Redesign Thoughts

I have started work on a redesign of this blog, this post is to refine my thoughts and elicit your opinions on what is good, memorable or just damn ugly about this blog.

Why

The current design was a rushed proof of concept, it is untidy and a few things annoy me, particularly the typography.

Identity

The colour palate, the excessive use of orange and the orange star have be commented on a number of times. So I intend to keep these features, they may be memorable for the wrong reasons, but they uniquely identify this blog.

Colour palate

There will be subtle changes, even the addition of another colour. However, the dominance of orange will remain.

Logo

The orange star has gone from being a design element to my logo by accident or bad design, so it will remain, might even get a tshirt with it on for SXSW (yes more shameless self promotion).

Fluid Elastic design

This is easily the most controversial part of the design. I get more comments on this than any all the other design elements combined. The most common that my font size is too big.

After spending the last couple of months using a laptop with a 15 inch screen at 1600 by 1200 and refusing to change the resolution just to browse web sites, I appreciated this feature and expect that most of the increasing number of visitors using high resolution laptops do to.

I will make a number of changes:

  1. Not to change the font size when visitors have settings different from default.
  2. Let visitors set their own preferred font size for the site.
  3. When visitor’s have their browser set to a letter box format (the browser window is much wider than high). The font size will be relative to browser height.

Typography

This needs improving, I have been reading Mark Boulton, Richard Rutter and NorthTemple on typography and gaining inspiration from their stylesheets.

I have already done most of the work on the typographic stylesheet, you will see far more consistent vertical height of all typographical elements and this will carry over to other elements of the design and graphical elements.

Layout

I will move to a three column layout, to produce a consistent navigation and look across the site. Currently different page type: home page, post and archives all have slightly different navigation and a different look and feel.

Theme

The current blog relies on a modified Kubrick theme. I have a few issues, regarding the semantics and SEO assumption made by the creators of Kubrick and while the Kubrick theme is good, Sandbox is better for what I need. Though it will be modified to suit my needs.

Flash

The use of Flash for scalable vector images will probably increase, however this will require the use of iframe shims to resolve the issue of layering Flash and HTML with Mac and *nix Flash plugins.

Flashblock

This plugin for Firefox, causes some problems with SWFobject, which I use to insert flash images when the correct version of Flash is installed. Flashblock removes the flash image after SWFobject has replaced the alternate content. However, as Flashblock requires Javascript to function, I should be able to use Javascript to reverse this.

Advertising

There will be unobtrusive advertising, not because I need or want to make money with this blog, it was the result of reading Brian Clark of Copyblogger&#8217s what&#8217s in it for you.

Work to do

I am currently done most of the design work with pen and paper, it is the case of putting it together with a computer. I still need to learn about iframe shims, rewrite the Javascript that does the font sizing and write the Javascript to handle FlashBlock.

3 Responses to “Redesign Thoughts”

  1. Tuna Says:

    Good on you for the redesign… I still think you have way too much time on your hands.

  2. Adam Schilling Says:

    Wow. Sounds like you have it planned nicely! :-)

    At the moment, I dig the boldness of this website. It definitely has ‘punch’ — I’d like to see you carry that over. I’m particularly looking forward to your typographic treatments (I’ve been reading the same articles and have been meaning to put them into practice myself).

    Good luck!

  3. Ben Winter-Giles Says:

    I’m with the Tuna, you have way too much time on your hands.

    That said, I’m deathly jealous. You are doing some really cool stuff here. The fluid elastic design works brilliantly on my MBP 15″, so for me and mine, leave the sizing as is.

    I definitely have crummy stylesheet envy.

    I’d support your handling features of Flash, and for the 3 column layout. Nav is a fundamental flaw in many blogs.

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