Few mistakes I made creating & launching ImpressKit

When looking back at the past months, there are a few things I wish I would do differently.

Published: Oct. 11, 2021

Writing about your own mistakes isn't particularly fun, but I hope this will make for interesting reading. If nothing else, hopefully, I will remember these lessons for my following projects.

Going with a dark theme

I don't exactly remember why did I choose to have a dark theme for the project. Perhaps because the vibrant pink looked pretty nice on the dark background, and I thought that if I had just a single theme, it would be better to have a dark one.

Now I have realized that dark-only websites are not that common. Another issue is that possibly offering also a light theme will be challenging. If I do it automatically, many people will suddenly see the entire project in a light theme. I think a switch from light to dark is much more manageable than vice versa.

Another thing is that designing for dark mode is more challenging. Especially for me, because I don't consider myself a proper "designer." Font weight works differently on dark backgrounds, and I had difficulty coming up with secondary and tertiary background colors.

Keeping the project secret

It now seems obvious that I should talk about this from the start. It wasn't that I was afraid someone would "steal" my idea but more that I wanted to show something that was at least somewhat polished and ready for use.

I worked on ImpressKit from April 2021 and launched the very first public version in early June 2021. In that time, I could have written a few blog posts, gotten the project out there, and possibly found devs interested in using it.

Not knowing enough CSS

CSS is one of the first technologies I ever worked with as a developer. I think it is almost ten years since I wrote my first line of CSS, but I never learned it properly. I always felt that I knew enough for my needs and ignored modern aspects like CSS Grid and similar.

Not knowing enough CSS made some parts of ImpressKit non-responsive, and I had quite a few sizing issues due to my limited knowledge of CSS.

Working on Indie Apps Catalog some months later, when I spent a reasonable amount of time learning CSS, was a much more pleasant experience. So if you are in a similar position - starting a web-based project with limited CSS knowledge - I encourage you to invest time to learn the basic and essential stuff properly. It will pay dividends.

Btw I can recommend the Conquering Responsive Layouts course - it's free and super.

Not enough planning for marketing/launch

I am not sure how vital launches for a product like this are, but I had no idea how to continue once I launched it.

There were many things that I needed to add, so I was a bit hesitant to share it, at least on Twitter, and try to get some people to use it.

I had a bit of success reaching out to devs I knew on Twitter via DMs and also tried some "cold DMs" that weren't successful. Also, possibly sending a link to the project meant that Twitter filtered these DMs even more, and Twitter stuffed them under the "Show more" button.

Thanks for reading!

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Filip Němeček @nemecek_f

iOS blogger and developer with interest in Python/Django. My recent projects include IndieAppsCatalog and ImpressKit.

iOS blogger and developer with interest in Python/Django. My recent projects include IndieAppsCatalog and ImpressKit.