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Thoughts on the re-design of my blog’s theme? June 21, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, random thoughts, Web 2.0, WordCamp, WordCamp Fraser Valley, wordpress.
Tags: , ,

Dear all,

I have a LOT of posts for your reading entertainment, but at the same time, I also would like to pause for a moment and listen to feedback from all of you, readers, fellow bloggers, random visitors… what do you guys think of my blog’s re-design? Rebecca was kind enough to spend time changing the theme of my site as I told her that I wanted a change (thanks Rebecca!).

Here are the changes if you want them in a summary, point-form (e.g. the elements I told Rebecca that were important to me in the re-design):
Narrower column for the text. Sometimes I write A LOT, and I don’t even realize it. I think that sometimes, readers may get tired from reading and that might not be a good idea. Yes, I know that content is everything and sometimes I need more space to develop an idea, but I think this looks crisper, cleaner.
Cleaner layout and top, header-type page alignment. That is, the pages (my “About Me” page and the “Some of my most popular posts” should be on the top, right below the header.
– The header needs to have the hummingbird symbol that Rebecca kindly adapted for me.
– I wanted the header image to look ‘geeky‘ (although this element has already sparked controversy).
– I wanted to include the badge for WordCamp FraserValley 2008 on the side bar.

So, any thoughts on the theme re-design? Suggestions always welcome. Drop a comment. Thanks!


1. Andy Peatling - June 21, 2008

I think this is a big improvement Raul. The design is a lot tighter than your old one and it brings everything together better.

2. Rebecca - June 21, 2008

I think that given how we’re limited ie. not able to touch the php or css or any design elements other than what WP.com gives you… yeah it’s still better πŸ˜›

3. Raul - June 21, 2008

@ Andy – Thanks! I agree, the design looks much tighter.

@ Rebecca – True. Since you didn’t actually write the theme and you couldn’t modify its CSS (given the fact that I am on WordPress.com, just with clean URLs), it might have made it hard. But still, I am very grateful for the improvements you did on my site!

4. Newmark - June 21, 2008

Well, I subscribe to it through bloglines. The new format doesn’t appear any differently there.

5. luc - June 21, 2008

Te felicito!
I like it that the site is still light and uncluttered so that it loads fast. I normally read the feeds and visit the site only to submit comments.
My suggestions, and I’m no designer by any means:
– colors: they seem too bland for a cheerfull hummingbird, No other bird possesses such a wide spectrum of breathtaking colors as the hummingbird.
– the text color scheme doesn’t have enough contrast and makes it harder on the eye: the light greyish text on the light purple background in the comments; the light purple text for the tags.
– suggest to move RSS buttons to the top because you probably want to encourage people to subscribe w/o scanning for “how do I do that” on the page, all the way down.
– same for Recent Posts
– Blogroll: I’ve always wondered what’s the value of it because I think that people visit other fine blogs thanks to being mentioned in an interesting post, or a comment, not due to a “shopping list”. IMHO, a blogroll is as fascinating as a book’s index.

6. teflonjedi - June 21, 2008

Looks very clean…I wonder if I should be redesigning mine? If I only had the time…

7. Raul - June 21, 2008

@ Newmark – I didn’t know you didn’t get the actual redesign. But you can read it directly now πŸ˜‰

@ Luc – thanks for the feedback. I’m going to be playing with the color scheme – will be playing with RSS buttons too

@ TeflonJedi – you probably should πŸ˜‰

8. Erika Rathje - June 22, 2008

Hi Raul,

Much easier to read for sure, as far as line length goes! Looks good. Kudos to Rebecca for taking on the task. I do have to say though (and I *am* a designer) that it lacks personality. It feels too generic, especially for someone with so strong a character as yourself! I second the thoughts on colours; that’s definitely a big part of it.

As I’ve spent little time in WordPress (.com no less) I’m not familiar with the restrictions imposed but any knowledgeable designer will tell you what a professional design will do for business. A blog is all about personality and while many people use RSS and I’m one of them, you might start thinking about giving yourself the freedom to experiment. After all, we wouldn’t have wacky looking and unique blogs if it were 100% about content, right? πŸ˜‰ “The medium is the message!” Best of luck.

9. Raul - June 22, 2008

@ Erika – Thanks! I need to move to WordPress.org to be able to modify the CSS. Unfortunately, I am not sure I am ready to do that just yet.

10. Rebecca - June 22, 2008

Raul, there were a few standard colour change options for this theme in a drop-down menu… remember you chose “cool blue”? Maybe there’s another colour that might fit for now?

11. Karen - June 22, 2008

Like the redesign, Raul and Rebecca! Text is easier to read in this format (though I echo Luc’s suggestion to increase contrast between the text colour and bg colours).

While we haven’t had the chance to meet in person, you certainly are more vibrant than “cool blue” =)

12. Raul - June 22, 2008

@ Rebecca and @ Karen – I don’t think I can alter the color scheme for text colour and background. That was one of the things I couldn’t modify. I tried with “Green” and all it changed was the color of the tabs.

13. Matt - June 23, 2008

I like the page buttons at the top, but preferred the old colour scheme. Could the blog roll go on its own page maybe? RSS would be better higher but isn’t too hard to find. I have visited a # of blogs lately with no visible rss button. WTF?

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