After months of tossing around ideas on how I wanted to redesign my main site, WebsiteStyle.com, I finally came up with what I’m calling Version 1.0 of the redesign.
It was not intended to take quite so long, but ah well. Not only was it done in my sparse free time between client work, I had a few other personal things come up that took me out of commission for a bit (a death in the family, a major case of the flu I’m still getting over, lots of school stuff with the kids, etc..). In the end, I think it came out good for a first version of a re-design.
Part of the problem of designing for yourself, as a designer, is that it’s never perfect enough, and I have the feeling that this will be a case of always feeling the need to tweak and adjust and modify ad infinitum.
The new version is much more reflective of my likes in color and design:
I’d say it came out to be a pretty major overhaul of the design.
Granted, it wasn’t without issues, which is why I’m calling it Version 1.0 of the new design. A few things glitched at the last minute, like the jQuery effects suddenly not working (I haven’t tried yet to see exactly what caused this – whether it was a new version change or if I just added a typo somewhere.), and having some lovely issues with Google reading my sitemap/robots files (or not reading them for that matter) so that my the 5-6 Page rank is suddenly coming up ‘not available’.
On a design scale, it’s going to need an alternate color version and I realize that. Not everyone is a fan of dark colors like I am (even if all my testing tools say I used enough contrast to make it readable). It’s a priority on my to-do list for the next version. In fact, in an ideal world I’d like to offer several swappable design themes that are entirely different. That should be easy enough considering that the new site design is one I converted to a WordPress theme. Yes, that does mean that I’m using WordPress as a content management system on my main site now. I figured that since I’ve been suggesting WordPress as a CMS for my clients, I might as well ‘practice what I preach’ so to speak.
In the end, this is what it has consisted of, and been built with, on a technical level:
- Photoshop for the design.
- Plain text hand-coding to XHTML.
- Converting the XHTML to a custom WordPress theme.
- Custom coding for child pages on WordPress.
- FeedList plugin for secondary content links from this blog.
- SearchEverything plugin for full search – it uses lots of WP pages.
- Contact form plugin from Green Beast with custom CSS mods.
- WordPress.com stats plugin for .. well, stats.
- Google XML Sitemap Generator plugin.
- Slimbox with Mootools for WP – Deactivated as a plugin and just pulling files from the plugin directory – it’s a long story.
- sIFR for special font headings.
- jQuery for effects – still needs tweaking.
For now, that’s what’s been involved in the CMS’ification of WordPress for this design. There is quite alot still on the agenda, and I’ll document as I go how I continue to evolve the site – just in case anyone aside from me finds it as fun and interesting.