Redesigning my site for 2023

09 Apr 2023 • Blog Post

It’s been about three years since I last redid my website — and a lot has changed since then!

Back in 2020, I assumed I’d become a software developer, so put a big emphasis on my work, but I’ve actually a PhD student, so I need somewhere to post about my research and publications. The regular blog posts I was planning to make have, of course, not happened, instead I’m going to try writing shorter-form updates and include links to things I’ve done elsewhere.

Technical Overview

This time I’ve built my site with 11ty. It’s definitely my favourite static site framework at the moment and have now used it for a couple of projects[1].

I’m using eleventy’s first-party plugins building with Vite, image optimisation, and syntax highlighting - the great ecosystem is definitely one of the best features of 11ty for me. I’m also using WebC for some small aspects of my site (optimised images and markdown formatting), and I’ll see about migrating more to it in the future.

Using Collections

I’m using Eleventy’s really powerful collections to do a couple of interesting things. Since things can belong to multiple collections, I can add both blog posts and links (such as the one to the Sheffield Computer Science blog) into an updates collection, and also a featurable collection if they should appear on the homepage. I’m also using programatically generated collections to filter out some older blog posts I wanted to archive.


Previously I’ve created prototypes in Sketch before jumping in, but I decided to adopt the full Tailwind CSS-driven prototyping workflow and designed as I went, refining with what did and didn’t work. The end result is a little more minimal than before, but I’ll be expanding it as and when I add things to my site.

I’ve stuck with Inter as my site’s typeface, and added JetBrains Mono for code. Typography is handled by the @tailwindcss/typography plugin.


I’ve swapped from using Netlify to Cloudflare Pages now, which I’d already done with the other static sites I use. Although Netlify was my go-to for a long time, recent changes (like the decision to restrict private repository sites from organisations) have put me off it a bit. When I first tried Cloudflare Pages in its private beta it was ridiculously slow and borderline unusable, but it’s now really caught up.

Still to do…

There’s still a few things I’d like to do, such as implementing dynamic social card images, and probably evolving the design a little bit as I add more content.

I also need to work on build times, which are a bit slow currently. Cloudflare Pages takes around a minute to build my site, which I believe is caused by eleventy-image’s optimisation process. I can’t really see a way round it right now, but I’m open to suggestions.

  1. Such as ↩︎