In order to design a thing well, you have to know what it’s going to be used for. The practice of making generic templates is alright as far as it goes, but for a design to be excellent it needs to be made intentionally for the content.
One thing this implies is that for a website to be well designed at the start, the creator must know what he’s going to do with the website. When I started this website, I honestly wasn’t exactly sure when it would become. I just knew I wanted a place to write.
I actually thought I might be writing a lot of short, 50–100 word posts as commentary on various links. I did this a little at the start, but then tapered off. I also thought my posts would rarely exceed 1,000 words in length. This also proved not to be the case, especially in relation to my Calvinism and the Rest of It series.
Those expectations for my content were what resulted in my old design. Now that the site has grown and matured into what it is now, I’ve decided to take another stab at designing it. This design is based on the other one, but it accomplishes the following things:
- Optimizes the reading experience for long-form content. Since my posts sometimes exceed 2000 words, I’ve taken steps to make the text less intimidating, more inviting, and even easier to read.
- Removes distracting elements. Originally I had one circle on the left of the blog with an ampersand. Clicking the ampersand opened a menu of three other circle-contained links. As those links grew to be more important, I made the menu visible all the time. Since the menu now has 6 links, I needed to make it less visually distracting than 6 large, high-contrast circles.
- Adds a search feature. My blog has been around for less than a year, but I’ve this is actually my 100th post. Search wasn’t necessary at the beginning, but the volume of posts has made it difficult to find something specific without being able to search.
- Makes vertical rhythm more consistent. Not that the old design had no sense of vertical rhythm, but it needed improvement. The new design is much more rigid about the vertical rhythm, which makes it look more professional and easy to read.
- Cleans up the codebase. I had a lot of unnecessary code since I threw together my old design hurriedly. I took this opportunity to clean up some old code, although there’s still more to do.
- Communicates the site purpose better. My header now includes the text “Theology, Culture, Design” to indicate that those are the things I talk about most. The fact that the site is named And the Rest of It means I can write about anything, which I like. But it’s also nice to give guests some idea of what they can expect at the beginning.
Let me know what you think and if you find any bugs.