Redesigning this blog

Over the next week (or less), I’m going to redesign this blog, live. Now, I don’t know coding, but if you’ve ever done any programming (I did some Basic and C++ long ago) – it’s easy to get the logic.

Sandbox is this very basic wordpress theme, and you can change the structure (the number of columns, position of columns). I’m trying to figure out the CSS and the way it has been implemented, and as it was with the old blogs – it’s not easy. I have a design of basic structure that I want, up on my whiteboard (yeah, I got me a whiteboard to scribble and ideate on), and that involves shifting a lot of things around, and adding a few things to the header and footer. It’s not as easy as it would be for a coder, so the design of the site will take some time and this page will get messed up quite often. The other thing is – I don’t use CSS editors…just normal notepad. Wish me luck 🙂

Basic structure:

  1. Top navigation bar (like I had for the first motifmag.net design…then considered unusual, now pretty much standard) – “I also blog at” links. Also starting a moblog, and a fiction blog.
  2. Header:
    • Left half: Title, with tagline below
    • Right half: About/Contact , RSS (comments and posts), Search box
  3. Sidebar (placement to be decided):
    • Dropdown menu for archives
    • Categories
    • Recent posts
    • Recent comments
    • Some selected posts
    • blogroll

more later…

Things I’m struggling with:

  • Dividing the header into two halfs, of equal height Thanks Rhymebawd
  • Creating lists without bullets or line breaks Thanks Ankit.
  • Automatically display the number of posts and the RSS Feed for each category
  • Create a moblog and a fiction using categories. Was there for the events section in the old ContentSutra wordpress design…

Update:

Designing in PHP (and with Div’s and CSS) isn’t as easy as I thought…still have figure out a lot. I’m looking for a mix of the two – the usability of the first blog, and the minimalism of the second. Also, based on my conversations with Ankit a couple of months ago, I do wish to use the footer a lot more. Like it was in the first two instances, this is turning into a study of design, and balancing minimalism, usability and design.

The experiment with Sandbox hasn’t worked out, since I didn’t know how to develop a skin like Unsleepable. Need to figure that out. The idea is to make basic structural changes in the bare-bones Sandbox template, and make the design changes in the skin.
Design template:

  • Header: Search, RSS links, About/Contact (I think About and Contact need to be in the same page. No point in having two separate pages and links.
  • Top nav Bar: Lists only ‘other blogs’. Not a descriptive text. <- need to be thought through.
    • Site navigation bar only on Post page (back, page you’re on, next/previous)
  • Post: Title, date; content; categories; permalink, comments, email this, social bookmarking (single link)
  • Bottom Navigation bar:
    • Main page: Back, next/previous, top, archives page
    • Post page: Back, next/previous post, top, archives page
  • Sidebar(s):
    • Page list,
    • Recent posts
    • Categories
    • Selected posts
    • Technorati
  • Footer:
    • Every page: Admin stuff, Search
    • Main Page: Flickr photos, Blogroll (only on main page), Links, Credit

Did I forget something?

Note to self: Must go through this post. Big plans, execution looks time consuming..and time is something I don’t have (again). So much for the holidays…

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6 Comments

  1. About time 🙂 Although this morning all one sees is a black screen and one has to highlight to read the text of your plan.. Happy holidays as we say in our most-PC way!

  2. Thanks. I hope to finish the redesign today, but one never knows. 🙂
    I’m working on this today, and doing a new project the whole week…should be fun. Happy holidays to you too…a weekend holiday is all I can stand…pretty much happier working on something, usually new. What are you upto?

  3. Nikhil, this looks good on Christmas morning in London, where I arrived late last night. I am watching your design carefully as I am planning to start a new blog in 2007 which I plan to host and which therefore will need my ingenuity and ‘design’ skills however limited.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Thanks. This isn’t even half done…I’d suggest you go with the standard designs, most of which are pretty good. Particularly the minimalist ones. I’m just one of those who wants a unique design…enough to be willing to experiment with code for hours. It would be easier if I knew how to code, though. 😛

  5. Well I do how to code but having learnt from my obesity blog I want to add some things and get rid of others. So may end up customising much.. Will see. For now must write thesis – the PhD needs finishing!

  6. WordPress templates are doubly difficult… First they have an unholy mixture of PHP and HTML, which can’t be helped really. But a better separation between code and presentation would be helpful.

    The main problem is that they’re split of multiple files, in which case you never know where a div (for instance) opened in one file closes. Trying to remember which file follows which, and then customizing the code is just too much work for me.

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