It’s been 2 years since I’ve touched the design on this site. I keep meaning to, and all that – but you know how it goes, right? Something about the Cobbler’s kids having no shoes….or something along those lines.
I’ve been re-designing this site since March 2010 — it’s gone through several different iterations .. all of them wanting to meet my goal of simple. Just. Simple. This is my personal site, and I want it to reflect me, personally – – but at the same time, I do a lot of blogging here about my books and my work – – so I couldn’t have shirtless photos of Johnny Depp in the header, if ya know what I mean?
So, this time around – I tried something a bit different from my norm. For the last 10 years, my focus in design has been in custom design and development – – which means I do everything, mostly, from scratch. When I set out to design a WordPress theme, the first tool I open is Notepad, because all the templates I do are written from scratch. I have never used frameworks in the sites I designed. Nothing against my fine friends who successfully market and sell theme frameworks – – but I have always found them to be somewhat limiting, to me. I understand that to a mass population of users, to whom theme frameworks are marketed, it works well. For a custom theme developer who likes to (and most often has to) muck around in the code bits and put her own little touches here and there – – sometimes, frameworks can be somewhat cumbersome.
I’m open-minded that my experience with this re-design may open my mind more to the concept and use of theme frameworks for WordPress and open to the idea of using them in certain cases in my own work with my clients, depending on the specs of the project. Sure would be nice to have some of the work done for me, no doubt! Having the WordPress features and functions already laid out in a nice, clean framework that would allow the designer to focus on what she likes doing is super cool…let me concentrate on graphics and CSS and I’m golden.
It just takes some getting used to, and I am not immune to change.
That being said, over that past several months, I’ve spent a bit of time with my friends over at iThemes who have a nifty framework for WordPress called Builder. After talking with them, I told them I’d try it out on my personal site for a number of reasons – – the biggest one being that I obviously do not have a lot of time to pay attention to the design on this site, because I’m busy writing books and designing other people’s web sites. I figured a theme framework may be just what I need to keep the maintenance here down to a low roar.
To a point, using a framework does keep the maintenance down a bit – since all the functions are already there for me, no need to re-invent the wheel. However, despite that; I still copied over almost all the core template files (index.php, single.php, archive.php, page.php, comments.php, etc, etc) to my child theme directory, so I could change them to my liking. And now, the framework is there to build on, if I choose to keep using it to design versions of this site in the future.
It’s not completely complete, yet – – there are some elements that I’d like to add both to the function of the site, and to the design elements (I need a bird in here somewhere…I love birds). But, for the most part – the site is finished, at least enough for me to happily display it here and let you look at it.
Also, since it’s been so long since I paid any attention to the code on this site – – there are several different features that are new here (but old to you WordPress users, since you’ve seen/been using them for some time). Things like threaded comments, featured images, etc — as such, I still have some tweaking I need to do on the backend to account for some of the missing items – – such as, I use a related posts feature at the end of every post that pulls in the featured image thumbnail… and yet, I don’t have featured images assigned to each post, yet….getting there though! (Click over to the front page of this site to see the featured image thumbnails in action.)
So, yea – – small bits like that need to be cleaned up, which I will do as I go along…so just pretend that you see the featured image thumbnails in areas where there aren’t any – – consider it an exercise in stretching your imagination!
It’s lighter, in design and color, than my previous design – – which is what I wanted. I have worked in my favorite color pink (no design on this site can be without pink!), and the color scheme is light and airy to wear like a sundress on a warm summer day.
Enough with the metaphors…..hope you like it!