Say Hello to the Editör.

After an unhealthy amount of hours, I’ve finally managed to put together a new design. I was originally looking to buy a precooked, clean, responsive WordPress theme with a writing focus that had a footer and a right sidebar. But after I’d searched the internet for that perfect theme for months, I realized that it was impossible to please me. Since I didn’t want to spend money on a basic theme that I’d to work on for hours to customize for my site anyway, I decided to find a basic theme I liked and use it as a basis.

The theme I settled on was Editor by Array. It is clean and writing focused, with some really nice typography. It also uses featured images well, but a post lacking a featured image won’t break the flow. There are some caveats, though: The menu is left-aligned, static, uses a messy toggling system. And there is no right sidebar. Still, it is a great platform to build on.

What you’re looking at now is the end result. The fonts are large, it’s a bloody treat to read this and I managed to get the menu to behave just the way I wanted. The biggest change is that there is no right sidebar, even if that was something I really wanted. It turns out a sidebar clutters everything a lot more than I expected. This means that content like the author excerpt and the most recent A Picture A Day are now gone. But you can find all that on their respective pages, reachable from the main menu as before. I am considering expanding the current footer with some of the content previously found in the side bar, but for now I’ll let the new design settle in for a while. There are bound to be some minor tweaks and changes in the not-so-distant future anyway.

The design, now renamed Editör because of the amount of changes, is tested in the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Project Spartan. It looks fairly much the same on all of them, including Firefox on mobile. But if you see anything odd, please let me know by dropping a comment below. Not wanting to spend any more time than necessary on the redesign, much of the customization is done fairly quick and dirty. If you’re a real CSS/HTML/JS nerd and spot something in the code that’s making you cringe, feel free to let me know. Just don’t expect me to get around to fix it anytime soon.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, I’m off to pour myself a glass of ice cold of whisky.

Redecorate dot net.

It’s time to wake up and realize the facts as they are laid out for you every time to visit this site: The current design is going stale. It’s nothing wrong with it, but when you’re looking at the same thing all the time1, even the most exciting things will eventually start to feel boring and mundane. The current design, a somewhat modified version of North by Okay Themes, has been with us for almost two years now. With a design rotation of roughly one year, an overhaul is long overdue.

I’ve been searching the internet for a new WordPress theme for the good part of the last four months, and it’s proven very hard to find the right theme. I’m looking at both free and “premium” themes, and I’ve paid for the two previous themes I used. But the price has been increasing steadily since I purchased North, and a premium theme will now typically set me back somewhere in between $38 and $68. I guess I could sit down and create a theme myself, I’ve done that before, but it usually turns in to a massive time sink. With that in mind, $68 is a relatively small amount to pay for something that will last for at least a year and save me weeks of intense fiddling to get everything to look right in every major browser.

The theme I’m looking for has to be responsive, contain a footer and a right-hand sidebar, or, at least make it easy to move a left-hand sidebar to the right of the main content. But perhaps more important than what the theme has to be, is what it must not be.

Continue reading "Redecorate dot net."

Responsive, Part II.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been looking at responsive WordPress themes. Since “responsive” is just beginning to gain momentum among WordPress theme magicians, the number of available themes is low compared to old-fashioned, non-response themes. I eventually gave up on finding a nice, free theme and realized that I probably had to go premium for the first time since I started to use WordPress to run this site. There are a lot of very talented designers and developers who sell premium themes on the interwebs, but they are somewhat hard to find: Many of them work out of their mum’s basement, as freelance contractors. Or at least it’s like that in my head.

Thankfully, there are sites like ThemeForest. ThemeForest works as an aggregator for all those people trapped in basements around the world and enables them to sell their creations on a secure market place. Not unlike how all other market places work. Many theme artists make good money on ThemeForest as well, having sold for a million USD or more. I’m guessing that the creators of ThemeForest also laugh a little when they go to bed at night.

Continue reading "Responsive, Part II."

Responsive.

It’s been a few days now since WordCamp and everything has begun to sink in a little. Here are my main bullet points from the event:

  • WordPress is huge.
  • It’s no longer a pain in the ass to run on Windows.
  • Responsive web design is the way to go.
  • Plugin development is something I’d like to dive deeper into.
  • I discovered the distraction free writing feature.

In the short term, responsive web design was the presentation that triggered me the most. I’m familiar with response web design and use a lot of responsive sites. Even this site is somewhat responsive, it’ll remove some white space on a device with a smaller screen, for instance a tablet device. Now I want to make the site’s design even more responsive and better looking on mobile devices. WPtouch is a great plugin, but when it’s possible to get the site to look familiar even on small screen, there’s really no need to use it.

One option would be to make the current theme more responsive, but that will probably be a lot of work for someone like me. Also, from past attempts to do my own redesign from scratch, I know my limitations. So my best bet is what I always do: Find a nice looking, free theme and hack away!

I’ve been looking around a little, and at this point Renova seems like a good option. But I’d prefer to have two columns, not just one. That can probably be arranged, though. It might take a while, but I’m positive the next design will be responsive. For more responsive goodness, have a look at the Media Queries showcase.

Redesign: Version 1.0.

After two evenings of playing around with CSS, HTML, PHP and other web related abbreviation, I hereby present to you the new design in its version 1.0 form. It’s a merged version of two themes by Theme Lab; Keep it Simple and Fresh Pick. Some things might change, though, like the contents of the sidebar and footer, font sizes, the header and stuff like that.

Am I pleased with the end result? Well, at least it’s something different than the old one. The navigation is better, the entry calendar is back (yay), and both the sidebar and the main section are wider than before. This gives me more room for images whenever I post that. The only bug I know of so far is the popup used by the NextGEN Gallery, but that’s not something I’ll bother with now. Also, I’ve only tested the design on the latest stable release of Opera, which is v10.10 at the time of writing.

If you see anything fishy going on or have any suggestions for improvements, please let me know.

Update: As Miguel points out in his comment, you won’t see any changes if you are visiting this site on a mobile phone. Mobile phones get pages modified by the excellent WPtouch plugin.