The New Look

Monday, March 30, 2009 18:30 | Filed in Blogging, The Pickards

Some of the more observant of you who actually visit this site (as opposed to say, those of you reading via a feed reader) may have noticed that I have changed the look of the site.

That’s not to dismiss Mike Cherim’s Seabeast theme in any way, shape or form. It’s a lovely theme and it has served me well for quite some time (it’s very well written, easy to customise, accessible and so on). However, precisely because it has served me well for such a long time, I’ve been getting a hankering to tinker about and produce a new design.

Also, a couple of versions ago, WordPress introduced the concept of widgets, which were plugins that you can basically drag and drop into your sidebar. I have wanted to play with these for some time, but as the Seabeast theme is not “widgetised”, I couldn’t do that.

So what I wanted was a new, widget-ready, three column, accessible, valid XHTML theme that was easy to customise. It proved a little tricky to find exactly what I was looking for, but the seawater theme from Gauson Designs came closest. It wasn’t perfectly accessible — the comment form had at least one incorrect label that I spotted, and it’s not as user-customisable as Mike Cherim’s Seabeast (this is more of a hack the code yourself to customise jobbie), but I’ve finally got something that I’m quite happy with.

You’ll notice that a lot looks similar to how it did before. This is deliberate: I wanted to evolve the design slightly rather than come up with a complete redesign. You may also notice that this is a fixed width design, a smidge under 1000 pixels across. This is not a problem for me. I don’t perceive fixed widths as morally inferior to fluid layouts, and so the fact that the design was fixed width didn’t bother me.

However, if you encounter any problems using this website, or you see something that looks obviously wrong, do feel free to comment here and let me know about it. Although if you are using a version of Internet Explorer that is 6 or earlier, I would be more inclined to suggest you switch to a newer browser first.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

31 Comments to The New Look

  1. paul canning says:

    March 30th, 2009 at 6:47 pm

    Hmm. At first I thought this was about the new Chanel biopic. Then it must be your new hairdo.

    Apparently not.

    Very ‘clean’ … and very right to evolve rather than shock the regulars

  2. Shannon says:

    March 30th, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    Love it! I probably change mine too often, but I can’t help myself. I get very antsy for change. Love how clean this looks and also the slightly larger text.

  3. Gary Miller says:

    March 31st, 2009 at 4:26 am

    Nice clean lookout and layout and, as Shannon says, the larger text is much easier to read. Nice one!

  4. scott says:

    March 31st, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    Much as I enjoy reading your site I am disappointed in your gradual change plan. It obviously shows that you have taken the time to care about what the people who visit might actually think.
    Now if you wanted to be really successful you would just change things in whatever way you see fit without consulting anyone (Facebook anyone?). In fact I am wondering how Tesco are going to frequently change their website so that I can’t find the items that I usually buy and have to go foraging around the site in the same way they manage in the store.

  5. Andy says:

    April 1st, 2009 at 10:52 am

    Your photo was sacrificed as part of the redesign – the one with you looking rather like The One Show’s Adrian Chiles (or was that just a combination of a small photo and my deteriorating eyesight?).

    I generally read your posts through Google Reader so the design’s a bit wasted on me – but now I’m here, have to say I like it.

  6. JackP says:

    April 1st, 2009 at 11:21 am

    @Paul Gary, Shannon – I had initially liked the old text style but had gradually been going off it. I’m sure there will be some more tinkering over here yet, but I do like the new text style now.

    @Scott – I never thought of the ‘Facebook’ approach (quick, change everything that people like!)

    @Andy – Adrian bloody Chiles? I need to put a new, different photo up there, then…

    @Paul – Dior boy, I didn’t think that was Chanel..

  7. Mike Cherim says:

    April 2nd, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    Looks really pro, Jack.

  8. Christophe Strobbe says:

    April 27th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I miss the hover effect on the h1 image.

  9. Gary Miller says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 9:15 pm

    When I decided a couple of months ago to finally grab the bull by the horns and join the blogoshpere, I too opted for Mike Cherim’s SeaBeast theme. The reason? It was the only one I could find that matched my No. 1 priority – accessibility.

    Now that I’m becoming familiar with WordPress I too have an urge to play with widgets. You just have to see the possibilities that are available!

    So, better start searching again…

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