How: designing a website

Ana Varela

What is a website? What does it have to have? When is a website done? Do we need a website?

When we revisit our old website, it doesn't speak to us, it feels like too much is missing… And I’m not talking about images, or sections, or words. Maybe also but, you see, for us at Komuhn, the most important thing is not the end result or the final product. It’s how you get there (if you get there, even).

We propose that everything should go through a process of exploration. And this process can be as exciting as unpredictable. Most of us are not used to doing things this way - where you need to stay in the “I don’t know enough yet” area, researching and learning as much and for as long as possible. After that, with these learnings you start building something, but in a very iterative way. Fighting to not go too ahead too fast, even if you are so excited about an idea or concept since you must then, take that and break it apart with testing and rebuilding. It’s only through this process that you can find the real questions you need to ask - the whys. This can get tricky, since it can lead you to put into question something you thought was defined and sure in your mind, bringing up all sorts of uncomfortable feelings. But at the same time, if you are able to embrace this process, it will surely take you in such an exciting, refreshing process that in the end, is all about movement, learning and growing. Pedro talks more about this in his “Outgrowing” post.

A website that is done behind closed doors and then revealed all ready and “finished” goes in the opposite direction of everything we propose in our ways of working. This static product expires as soon as it’s done because we are not showing how it got done. All the things we explored and learned, all the tests and prototypes, all the things that got tossed or are in the list of things we would like to still do, all the feedback we didn’t get. Because it’s a case-closed instead of an open book.

This is why we are coming with a new approach to how we communicate Komuhn: We need to learn how to show what we do, and mostly, how we do it.

We’ve struggled, procrastinated and avoided communicating ourselves and Komuhn for a very long while now and recently, Pedro came up to the team with: “How to get back to communicating Komuhn - A proposal.” You can read more deeply into it over here and check the conversation happening in the thread.

I think what Andréa has written as feedback to this, resumes very well the sentiment around it all:

“(we) want to share the raw thing, the process, the building, the pains and the victories, our sweat, our love for what we do. [...] it is a big deal for us, especially because we have such high expectations for it to grow and for us to grow with it.”

All this process will be our communication and honestly, the messier, the merrier (embracing chaos could be another conversation to have soon).
We want conversations, questions, discussions, iterations constantly simmering around, and so, to start, our website will be the hub that gathers it all in one place.

As of now, our website:

  • Will start as a bare-bones version to quickly start publishing content somewhere ours and showing its evolution in the process.
  • It’s where we will be raising questions, talking about our process and ways, about the projects we are developing and learnings, about life and growing, and using this website as a “project discussion group” where we organize all the things we are doing
  • Will have a "Log" section that would update with every change and update made to the website. We will work on it as much as we can, aiming to do it everyday.
  • Will link all the places where we are developing our work, like the documents where I'm writing this post right now, the files where the website is being drawn, or the tasks board where we are organizing to-dos. We want to make the process as much visible and open as possible. 
  • Will have a comment section so more people can participate in all these questions and conversations.

This is it, this is how we are making our new website. Are you curious?

We are too, and really excited! We don’t know where we are going and we are proud of it. This whole process feels like we are getting ready to go on an adventure exploring the unknown. 

We anticipate learning a whole lot about Komuhn, about community, and oh boy, about ourselves too.

Ana Varela

What are you thinking?

Comments (7)

  1. Vasco Amaral

    Would be really cool if i could comment a part of the text and create a discussion arround it. There might be a really interesting point that i wat to talk more about but is not the essence of the text, so being able to create a separate discussion arround it, would maybe bring more people into the discussion.

  2. Pedro Reis

    So what it is that is missing that this website would work as our project discussion group? I’ll start:
    – Notifications when there’s something new
    – Possibility to tag users
    What else?

    1. Andréa Adão

      Hm.. so many things and none at the same time (loving to see it at the bare minimum)!
      Here goes nothing (ahah, so funny):

      — Add text formatting toolbox to comments functionality
      — Possibility to add tags
      — Search functionality
      — Comments levels/layers, do we need to add/limit it for readability? First level for a direct reply to the post, second for a reply to a reply.
      — Related threads section?

      1. Pedro Reis

        Is this reply to a reply, working?
        At least need to check the font sizings.

      2. Pedro Reis

        Also all the top comments/replies are being highlighted which then makes it harder to distinguish what’s newer and read the thread.

      3. Ana Varela

        I was testing the reply to comment functionality and noticed, it’s a bit confusing that when you click reply, it takes you down to the bottom of the pages, meaning you can’t then see the comment you are replying to anymore.

        And yes, the sizings need adjusting, they are increasingly bigger ( do they have a limit? 🤣)

    2. Ana Varela

      Oh yes, all of those you mentioned, plus images!