Website for Cincinnati based artist Emily Caito
Emily Caito’s website was in need of an update. Originally designed in 2010, the site was beginning to show its age. Tired of paying for expensive hosting, dealing with the bloat of WordPress and the lack of modern features, Emily hired me to do a soft redesign to bring her site up to date.
I originally built the site using WordPress, designing and coding a custom theme, with all necessary gallery plug-ins. Though this was common practice in 2010, modern web design has moved on from the unnecessary bloat and slowness of CMSs and dynamically generated pages, especially for smaller sites like Emily’s. With the goals in mind, I decided the best option was to rebuild the site using Jekyll, and host it on GitHub Pages, which offers free hosting for sites built with Jekyll.
Goodbye, Mr. Hyde
For those used to dealing with the bloat and slow loading times of a dynamic CMS, Jekyll is a breath of fresh air. Rather than relying on scripts to dynamically generate content every time a page is loaded, Jekyll runs on the developer’s computer (or GitHub Pages), and generates static HTML. This results in extremely fast load times, especially when coupled with a high-bandwidth hosting platform.
While Jekyll may seem like a complex CMS to use for client sites, there are many tools available to simplify the adding of content (such as prose.io) which offer the same ease of use that web design clients are accustomed to. A well-written config file is all that's needed to remove any guesswork for the client.
Smoothing out the Rough Spots
Being on a limited budget, and content with the general layout and æsthetic of the original design, we opted for a soft redesign of the site. A typographic update was applied, along with a simplified æsthetic. To truly bring the site up to date, all of the old code was thrown out, and the new site was developed responsively from the ground up.