Site Redesign 2011

Well I finally got around to it! For months I’ve been procrastinating and finding other thing to do, but today I am proud to announce that I have successfully redesigned the blog and built a new theme. What you see before you is the result of many hours working on design and coding (as most websites are), during the process which spanned several months, I had about 4 different designs for the blog. But after about a week I found myself disliking every one. But I managed to finally design what I think is a rather clean and simple theme to house the blog. Unlike the theme which preceded this new one (I’m calling it ‘Focus’ by the way), I set the primary goal being that of reducing visual noise. Each time I came to design an element I asked myself “is this really essential?”, because I wanted to design an experience that foregrounded the content above all else.

So what have I done to ensure your reading isn’t distracted? Well you won’t find a sidebar anywhere on the site. You won’t find a list of months in which posts were published, and you won’t find my latest tweet anywhere on the site. Why not? Well the way I see it is this. Most people come to Tom’s Big Box to see the articles I written – in fact in most cases I visit blogs for that purpose, and that purpose alone. So why should I add all this visual noise when nobody cares about it? If you want to see my latest tweet, follow me on Twitter. As for the archives, you can view all posts by date on the archives page, but if you want to see them any other way you will have to guess that URL; why? Because I asked myself the question “have I ever wanted to see what posts were posted in a given month?” – nope. And I doubt any of my visitors have either – I can see only 1 unique on a month’s archive.

Above: I even recorded the bulk of the coding side of things in a timelapse!

But beyond removing certain elements, I’ve also added certain things like better code highlighting (expect a tutorial soon), and better semantic markup. The site is now coded in HTML5 meaning I can call myself one of the cool kids. I’ve also removed a number of plugins and just generally cleaned up the code, so the site should be working a lot faster. I’ve also written some very specific code just for mobile to ensure you get the best viewing experience – even though the changes are subtle, they make a big difference. I’ve also added caching to speed things up!

And that’s it! I hope you like the new theme and I hope it helps you get a clearer view of what you are trying to see, and if you have any questions, or notice any errors, please send me a pigeon.