This day’s portion Navigation Menu

Minimalism as narcissism

We sometimes just want to look at and appreciate our websites. Sometimes we want to make them as minimal as possible. It’s all part of the same narcisstic urge, and it’s probably quite healthy to indulge it.

It would be easier to design a rather beautiful website if I didn’t feel this one had to provide a certain amount of functionality, such as comments (originally because indieweb, but now because some folk bothered responding to what I’ve written, which engenders an odd feeling of responsibility).

I get annoyed when other websites fail to provide basic, useful information in an easy to find place, such as a publication date adjacent to a blog post title. I also appreciate being able to reach a list of posts in one click, instead of having to hunt for the archive page link at the bottom of the page, or even having to guess its URL.

All these pieces of UI – while making for better “experiences” – create noise, making it harder to contemplate our reflection.

A young man staring at his reflection in a pool.

But I’m no less narcissistic than the next man – I spend half my time writing about this website, after all – and every now and again I’ll pare it back, so a blog post only consists of a title, the text and, if you’re lucky, a publication date underneath it all. Navigation will consist of a sole link to the home page, and even that might well skulk in the footer. And it will look good. And then I’ll fix it.

These are our own sites, and we don’t really owe anyone anything from them: no-one’s paying us a salary to write about webmentions, and it’d be nice to free ourselves from the shackles of usefulness, especially if use is what we spend our working day in thrall to.