We value hand-crafted goods because they have a human touch.
We can tell if a carpet, a vase or a piece of soap is hand-crafted because they all bear the subtle markings of their makers. It’s all about the wabi-sabi. The imperfection of a creation that isn’t machine made enhances its beauty. It transforms a commodity into a personal gift from one human to another.
Can the same be translated to the digital medium? One that we cannot touch and feel?
A hand-crafted website is one where its creator has written every line of HTML and CSS themselves rather than using readymade templates or layouts. A digital creation might not have imperfection in the same way that a physical object does. But it does reflect the individual choices that its creators have made. It could use a font, a layout and a style that doesn’t have the same industrial sameness that a standard wordpress site does. The degree of customization that writing every line of markup behind your website offers allows it to bear the marks of its creator. These marks transform a digital commodity into a personal gift from one human to another.
Hand-crafting has as much a role to play in the digital world as it does in the physical world.
PS: I published my own hand-crafted website today.