"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
May 23, 2012

New Design

It’s been a while since I gave this site a major facelift – too long in fact. The new layout is not perfect, or finished. There are still small tweaks to come. But, it was close enough to what I wanted; time had come to release it into the wild. I’m pleased with the way […]

It’s been a while since I gave this site a major facelift – too long in fact. The new layout is not perfect, or finished. There are still small tweaks to come. But, it was close enough to what I wanted; time had come to release it into the wild. I’m pleased with the way it looks and really enjoying using the “art squiggle” as a logo (I’ve been drawing that since I was a child).

For the last few years, I had used premium themes from Graph Paper Press , which I then tweaked to suit my style. I still like Graph Paper Press a lot. They are a great company that keep on innovating. GPP designs, out of the box, are awesome; especially for photographers. But, I became very frustrated with trying to customise the themes to my (text-intensive) needs.

So, I decided to switch to Catalyst. Initially, Catalyst is very vanilla and minimal. But, you get a lot of tools that help you customise your site. In fact, you get control over just about everything and a very nice CSS generator for the bits you want to super-fine tune. I used Catalyst for other sites I’ve built recently, like The Society for Film and sgmuso, so it made sense to build my new site with it as well.

In the new design I’ve tried to correct a few things I’d grown to dislike about the previous design. I wanted the about me and contact pages to be more prominent. It was important to make the photo gallery look interesting and a little different from the norm and for the photos to be iOS-friendly. The time was right to add a disclosure page. I wanted to implement a responsive design, given that my tablet readership just keeps going up. It was important to make the site easier to navigate, with a simpler menu and more information in the sidebar. And, I wanted a SoundCloud-rich music discovery page.

Most importantly of all, I needed to make the posts and pages more readable. By far, the biggest criticisms I had about the old site had to do with readability and text layout.

So, please take a look around and let me know what you think. If you have any questions, criticisms or bugs to point out, then get in touch.

Tagged
4
Responses
spike 11 years ago

Very nice and clean, nothing in the layout to distract from the content, which I like. Curious what differences you see between Catalyst and Photocrati (assuming you looked at the latter?).

    Fernando Gros 11 years ago

    Spike – They are different solutions. Photocrati is impressive, but it’s specifically a photographic gallery oriented solution with some customisation. Catalyst is geared towards building your site from scratch, with lots of control and back-end support. But, it’s not an out of the box photography site builder.

Toni 11 years ago

Clean is the first thought that came to my mind too, Fern.

Since you were after design comments, when it came to entering my name, email address etc in order to post I had a moment of puzzlement before I realised the label Your Name* applied to the box above, rather than below, and that the pale bordered bars were the boxes, rather than stylistic elements. Breaking convention is not necessarily bad however, and it may say more about the slightly addled state of my brain and the inability of LCD screens to display differences in density well (viewing on the macbook).

    Fernando Gros 11 years ago

    Hey Toni – thanks for that. The styling of comments was one of the areas I was most unhappy with in the previous design. The new layout is not perfect, but a lot closer to what I like.

    That said, I will take a look at the design issues you’ve mentioned. This new layout is not finished.

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