Robin Rendle
• Oakland, California

Every website is a gift

“Let a website be a worry stone,” Ethan wrote last year and I believe that’s so very true. We can treat our personal sites like stress balls and use all that pent up anxiety about the state of the world; we can tidy up the fonts, improve the Lighthouse score, tweak the colors, or edit the copy of an old blog post just because it helps.

I’ve spent many an anxious weekend doing just that. Every time the fonts on here change it’s because I’ve been worried about something and I just need to direct my focus into this one, tiny little detail to smoothe things over.

And so over the years I’ve found that my website is a worry stone, yes. But at the beginning of the pandemic it struck me all of a sudden that a website can be a gift. Like the example I made a few weeks ago when I wrote about how I made a little website for my girlfriend’s birthday and transformed myself into a Stardew Valley character. I then continued to passive aggressively wish her happy birthday…

A picture of the website I made

Before that I made a website for a pal’s birthday because he happens to be somewhat in love with Animal Crossing but even more in love with Blathers. So I made a text adventure game where he talked to Blathers and played a little game.

(I am bragging about this one as well because the website even plays the music and everything.)

A text adventure game inspired by Animal Crossing

Finally, for another close friend’s birthday I made a website that mimics a thread of texts sent to her from Jeff Goldblum. Jeff introduces himself and then introduces each of her friends in turn to wish her happy birthday. This was fun because I got to write in Jeff’s peculiar cadence but also got to imagine what my pal would reply in kind:

An example of the website

So websites can be serious things; we can turn them into great wells for us to cast our anxieties into, or stress balls for us to relieve the pressure of our lives. But a website can also be a delicately wrapped bundle of words and colors, with the express purpose only to make someone you love smile.

We should remember that every website is a gift.