Archive for Posts Tagged with "design-web"

Everybody has something that they wish that they could do. For me, it’s art. Specifically drawing. More specifically, sketching. However, I’m just not blessed with that talent. If you’ve seen me draw, you’d feel an irresistible urge to remove the hot pokers that have somehow found their way into your eyeballs. My skills as an artist are, shall we say, extremely underdeveloped.

That being said, I really enjoy laying out and designing Web pages. The portion that requires a creative, artsy side frustrates me a bit. I’m always envious when I see an amazing design like, or an artsy-but-simple design like Karen Cheng’s. To compensate, I tend to favor a less-is-more, simplicity-is-good style of Web design.

Kate is hoping to turn her quilting hobby into a business. She hopes to sell custom baby quilts on commission, and possibly other items too. She tasked me with creating a Web site for the business, starting with a blog. I’ve had the basic design done for several months now, but just this weekend finished plugging everything into Blogger and getting it up and running. It’s pretty standard for a blog. Nothing schamncy. But I figure, why mess with success?

Laying out the rest of with full navigation and all the various components she (we!) want to include will be a bit more challenging. It’ll be a while until we’re ready to launch the site, as I need time to design/program, and she needs time to build an inventory. For now, you can see what we’ve done with the blog.

I threw together the new masthead in about 30 minutes tonight. I decided to be impetuous and actually upload it without testing how it actually looked as part of the page. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. What do you all think?

My biggest motivation behind changing the masthead was to use a picture of a guitar that was actually MY GUITAR. The previous masthead used a stock photo of a guitar that was very similar to mine. I also wanted to ditch the “Musings” bit from the title of the blog. “Musings” implies something a bit more philosophical or metaphysical than what I do here.

Here it’s just babies and dogs.

I have been urged over and over (and over) by Amy to use Movable Type as my blogging tool of choice. When my hosting company recently decided to start supporting Perl, this became an option (I think). Ken has recently moved to Moveable Type and has confirmed everything Amy said. You know, sliced bread and all that.

So I’m thinking about tinkering around with it some. The license fee is $70, but that apparently includes any future updates, so I’m thinking that’s not too bad. It also allows for 5 users, so if my lovely wife wanted to use it as well, she could do that. Her site might be due for a redesign soon, anyway.

But before I go and shell out the moolah, Ken is going to temporarily let me use one of his licenses to try it out. There are several key features that I’d like to incorporate. My two big ticket items are:

  • Categorical Posts
  • A Photo Blog (which will eventually lead to the return of the photo albums)

This is in no way an indictment of Blogger or the services they have provided so far. For a free publishing tool, I have been thrilled with what they’ve provided. But Moveable Type has more features that I’m ready to use. So it may take me a year, but eventually you’ll see some changes and improvements here.

I’ve been working on a redesign for the site for quite some time now. Well “working on” implies that it has been a constant effort. In reality it’s been sporadic at best. I wanted to do a redesign because the site was too bulky. There were too many areas that required updating that I had neither the time nor the inclination to maintain.

So what’d I do? I threw away everything but the blog. That’s it. That’s the site. I’ve done away with all the extraneous crap that was taking up space and nobody ever read, anyway. Eventually I will add back the photo albums. However, I won’t do that until I figure out how I want to handle the assembling and publishing. So for now, it’s only the blog.

I decided to stick with the basic color scheme and banner from the last incarnation (incidentally, all the old posts are still around), and only made some minor layout changes. To be honest, I’m not terribly happy with it yet, and there may be some additional tweaking that happens. Or possibly major overhauls. Same thing. Right?

Blogger is my current tool of choice, and I am giving some of its more advanced features a shot (listen to all the Moveable Type users out there laughing). Besides the refined visuals, some of the new features on include:

  • Each post now has it’s own post page, for permanent linking (click on “link to this item” to see a post-page in action).
  • The site now uses conditional blogger tags to provide varying content between the main, archive, and post pages.
  • The site now uses Blogger comments. While Enetation has been very good to me, I decided to give Blogger’s comments a whirl. I feel strongly that the comments I receive add a lot to each post. By using Blogger comments, I am ensuring that the comments will always and forever (unless my hosting company blows up their server) be tied to the post. Also, I can turn on the feature where blogger sends me an email when a comment comes in. So the bottom line is: easier for me, no smileys for you. So sorry!

As always, I wanted to give credit where credit is due. The following resources were immensely helpful in creating the new design. While it doesn’t look like much, parts of it were a real pain in the rear.

Smooth Curves in Photoshop, by Jim Amos (@ Graphikjunkie)
Faux Columns, by Dan Cederholm (@ A List Apart)
W3C Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Specification

I’m done geeking out now, and will come back with something entirely mundane and/or entertaining at a later date.