A Frosty Redesign
Some uninspiring notes on the graphicPUSH redesign. Nothing technical, but I do discuss the color blue, the Category Merging Initiative and the penguin.
Well, here we are. The fourth design of graphicPUSH in two years. Back to a more colorful layout, back to a fixed width size, back to a more cohesive layout. Back to basics.
Textpattern now drives 100% of the site, period. No more PHP includes, no more static content, no more lingering .shtml pages wandering around. I’ve said it before and I won’t go into it anymore here, but suffice to say TXP’s architecture is more flexible than a coked-up monkey in zero gravity.
You are looking at a clean install of version 4.0.1, which so far has been a flawless upgrade and conversion. Like Jon Hicks said, I feel like I’ve backed a winner by using Textpattern.
The Design (Gosh It’s Awfully Blue)
Although I had not intended this at first, the design took on a distinctly winter theme. Lots of cold blues, steely greys and darker, conifer greens. These are the colors I’ve used since the first iteration, but the previous designs have had much more white. Maybe too much. Frankly, I’m kind of sick of white.
Version 4 of graphicPUSH is one of the few sites I’ve designed that uses reversed body text on a dark field. I’m not 100% convinced it’s the right direction, but hey, my wife likes it and that’s always a good sign. I used Verdana to make sure it was readable, but I’m curious to see what kind of feedback I get from the general readership.
Much of the other typography was left untouched. A healthy Georgia for subheads, Clarendon for the masthead, Tahoma in the secondary sections like comments and the contextual info on the right.
There is a penguin. I like him. He kind of looks like he’s sliding sideways like Fred Astaire. Or maybe he’s staring at my large “G.” Most penguins haven’t seen gratuitously sized Clarendon specimens before. Obviously they should visit Starbucks more often.
The theme of this design is simplification. The main navigation no longer has nested items—just five sweet little links that cover the width and breadth of the site. (Extra crap is thrown into the footer.)
All news items, reviews, tutorials and so-called “articles” have been condensed into one central library, simplifying the archive and making browsing through all this stuff a lot easier. In the past, book reviews, tutorials and articles would not appear on the home page when I posted them because of TXP’s fickle way of driving the default template. This was annoying. Well, instead of doing research, wielding my fearsome PHP hackery (ha!), customizing plug-ins and pouring a vial of ox blood into a pentagram, I’ve solved the problem with the bluntness of a mallet by simply erasing any categorical distinctions.
This new Category Merging Initiative also allows people to comment directly on the articles and tutorials themselves, something I should have done two years ago when I posted “The Pricing Wormhole.”
The “Externals” links list now only appears on the home page and its archive tab, so there is less noise to distract from reading the actual articles. (Yes, the Google links are still there. I’ve got to pay for the hosting somehow, people. Now go click one.)
The comments have seen a few upgrades. Version 1.0RC3 of TXP was plagued by a dirty little bug that kept breaking the MySQL tables that controlled comments—hopefully this is fixed, so the two people that actually read this site can post their feedback. We now also have live previews and Gravatar awesomeness.
The site also uses more complex CSS than previous versions. Abundant floats plague the site. There are transparent PNGs that require mentally deficient filters to display properly. IE breaks some pages without explanation or justification, but I’m not worried—seriously, who still uses IE anyway? Opera and Firepoop get the site right. When IE7 is released, it will probably get it right too.
Finally, An Apology
So I redesigned and relaunched this entire site in a week. That’s two days of designing, one day of stylesheeting and several days of running around Textpattern like a drunk guy doing donuts in the mall parking lot.
Because of the kamikaze approach, the past week has seen some spectacular display weirdness as I slowly bent the stylesheet and Textpattern to my will. Thank you for your patience, and I hope you guys and gals like the end result.
Big shouts to the TXP development community. I have no idea who you are, but this CMS would be nothing without you. Fuck Wordpress. TXP i3 teh 5w33tne33.