea what this was, but it looked really dope.
I was disappointed in this visual change, but I got a bit more clarification from his posts. Like most of us who are just learning to use WordPress, Devin realized how difficult it is to actually make something look how you want it to. In his own words, he “decided to succumb to a theme template”. I understand this decision, but I hope his site can eventually get a more unique visual identity like it originally had.
Campbell’s “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure” proposes that students need to learn these tools instead of simply being told what to do. He proposes that students need to learn and develop their cyberinfrastructure on their own time. Devin seems to be doing that here. His Process Post 3 (Map it out!) shows how he plans to “compartmentalize the design process [of his website] into stages”. Even if his original site looked more interesting, I think he is taking a much smarter approach to fall back on a theme and learn WordPress slowly. Devin clearly wants to put in the work to develop his site into something unique.
I found this process post very interesting, as he took the complete opposite route I did when creating my site. He initially had ideas for what to do visually, but the knowledge was lacking to get it to that point. I initially had ideas for the visuals, and also quickly realized my knowledge was lacking. The difference, is I decided to just brute force it as opposed to Devin’s more methodological approach. I don’t think either of these approaches are better per se, as they each have their advantages. I’m sure Devin will learn more about how WordPress actually functions considering he is taking his web development slow. My site has my visuals very close to where I want them, but I don’t really understand how any of it works on the backend. I sort of just kept throwing code at a wall until something stuck. Devin’s approach is much better suited for long-term site maintenance, as I can see myself running into issues down the line.
I really like how Devin has created an online self. I don’t know Devin in-person, but his writing is very expressive. He has very choice language which gives me an idea as to the type of individual he is. Maybe this is the “disinhibition effect” that Suler talks about, or maybe Devin is just a zany guy in-person. Either way, I am not bored when reading his posts. His clear enthusiasm for the subject matter makes his writing very engaging. His website gives off a very organized and tidy vibe. He uses a lot of headings in his writing to make it very clear. Suffice to say, I’m a big fan.
Overall, I would say Devin has developed a very clear online self so far. It gives me the picture of a mindful, design-oriented individual. Nothing on his page seems haphazard, everything has had some thought put into it. I’m excited to see where he takes the blog, especially once he starts sorting out the visuals more.
* An additional comment right as I am about to post. I notice that Devin has reviewed my site! If you’re reading this, thank you Devin. Your feedback was very helpful. I appreciate his knowledge of the technical design aspects such as monotype fonts. This is a small thing, but I find it helps flesh out his online persona more. It shows he’s picked a subject he has considerable knowledge about instead of just picking a subject at random. Very cool Devin.