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.

20K

It has been nearly four months since I’ve sat at home on a Sunday night. A week off from work is definitely going to be something different.

As the title might indicate, this site’s now passed 20 thousand page views since I started tracking back at the first of January. This is all after passing 10 thousand views slightly less than a month ago. That’s quite the growth since then. Three months to make it to 10K and only another month to make it to 20. This time, I have screenshot of the twenty thousandeth viewer or anything like that. All I can say is thanks for everyone who has been keeping a watch on this site, one way or another. It sort of makes me feel nice inside to know that people actually care about what I have to say at times. 😛

I’ve also moved the entire WordPress install over the main domain, www.nfiniti.org. as opposed to keeping the blog in a subdomain. It seemed somewhat pointless to have nothing in the main domain. As well, I have this feeling that Google doesn’t crawl a site as much if there’s NOTHING in the root domain. I may be just spewing BS here, but let’s just say I’ve noticed some major differences in my logs since removing the content from the root domain. On the other hand, MSNBot seems to be having the time of its life with my site…

To everyone going off on summer break, hope you have a great time. Say a prayer or two for me as I’ll be heading nowhere but back to the University of Waterloo for another four grueling months of school. Hooray for summer. 😐

Consolidation

Alright here goes. I realized sometime ago that I was going to have a pretty tough time even keeping up even one blog, much less the super impossible (yes, that’s more than impossible) task of maintaining three blogs when university starts back up. As a result, I’ve decided to make the blog the homepage and merged the tech stuff into this blog. I did a pretty messy job of importing the content from the tech blog and the home page (I had to import them using the RSS feed since I really didn’t have a clue how to write a script to read in the SQL tables without totally mucking things up) but they’re there, just missing all your lovely comments…

Hopefully keeping up one blog will be somewhat doable. I’d rather see one decently maintained blog than three half-assed blogs anyways. I’m sure you’d prefer that too. Plus, I find it hard to keep technology all by its lonesome somewhere else. I also had a hell of a time trying to get a proper redirect to work, so in the end, I didn’t really bother. The tech blog’s still just sitting there but hopefully people’ll slowly update their links as they see that it’s no longer maintained… I was going to make this blog in the root directory of the server, but since I couldn’t redirect the blog entries properly (I don’t want to lose my precious Google rankings after all 🙂 ) it’ll have to stay here until I figure out how.

So the only thing I’m keeping separate is the theme workshop, since that is totally separate from what I’m doing here anyways. Hopefully this change will mean a better future for the site. Let me tell you, trying to keep up three blogs is quite an intimidating challenge.

An Addition and A Release

I’ve now released this Hemmed theme I’m using for my blogs publicly. There was actually some interest in the theme, which made me feel awfully nice. ) I cleaned up the code slightly and made sure everything was in order today. Hope you enjoy it.

I’ve also added live commenting to the blogs here. It’s a little rough still and I’m working out any quirks. Hopefully I’ll have that working as expected by the end of this weekend. I also did a very, very early test of the LiveSearch on a test server. That definitely didn’t go as well as the live commenting. Still it was more successful than any previous attempt has gone so it’s encouraging. I also had an idea to shorten up the sidebar by moving the archives and categories to another location. You’ll just have to wait and see what I’ve got planned for that though. )

I spent some time last night searching up some domain name registrars to get a .ca name from. Unfortunately, I realized that I won’t really be able to move this site over to a new domain without first getting rid of this one. The hosting I had only allows one domain name at a time. As a result, any links pointing to this domain would be lost and search engine rankings have to be restarted. That’s definitely not something I want. So, it looks like I’ll be sticking with this domain until I get a new host at the very least. HostGator has been great so far so I don’t really see a need to switch hosts. I’m definitely not going to just because I can’t switch domain names easily.

And anyways nfiniti’s not that bad. P

10K

Well, it finally happened. After slightly less than 3 months after starting nfiniti.org, I’ve hit over 10,000 page views. It happened yesterday around 3PM EST. Quite an occasion really since I’ve surpassed the page views I had accumulated back at BlogSpot pretty quickly. It took me from May to the end of December to get around 9200 page views there. It seems like the site’s really taken off in the last little while and hopefully it’ll continue to grow in the future. And so without further ado, I present you the 10,000th page view!

Wait, was that you Willy? )