I’m such a procrastinator that it takes some kind of push to get things done when there is no deadline involved. Case in point: I started thinking about a redesign in February, right after I launched. I began brainstorming design ideas on May 26. I looked at code for the first time on June 26, and three days later I started in with the code-wrestling. Which isn’t to say I worked on it nonstop. In reality, it was a hour here and there, when I couldn’t come up with anything better to do while on the computer (even though I was trying to avoid actually doing the redesign, I was trying to avoid writing even more). I was struggling with the direction of the design until July 12, when I finally had the “aha” moment–sitting in the living room, torn between watching a movie or working a style sheet over–I finally knew what I wanted the site to look like.
To me, it looks awful similar to the old. Same colors, same whiteness, same fruity inspiration. This wasn’t a redesign from the ground up. It was a redesign from the top down. I started with Unsleepable (the brilliant K2 theme by Ben Gray) because I loved the way it looked. However, I wasn’t a fan of the way everyone who used it seemed to not do anything with it. I didn’t want to have my site look like a copycat of OpenSwitch, so I knew the colors had to be worked over. Since Unsleepable is a naturally dark theme, I thought I would take it somewhere I hadn’t seen it–bright white. Which was perfect really, since I can do white, no problem. The problems I did run into, however, were those of my own making.
I had a few good ideas. I wanted to keep the fruity-ness of the site together. I was quite fond of the random header images from version 1.0, and I wanted to integrate them into the new site. Brilliant idea? Random-image menu tab link hovers. What I really wanted was for each menu tab to be individually random, so that each would be different. But, for that to work I would have had to hand code each link in, and set up a random picture folder for each tab. That was too much work, and too much code, so I opted to stick with what you see now.
I had a lot of help pulling this together. I would be nowhere without WordPress. I can’t even imagine still using blogger these days. On top of WordPress sits the eternal beta theme, K2. I don’t even know how long the theme has been in beta, and I have a hunch it will be awhile until it looses it’s betaness. Ben’s Unsleepable theme, built on K21, and it’s mostly his code I fiddled with to get things looking and working the way I wanted it.
Even though Version 2 wasn’t complete, I still launched it on my birthday (July 20) because I felt like it, and because it looked the way I wanted it too. The code base wasn’t quite done, but it gives me something to work on during the semester.
All of the vector art you see on my site is courtesy of the darkrockstr himself, Bryan Culver. I feel honored to have had his help, because my graphical skills leave much to be desired. The blackberry logo and the menu-tab images are all his work.
I used some great tutorials written by Paul Stamatiou, which helped me figure out the rotating banner, the comment form, and numerous other things. The link page needs a shoutout to Kristin Pishdadi, for her awesome tutorials. And the sidebar wouldn’t be possible without a hack by the amazing Ben Sherratt.
I just want to thank everyone who helpedâ€¦ Either by voicing their opinions while this theme was still in the sandbox, for writing tutorials that I’ve read, or just putting up with me in IRC, I thank you. I could never have done this without you. Because I’m a looser like that.
If there is anything I haven’t explained, or something you want to ask me about, feel free and leave me a comment.
Version one of this site was also built on K2, modified with only a style sheet change, is where I started this whole mess ↩