Blogging the Obvious

Dave Zatz —  February 18, 2008

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 responses to Blogging the Obvious

  1. I think it looks much cleaner. Good choice.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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.

  6. (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.

  7. Actually, looks like there is an issue with “long” URLs. See the comments on the Apple TV post…

  8. 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.

  9. I like it. And I’m glad you blogged about it, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have clicked through from Google Reader to see the new site layout.

  10. I like the new look. Very clean.

  11. ( 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:

    http://intensedebate.com

  12. Congrats on the redesign. Clean, professional and a huge improvement!

  13. 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.

  14. Well done.

    Maybe it will motivate me to make improvements on mine.

    Bill

  15. VERY nice new home and style Dave – Like I’ve always said – you DO have style!!

  16. Still looks good on my Treo!

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Nice look! I like the jumping TV glob man.

  20. Dave, looks great! CZ

  21. Looks fantastic, Dave. Thumbs up,

  22. 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.