Random Process is Breaking Free

The lines, they’re gone

First off, if you’re viewing this in a feed reader, you may want to click the link and head on over to the site proper. I’ve made a few changes…

If there is one defining aspect of all the WordPress designs I’ve created in the past, it might be that everything is delineated by explicit boxes. Borders. Lines. Everywhere. Now, I’m breaking free.

The theme I’ve named rc2 is my first attempt at what I’ll call an open-concept design. Of course there’s still a sense of ‘blocks’ and cohesion, but there are minimal lines and breaks to define them explicity. My focus is two-fold.

Content – I’ve felt that, in my previous design especially, content has been hidden in a mess of features and functions that detracted from what I wanted to showcase. There were too many graphics, too many segmentations. Now, I’m really putting the main content out there. It takes up just about 2/3rds of the width available to it, as opposed to half, and the uncluttered design should help users focus on the content. An added benefit to the cleaner design is performance – I’ve cut HTTP requests down to 8 and the entire theme weighs in at 35KB, without any optimizations.

Chubby headers?

Secondly, I was unhappy with the ‘fat-footer’ design mentality I had been following. Since picking up Hemingway as a starting block for Hemmed, I created one ‘fat-footer’ theme after another. But let’s be honest here – how many people make it down to the bottom of the page to see that footer and the content displayed there? I figure very few, based on stats analysis. It makes sense. Pulling some tips from advertising-speak, things you want people to see should be above the fold. So, I’ve placed that ‘fat-footer’ above the fold. I want viewers to stick around for a longer period of time, and one way of achieving that is giving them access to more content. At the same time, I didn’t want it to push the main content too far down the page, so I’ve made the header area as compact as possible with things like vertical headings. Of course, a bit of compromise had to be made, but I think the change will increase the length of peoples’ visits to the site. I’ll keep an eye on metrics like bounce rates and length of visit in the next couple weeks to see if there’s a change.

RC1 - Old and Busted
Old and Busted…

RC2 - New and Improved
New and Improved

Public release soon

Here’s another area where I’m ‘breaking free’ – I plan on releasing this theme to the public as soon as I can make the necessary changes to accommodate all users. No more ‘exclusivity’ for myself, like in the past. However, as the theme was designed with random process in mind, it will take a little bit of time to widgitize and configure it for mass consumption. I’ll ask you to be patient with me here, but I don’t see any problems in getting a first revision out within the next 2 weeks.

Feel free to browse around and check out the new design. I’d love to hear any questions or comments about it. I’m always looking for constructive criticism to improve my designs and skills. Enjoy.

6 thoughts on “Random Process is Breaking Free”

  1. I see where you’re trying to go with your theme and kudos on trying something different. I think it’s a bit too loose now though. If you take a look at CNN’s redesign, they’ve still kept the contained structure while cleaning things up by using the subtle borders and lines.

    The header of your new design lacks differentiation. The links are all blue which blends straight into the navigation and first post title. Compare this to the fat-footer designs that have a different coloured background and different coloured links. It may be at the bottom, but I would notice that more if I were to scroll to the bottom of the website.

  2. Looking forward to use it on my blog. Please hurry up, how about giving the beta version? Your theme is too damn good, waiting isn’t going to be easy.

  3. Manu – I’ll try to get something out this coming weekend, but whether that version will support widgets or proper localization capability remains to be seen. I’d like to feel comfortable releasing it when I do. Betas are great and all, but as a one-man operation, I cringe at the thought of the support issues I’d likely face. I hope you understand.

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