Patrick Owens

I suck at design

  • design

I’ll be the first to admit: I suck at design.

It is something I’ve long struggled with. Quite often I can picture in my mind’s eye the general look at feel of something I’m trying to design. However, once I start implementing it; I am unable to realize my vision. I’ve been developing user interfaces a long time: from mods in World of Warcraft, to websites for my high school band, to the scaleform UI for War for the Overworld, to even in to my current professional life.

For the longest time, I’ve just accepted this as a limitation, and tried to work around it (or avoid it). I’ve relied on designers to make decisions for me. When I haven’t had access to designers, I’ve floundered around, making something that just doesn’t feel great. To double the frustration, I feel like it takes me far too long to design anything. I’ve even toyed with the idea of paying for a design for this site, or using a free template.

I would no longer like this to be the case. I would like to improve my ability to design. How am I going to accomplish this? To quote fatal1ty:

“Practice… The only way you’re going to get better. It’s the only way you’re going to be number one… number one at anything”

I’ve been studying other sites and literature, like Steve Schoger’s Refactoring UI, and This is part of the reason why I started my own site, as opposed to hosting posts on or medium. I’ve been experimenting with design tools like figma. Finally, rather than just looking at websites, I am trying to approach them with a critical eye.

I hope that some day I’ll be able to look back at the progression of layouts of this site and be able to recognize the improvement of my design skills.

That said, I’ve spent more time than I care to admit on this next redesign of my site, and I’m still not happy with it. I expect I’ll be tweaking it non-stop over time. I’ve drawn inspiration from several other portfolios and blogs for this iteration of the design. Some sites include:

  • Overreacted
  • Tania Rascia
  • herOneBag
  • wongmjane

Thank-you to all the above sites for serving as inspiration!

Patrick Owens
Patrick is a full-stack software engineer. He is a UI architecture specialst, infosec enthusiast, and mentor.