Explaining the redesign

As you can probably see, I have decided to give this place a new look. The old design was starting to feel a bit old, and to be fair it was easily the longest-serving design the website has had, so it was time for a change.

I had been thinking redesigning it for a little while, but couldn’t think quite what it was I wanted to change about it. Then I saw this groovy icon set which gave me the inspiration for the new design. As you can probably see, I have used a few of those icons and created some of my own based on the same idea. This stretched my graphic design skills to the limit but I think I have done an okay job at it.

Part of the motivation was not just to freshen this place up a bit, but also to make it more suitable for the direction I seem to have gone in. For whatever reason, I have been publishing fewer, more in-depth articles. So instead of resolving to create more content (which I sadly don’t have so much time for), I have gone about this redesign with a view to tapping into the archives and bringing more attention to the stuff I do that isn’t for doctorvee.

In the end, though, I was surprised at how little I actually changed. It is certainly a fresh lick of paint, but apart from that visitors should find that not much is actually different.

In the long run I will be thinking about ways of displaying content other than reverse chronological order. The traditional blog-style layout seems more inappropriate while I am unable to update so often, so sometime soon the front page might have a different feel to it, perhaps with more emphasis on archived content or showcasing articles that are filed under each of the main categories.

Speaking of categories, I have created a new one called Editor’s Picks. These are archived articles which I have decided to bring attention to. A list of these articles appears in the sidebar. I haven’t gone very far back though — just a few months. It will build up over time. It is really to replace the old featured articles plugin I used, which was a real pain in the neck to use. This solution should be much easier to maintain.

I have created a few new pages, although I haven’t quite decided where to put them yet. I have brought back the Subscribe page which outlines ways to subscribe. You can now subscribe by email if you are that way inclined.

The Praise page contains some kind things other people have said about my writing. I have noticed a few other bloggers bringing attention to that sort of thing, so I thought I might as well join the bandwagon.

I have also re-jigged the “best of” section which had become a bit cluttered. The main page is now called Highlights and brings to attention some notable articles from the archives — mostly when my writing has been featured in the mainstream media.

Popular articles as calculated by user ratings are now on a standalone page called Top rated articles.

There is also a totally new page called Media appearances, which I have created mostly to remind me of the good old days when I managed to get on the radio a few times. On that note I’d like to point out that I am available for any radio appearances, newspaper interviews and bar mitzvahs. And jobs, if anyone has a spare one of them going.

I haven’t quite finished the redesign yet, and I expect that it is still a bit rough around the edges. I also need to work a bit on browser compatibility. I designed it on Firefox 3, but having quickly checked it in other browsers there don’t seem to be many problems. But I wanted to switch it over to the new look so that I can get some feedback while I’m still working on it.

So if you have any thoughts, or if you see anything that seems broken, please do let me know!

4 comments

  1. I do like your new setup Stephen. Much as I would like to escape from the blogger.com designs I have little choice as I really don’t have the knowledge of technology you young people posess. That’s not an excuse by the way but a fact.

    Microsoft appears to be ‘blogger friendly’ but using it from a Mac perspective is rather different.

    Many on Macs manage to conquer that but I will stick with the design I can manage.

    That aside, I am impressed by your new design and long may it reign!

  2. Nice lick of paint Duncan, and I particularly like the new font you’re using.

    Most of the time I’m using a netbook with IE7 and the favourites sidebar open all the time, so with your site I have to scroll sideways some of the time, but I think that’s the same as your old design.

    But that’s why I use a simple blogger template – which usually seem to use fixed width designs – and like Subrosa I don’t want to get bogged down with the design aspect.

    One minor point though – with the sidebar open your main body text is hard up against it, thus no border, although this doesn’t happen with the sidebar closed.

  3. Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    Stuart, you’ve made a good point about the text being up against the edge of the window. I’ll try and get that fixed.