Well another redesign, another run through it. V2 lasted I’m guessing around 8 months or so, not bad I guess. I grew bored of it as usual, though requirements of the layout changed in this one and something new is nice. So onto why I went for a redesign.
Reasons for a redesign
- Something more simplified for responsiveness;
- Obviously something new and fresh;
- Better focus on content and layout of content;
- Try to refine the design and rid unneeded stuff;
- More editorial friendly layout for blog posts.
These are just reasons I found needing a redesign with V2. The biggest one was to make it responsive, while possible with V2 I didn’t feel like attempting to while it was live and risk messing the site up, it would’ve took a lot of media queries and adjustments too. Though while V3 isn’t lacking in the amount of media queries and changes in CSS, it works much nicer I think. The difficulties were with the slider and main page headings.
About the design itself
I started this design in the middle of November last year. I was aiming to create a website with fewer pages; home, blog, portfolio and downloads. Though I thought about the implications of people expecting a contact page, so that was added. I got rid of my about page and put it on the home page and refined the content of it; to be much less, but still have the same value. Why I did this was I felt my about page the least relevant page (unfortunately). So adding it to the homepage gave it more visibility, hopefully people will read it and such.
Each page has it’s reasons for it’s design. My portfolio was something of experimentation, but also to reduce the amount of pages. I thought of it from a usability perspective and I like viewing portfolios all on one page. The responsiveness allows all portfolio images to be shown for one long scroll. Though you may think experimentation? When you view a large image of each item it opens in a modal window which is done with CSS. Worked out pretty well, though it’s not perfect.
The downloads page is fairly simple, similar to the portfolio but without the modal box. Display a picture, information needed about each download and that’s that keep it simple. The same applies for the contact page, just the needed information — contact form, ways to contact me and social networks.
The blog page was one of the most important things to me, I have always wanted to start the editorial/art direction type blog posts, but I can’t always do it on every post. So I thought about having separate a separate articles page or just stick to blog posts only on things I can give a nice editorial design to. I just went for the option where I post what I want, base it round the categories and use the great lettering.js to add a bit of fancy/difference to each page (this wasn’t around when I was designing V2 to begin with). The pages are just kept fairly minimal so customisation is easy done. You should begin to notice this as I begin to post newer articles.
I honestly can’t remember where any direct inspiration came from, though there are so many out there that inspire me. I just tried to go for a design without the direct input of inspiration, searching for it and using that to spur me on. I had in my head what I wanted to do and that was to make a better website for myself, content, updating and reading for the user. Though I must say Trent Walton and Brian Hoff inspire me a lot with the way I design.
WordPress to ExpressionEngine
Around the end of December I purchased the Fusion Ads bundle which included ExpressionEngine, probably the sole reason I got the bundle. As I had always wanted to try ExpressionEngine and see what the hype was about and learn how to use it, as a thing, to add to the list of things I can do. In some respects I’m missing some of the functionality of WordPress but enjoying some of the added benefits of ExpressionEngine. Though I’m calling it too early to decide whether the switch is beneficial but, the best thing about ExpressionEngine is I definitely find making a template less of a chore.
The learning curve for using ExpressionEngine was pretty simple and using the screencasts which came with the Fusion bundle were a great, great help. The biggest pain was my older posts from WordPress, I couldn’t find a simple transfer to and from, so I did it manually. Fortunately I didn’t have too many posts. I still have a lot to learn with using ExpressionEngine, so that’s that.
Thanks for reading if you did, these posts are for logging my ideas of somewhat I hope to achieve with the redesign of my websites and see if I achieve it until the next redesign. There are probably a few tweaks to be made over time still to perfect it totally, but hopefully they’ll be done soon. Most likely with the responsive side of things.