Portfolio Redesign

Notes on an iterative improvement

November 20, 2014

The design for my 2010 portfolio was functional on smaller devices, but not optimal.

In 2010, I launched the second iteration of my website portfolio and after four years, it is time for me update the design.

Key Problems

  1. The Lightbox deployment provides a less than optimal mobile experience. The site uses a Lightbox to transition between thumbnails and full size images. But on many small screen device, the thumbnails and the full size are the same size. I could turn off the Lightbox on mobile devices, but some of the content and navigation is embedded within the Lightboxes.

  2. Fixed width columns provide a less than optimal experience. The site has responsive features—the window width determines the number of columns, but the width of the individual columns are fixed.

  3. The design doesn’t allow for detailed descriptions or clear groupings of work.


I like the general minimalist design of the site. The lack of color makes it easier to display various work without worrying about it clashing with the site’s color palette. I like the Google Images format where thumbnails reveal larger content blocks that include a larger image as well as details. I think this format works well on a variety of screen sizes and is also a recognizable pattern for the user to intuit. I found Grid Gallery on GitHub which employs a similar solution. I forked it and added a few tweaks.

  1. Reduced the gap between images
  2. Turned off redundant images on small screens
  3. Turned off redundant arrows on small screens
  4. Added titles to the navigations arrows. Mouseover the > arrow and it says, “next”.

The switch from the Lightbox to the Grid Gallery formed the basis of the third iteration. I made content changes to fit with the design. I broke up the portfolio elements into more specific sections, with deeper navigation. I also included more details on the pieces.

I hope the new design works for you and stay tuned for iteration #4.

Learn more about creating effective media, view my Production Remarks.