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Speakin' OutHere I share my thoughts, tutorials, freebies
inspiration to the design community.

Out with the Old, In with the New

Free Texture Pack Sky and Lens FlareIt’s only been less than a year since I released the ninth version and in a span of less than two years, I’ve already had three versions of this site. Yes, three! The previous versions have appeared in a couple of online and offline publications which is great and a massive thank you to everyone who made that possible! Now I feel like it’s about time for another redesign. I felt like the previous version was getting a little cluttered and heavy and that’s probably one of the reasons why I have had little motivation in writing new stuff.

A Little Bit of History
Doghouse, as how it was spelt before, had already been born even before I’d ever heard of web design. I came up with such name as a tribute to the very first dog I ever had whom I loved so dearly. The site was built for the sole purpose of showcasing my illustrations and some thoughts and inspiration I found about cartooning that I wanted to share. Its first few versions were on Bravenet and GeoCities. Somewhere along the way, I noticed that several other small businesses had already been using the name Doghouse and one designer owned, thus, the name evolved to Dawghouse. When I finally decided to move to a paid domain, I acquired, but a few years later, I missed paying its annual dues so someone else took ownership of it. I had to get a new domain, which is what you’re seeing now,

Over the Years
In 2008, I decided to join the blogging bandwagon. Dawghouse Design Studio, which was supposed to be just an online portfolio to showcase my work, evolved into a blog where I share my thoughts, tutorials and freebies to the design community.
Dawghouse Design Studio

The following year, I decided to allocate more time to writing and thought that I needed more space so I came up with version 9 below.
Dawghouse Design Studio

The Need for Speed
Everyone hates waiting in line. Everyone hates waiting at a restaurant for a long time for food to be served. And have you ever wondered why none of us visit those really fancy, million-dollar official film sites to watch the trailer of a movie and we instead head over to IMDb, YouTube or Rotten Tomatoes? It is because of that very same reason. We simply do not like to wait. YouTube makes you wait only for the trailer. Official sites make you wait for the entire site, plus the sections within it, plus the trailer to load so that literally triples the waiting time.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming the technology being used but how it is being used.

Yes, patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait, unfortunately, and I would like to quote Trent Walton on this

“That ‘good thing’ the user is waiting for isn’t your website — it’s family dinner, time with their kids, or a few extra minutes of sleep.”

Spot on, Trent.

That being said, another reason why I thought of redesigning my site is because I would like to reduce the clutter and make the load time faster. For a while now, I have been using tools like YSlow, Google Page Speed and a couple of others to analyze my site’s performance. If you would like learn more about increasing your site’s performance and reduce its load time, Dave Rupert has some really good tips to share.

I previously worked for an entertainment company and a lot of the sites we built involved exploding, panning, zooming in and out when shifting from one section to another and it was once even suggested, for no apparent reason at all, that for this one site for a horror movie we were making, a game about butchering a person should be added. What is the goal of the game? Nothing. You just butcher the person. Yes, these effects are cool. I find them cool. But it doesn’t last. I realized that after it happens for the 20th time, it kind of feels like… I bet a lot of us feel the same way.

I have to admit that over the years, my site may not have been the best example for fast-loading sites but I’m quite happy that I now got a grade of B from a D. I think that’s a pretty good start and I know that I am a step forward in the right direction.

However, I would like to reiterate that I am not blaming the technology being used but how it is being used. Let us stop pointing fingers and just use whatever technology is appropriate and best for each project. Technology is moving so fast and there’s always a bit of fear to step into unfamiliar territory, but we should still just learn to embrace it, try the new things that come our way and upgrade our skill set rather than wasting our time looking for what and who to blame. Each technology has its own use. No need to kill off each other.

Redesigning the Redesign
It took me a few months to come up with this new version. It’s right what they’re saying about the worst client who is yourself. I originally came up with this version below but there’s something missing about it. I couldn’t quite put a finger on what it was. Turns out that what I originally planned as a “refining” moment transformed into redesigning the whole thing again.
Dawghouse Design Studio

After coming up with this current version, instead of launching it immediately, I decided to sit with it for several weeks, spend time refining it and and examining what the necessary elements and sections really are and get rid of whatever aren’t deemed necessary.

I will miss the old version but I know there’s a lot of exciting things in store for this new version to look forward to.

So everyone, here is the tenth version of Dawghouse Design Studio. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Dawghouse Design Studio



Congrats, Jan! I love the vintage look and feel <3 You are an inspiration!


This is so unique in style. I agree on heavy sites. I’m glad you have now given consideration to speed

Trent Walton

Great work, Jan. I’m loving the halftone banners, type and snappy CSS transitions.


Very nice, clean and simple, good job.

Trey McMillan

This looks kickass, Jan! Congrats!

Jan Cavan

Thank you everyone for the great feedback! I’m really happy you like the new look, thank you! I’m so sorry if you may come across a few minor errors. I’m still working on them. A big thank you once again!

@Trent Walton: Thanks, Trent! I have admired your work for a while now and that means a lot coming from you :)

Kalee Eversole

Looks absolutely lovely Jan! I’ve admired your work for quite some time now, and I think you’ve made a great move with this clean, truly spot on design. As a female web design novice myself, you’re one of the female web ladies I really look up to for great designs and great functionality. Again, very lovely work!

Jan Cavan

@Kalee Eversole: Thank you so much for the kind words, Kalee. I really appreciate it :)


I reaaaaally like it ! Clean and lovely !
Congrats Jan !

Jan Cavan

@NanOw: Happy you like it, thank you!


My jaw dropped when I saw this. Seriously. It’s way much better than the previous versions. It’s simple but nothing short of awesome.

Jim Goodall

congrats, Jan! This new site looks great!


Pat on the back here Jan !
A move in the right direction- I like it !


This looks great Jan..Congrats!!!xD

Jan Cavan

@Billy: Happy to hear you like it, thank you!

@Romil: Thanks mil and thanks again for all your help :)

Jennifer Brandon

Really nice! It’s fantastic. I’m a big fan of your work, and I love the new angle for your site. Well done!

Jessica Lee

It’s probably been a little less than a year since I started visiting your blog. I just noticed yesterday that you re-designed your website, and I love it! :) The previous design was nice and unique, but I do agree with you that it was getting cluttered. I love the simplicity and cleanness of your new website!

rod rodriguez

I’m a huge fan, even wrote a short feature of your old design on my blog. I have to say you just keep getting better and better. This current version is mind blowing. Enjoy FOWD, that’s really amazing!

Ven Francis | Web Ninja Wannabe

cool! needless to say i’m a dog lover too :P i’d love to feature you on my site if you like :)


thanks for info it’s really nice articles

Jan Cavan

Thank you all for the great comments. I really appreciate it :)


It’s really nice.. good job


The forum is a bhrgiter place thanks to your posts. Thanks!

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