Cosmography Technology

A New Look

A redesign!

Well, more a redecoration. I happened on a nice-looking WordPress theme and tried it out. I like that it’s distinctly more modern in feel. I’m not totally gone on the current trend to areas of dead flat colour, but it’s healthy to experiment. Expect it to change again, as I try on themes like frocks.

And in the ripe plumpness of time I will give this place a theme of my own. The design itself is not the problem – I’m practically specialising in WordPress sites these days. But with these free hosted blogs they actually charge you to use your own code. I’m already paying them to use a custom URL, so it’s beginning to seem more sensible to host the thing myself. I’d learn more too, and have a lot more flexibility.

But first I have far more important websites to build. And as I am doing them for money now I will have to make a site about making sites – a pretty darn good one, needless to say. Plus my cartoon site is so technically outdated as to be an embarrassment – HTML 4.01. It doesn’t sound like it should be so different from the latest HTML 5, but between those two versions fifteen years elapsed! The practice of Web design has undergone a sea change – from static files to dynamic databases, crude table layouts to complex cascading style sheets. Using HTML 4.01 on my own site now is like being a cordon bleu chef while secretly living on pie and chips.

So I guess this is will stay a hosted WordPress blog for a while to come… But then there hasn’t exactly been a lot of posts in the last year, has there? Or for that matter, the year before. This is a good thing, in that it means I was doing something more useful than writing without being paid. As regular(!) readers will know, that thing was an MSc. That’s all done of course (bar, excruciatingly, my final grade), so perhaps I’ll be writing a bit more often now while I decide my next move.

8 replies on “A New Look”

No I’m by no means satisfied with it. It’s more an exploration. I do like the cleanness of it, and the way it’s much less afraid than I am to lay on the white space. But it’s too annoying that it doesn’t work on a 1,024 pixel screen without zooming out.

As you see I’ve tweaked it today, but as is often the case with free themes the scope is deliberately hobbled. No doubt I’ll play around like this for a bit longer, then one day run out of patience and drag the whole thing (half a Gig of it now) over to my own servers in a fit of pique.

How’s your own WordPress scheme coming along?

Not sure I’ve got an ongoing WordPress thing I mentioned to you but I’ve offered to do a WordPress site for my friend Zee’s new video company. I was thinking I’m waiting for her to get to me with some content before I press it up and see how it looks.

You doing some for other people you say? I’m working on a thing for selling houses but I don’t think it will be WordPress if it materializes at all.

The clean and neat colour scheme I endorse.

The layout is not the best for navigation. The previous/next post icons are thrown in the middle of the vertical thread in some arbitrary location. The chasm between the end of the post and the first comment sends a weird vibe that participation is discouraged. Which it very well may be! But still…

Sorry. I said icons but I was referring to the links. The ones directly above the comments section.

Essentially I find that all the Web 2.0 stuff comes right after the post, pushing down all the traditional blog items like comments and navigation links to other posts in the blog. I appreciate a lot of traffic is moved via all the sharing options such as Twitter and Google+ (snerk!). Those things can slashdot you and bring new audiences. But for me the layout of the blog should allow it to stand on its own, which arguably helps in getting people to stay a bit longer.

Well to be honest, if it wasn’t being shared there wouldn’t be anyone to stay longer. Nothing steers people here like social media, and by that I really mean Facebook. Of 1,275 visits today for example, almost half came from there. So you really need the sharing to be front and centre.

But I would like comments to be higher, certainly before the very space-consuming similar posts section. No skin I’ve seen yet offers the option to re-order these things though, and I suspect that even if I were hosting the blog myself it would require some fairly brave editing of the PHP.

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