The Design (overall aesthetics)
Now, before I have a whole heap of people give me a hard time about inconsistent branding, let me explain my motives in completely changing the color scheme and appearance of the site. When I created the original theme for this site, it was my first experience creating a custom wordpress theme from scratch. Frankly, I was pretty proud of it, but it was not my best work.
In August of 2009, I began work on my brand new portfolio web site, prestondlee.com. You’ll notice the same color scheme is used on my portfolio site as this blog. This began an entire revolution of my online presence. You’ll notice my new twitter profile now matches the sites as well.
The color scheme also reflects the nature of the site more considering orange is the color of creativity–the fuel that drives the graphic and web design industries. In addition, I would highly recommend reading an article from Web Designer Depot titled “How to get a professional look with color“. It will help you understand the way colors work together on a web page.
Some of you might be gawking at the small header I chose to employ on the site. Honestly, I did it for you. I know you come to Graphic Design Blender for content. You don’t come to see massive amounts of illustration or design before viewing the content. Now don’t get me wrong: I love the headers found on sites like Chris Spooner’s Blog, Web Designer Depot, or Web Designer Wall. I simple wanted to be different and give you, the readers the most help in finding what’s really important to you–the content. What do you think of the new, smaller header?
You’ll also notice that Graphic Design Blender is now built on a 960 pixel wide grid system. While I didn’t follow the patter exactly, the grid system was inspired by 960.gs where you can also find resources to help you effectively layout your next web site or blog design.
Search Engine Optimization
We all know that a site redesign is never complete until it has been properly optimized for search engines. Just a few things I have done to the site to make it more search engine friendly include:
- more accurate meta data
- H1 tags in post titles instead of web site title
- XHTML Validation and CSS Validation
My new favorite aspect of web design (or any design for that matter) is usability. I firmly believe that anything we design in the future–whether online, in print, or otherwise, will be “experience design”. After being inspired by “Realigned”, a popular article outlining usability problems in Smashing Magazine’s new site, I decided to rectify some major usability problems here at Graphic Design Blender. Let me illustrate:
- Each link is the same color. Regardless of where it leads, the location on the page, or the importance of the link, every link is orange with the same text decoration: underlined. If you are looking for a link on Graphic Design Blender, you can expect it to be orange.
- The sidebar now contains links to some of the most popular posts, most commented posts, and recently published posts–allowing for easy navigation from any page.
- The main page now has navigation at the bottom which easily allows you to navigate through various pages of articles at once.
- Each individual article also contains links to the article directly following or directly previous the the article a reader is currently viewing. This allows for simple continuous reading.
- In addition, each individual article contains links to articles that are related to the current article. This saves readers the trouble in searching by category or returning to the home page to find more articles they might enjoy.
Is that a word? Anyway, it is much more easy to be sociable on Graphic Design Blender than ever before.
Each article now comes fully equipped with a custom-made sociable menu including links to twitter, facebook, designbump, digg, and many more.