Why I Designed A Vertical Portfolio Site

Designing for yourself is tough. And when I set out to redesign Rowan Made's website, I went through more rounds of iterations than I care to admit before landing on the current design. ;) That said, if you've taken some time to click around the main screen, you'll notice that the majority of the site is all on one page, a vertical portfolio of sorts. When I first considered doing this, it was a total moment of clarity for me, when the design seemingly fell into place. But there was a bit more strategy to it than that. Here's why I really created a vertical portfolio website:

For the past few years, there's been a huge shift in responsive design + development, and for good reason, too! People are accessing the internet from their mobile devices more and more these days, so much so that it's knocked desktops (and laptops) out of the top spot. As a designer, it was tough for me to embrace responsive design in the beginning. I've always loved the wide horizontal working space that desktop screens give us to create complex + unique websites, so when mobile design came into the picture and demanded more fluidity, I may or may not have rolled my eyes. Oops.

But here's the thing: change happens all the time, especially with technology. You can either stay where you are and potentially get left behind or move forward and embrace it. Sure, it took me a little bit to fully jump on the responsive bandwagon, but I'm here now, and I love it. Truthfully, designing the new Rowan Made website was the first time I was able to change my perspective on the matter.

After designing a handful of static website options that relied heavily on pages and pages of content (AKA, lots of clicking), I stopped and asked myself an important question: How can I design a website that I love on both desktop and mobile devices? Something that's easy to use + navigate no matter what or where it's being used? This was my turning point. I thought about how I interact with websites in both environments and decided to embrace verticality.

Think about it. When you're on your phone, you scroll because it's easy. But when you're forced to click on various links (a lot) to get to where you need to go, it's not as fun (or easy). I also saw it as an opportunity to take advantage of both horizontal AND vertical space, covering both desktops and mobile devices. Win win! On a desktop, my website takes up the whole width of a browser, using the vast wide space it's given to fulfill it's unique + complex dreams. But it's still vertical, allowing users to easily scroll down and find exactly what they're looking for. On a mobile device, users are able to continuously scroll and take in a lot of information without leaving the page much at all.

So there you have it, the reason behind Rowan Made's vertical website! But don't take my word for it. This article heavily inspired me all those months ago around revision 206 (or something). ;)