Blogging the Obvious

Yep, ZNF finally gets a redesign.

WordPress is a great open source blogging platform for managing content, but customizing the look and feel requires a decent amount of effort plus a bit of skill. I tried to offload some of this about two years ago – long story, short: I was out a few hundred bucks and left with nothing usable. Nowadays, professional blog design runs several thousand dollars and most designers are booked solid… Even if I could stomach the cost (I can’t), I rarely received a ping back when researching a new look. So, I gave up on the idea of hiring a pro and started looking for freely available themes which might be good enough. I found two last fall that I thought I could work with, and yesterday I was obviously inspired to spend some time getting this one ready. Hopefully, the redesign is a bit more modern looking yet the content is still clearly presented. I’ll continue to tweak the theme, as I find time and motivation, over the next few weeks.

24 thoughts on “Blogging the Obvious”

  1. I had been holding out hope for awhile that the Sandbox theme would create a whole new industry of CSS skinners, but it didn’t happen. I was also hoping K2 would be released one day, but it didn’t happen.

    I’ve got a growing list of about 15 things I still want to do to the theme. Not on my list, is reducing the color palette – this theme uses too many colors and I’ve already started reducing them. I’m also unsure about the Gravatar icons in comments – I might replace them with code that pulls a site .ico if you leave a link. The search box needs help, I’ve removed the categories from the sidebar and will populate a new Archives page instead, the PageNavi CSS needs to be cleaned up. Etc.

  2. I like the look and the colors. Although I do admit that seeing nav bars on the rights is odd — I think most sites keep them on the left.

  3. I like the new look. The content is still very prominent and the ads are non intrusive over on the side.
    ~thumbs up~

  4. Nice site Dave!

    I like it, maybe this will motivate me to stop using the default WordPress theme, I doubt it.

    Now maybe I’ll visit more often, instead of just reading in NetNewsWire.

  5. (URI?)

    Looks fine. I’d prefer a “wider” format since I use only wide-screen monitors these days, but whatever you come up with is fine.

  6. Glenn, yah – that’s on my to-do list: Truncate non-wrapping text so it doesn’t go well beyond the comment box border. I debated width and sidebars for awhile, too… I figure people read left to right, so I want the content first up (after some “white space”) and knowing I often write very short posts, I wanted to limit main content width. The prior design was about 425 pixels wide with a larger font, this is about 420px. I’d prefer the middle sidebar support 300 x 250 ads (as they’re the most common and my Starbucks habit is expensive), but stretching that would be a major undertaking. We’ll see… Also thinking about sticking a TiVo Glo or Harmony 880 remote image in the header.

  7. ( Best Jeff Spicoli impression ) “Oh Gnarly!”

    Dave this blog looks very nice. Good choice going with Design Disease. Congrats on the refresh.

    When you have the time, check out Intense Debate plug-in to spice thing up in here some more:

  8. I give it a thumbs up! It’s a welcome redesign. I’ve struggled with MoveableType templates so I know CMS theme customization can be a pain to get right.

  9. I like the new look but I’d agree with Ivan’s comment (#3) that you might want to try the nav segment on the left side. To my (perhaps overly conventional) eye, the page looks a tad unbalanced. Perhaps you could try moving the lighter blue block to the left side for a couple of days to get feedback. Just a thought.

  10. jlac839, if only it were that simple… This general layout is pretty much hard coded. If I want the sidebars in different places, I’d have to find another theme. Hopefully, it’ll find a bit more balance as I flesh out the top tabs and I have plans for the narrow grey sidebar on the left.

    Martin, I didn’t tamper with the mobile theme. Though, anyone pinning a bookmark to their iPhone or iPod Touch home screen will have a new icon as of last night.

  11. I actually like the links to the right. I’ve always thought that links on left served the sites interest, not mine! This seems like a good user-centric approach. Plus, I know your site enough to know where to look for things.

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