Nocturnal Fauna

Nocturnal Fauna is a quick re-draping of Noscope.

“belonging to or active during the night; “nocturnal animals are active at night”

A Quick Re-draping

Fauna has served me well for almost a year. More than a year, if you count the early movings that would one day become Fauna.

Still, things can become stale after a while, and I needed change. Unfortunately, my plans do not allow for a complete redesign at this time, so a quick re-draping such as Nocturnal Fauna, seemed like a good solution.

This iteration is not permanent. Nothing is. But for the plans I have ahead of me, it’ll do just fine. As for the surprise revelation of this design, no, Nocturnal Fauna is not the surprise I talked about a while ago. That one is still to come, in time.

Nocturnal Fauna

A long time ago, when my good friend Brian was still at Titoonic, I walked up and asked why he had dimmed his system colours to dark grays. He replied that this way, the monitor emits less light, thus causing less eye-strain. I have to agree with him on that. For Nocturnal Fauna, I’ve tried to do just that: turn off the lights.

Fauna was the name of my previous design. It was a decorative name that at the same time represented the process it had gone through to become what it was: namely “a living organism characterized by voluntary movement”. Since Nocturnal Fauna is not a complete redesign, but only a quick re-draping, I figured I needed a decorative name that had a connection to the previous iteration. Since I’ve become rather nocturnal myself lately, and because the design is dark, “Nocturnal Fauna” was an obvious choice.

A few Usability Sacrifices, a few Improvements

In order to dim the lights, I’ve had to sacrifice some usability. The most glaring example is the fact that input boxes and push buttons have been slightly tinted. As any usability aficionado should know, one should _always_ use default GUI widgets.

Yet, in the spirit of The Matrix: some rules can be bent, some rules can be broken. The key is, to know the rules and the consequences. In the case of tinted input boxes and push buttons, this means people will have a harder time finding the search box, or the comment box.

So why the sacrifice? Because this is a personal website. It is mine, not yours. In this space, I am faithful to no-one but myself, and there’s no way that changes.

On the other hand, I’ve fixed, repaired and cleaned up more cruft than you can shake a lemon at. Among things that have changed, most of them have been that way for a while without your knowing, others will be invisible to you:

  • Even more relaxed margins
    Comments, entries, paragraphs and headers have more relaxed margins.
  • Track- & Pingbacks have their own box
    Entry and comments have been separated further.
  • Sidenotes are now simpler
    Powered by WordPress Asides, Coldforged Style (Thanks Steve), I’ve been able to turn 50 lines of code into 5. Things are _much_ easier to work with now.
  • “Previous Entries”
    At the bottom of the frontpage, you’ll now be able to seamlessly travel back in time using the “Previous Entries”. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. Turns out it was a bug. On the upside, this forced me to clean up a lot of code.
  • XML Feeds in many flavors
    Grab a quick gander at my XML Feeds page, to learn that the main Noscope feed is now available in both RSS 2, Atom and RSS 0.92. Well, it was before, but only RSS 2.0 filtered out my Sidenotes. This has changed now, due a simple hack. Edit @wp-rss2.php@, @wp-rss.php@ or @wp-atom.php@ and insert the following code in the top of the document. @x@ is the ID of the category you want to filter out:
if (!empty($_GET['category_name'])) {
    $cat ="-x";
  • Global Footer
    The footer on this page used to be present only on the main index. To keep things simpler for all parties, it’s now available everywhere.
  • WordPress 1.5.1 and Subscribe to Comments 2.0
    I’ve upgraded to the latest WordPress which fixes a few bugs. Additionally, this allows me to use one of the best WordPress plugins available: Subscribe to Comments 2.0. This plugin is the pinnacle of plugin greatness. It is easy to use, and it works better than any charm. Expect to see a “Subscribe without Commenting” feature on this page as well, when time allows for it.

User Preference

As for the essence of Nocturnal Fauna, it’s basically just a stylesheet containing the colour. When time allows for it (as usual), I will find and implement a Stylesheet switcher, that allows you to store your preference of flavor. When that happens, I may re-consider which one I want to be default.

For now, dim down the lights and squint. You may be able to spot a few nocturnal creatures.

20 thoughts on “Nocturnal Fauna”

  1. Michele says:

    I understand you wanted some change, it happens all the time to me. Actually, changes are always good.

    The redesign look very nice and and easy on the eyes.

  2. Chris says:

    Mmm… Chocolatey. 🙂

    So when should we expect a more robust change?

  3. Joen says:

    So when should we expect a more robust change?

    Hmm. Good question.

    Not for a long while, and I guess that’s why I’m trying to spiff things up a bit. I have some plans that I want to follow first. I think I’m going to keep Fauna, with Nocturnal as option for a several months still. The thing is, other than a bulk of other projects I want to finish (or start), I want to clean up the code a lot before I redesign. Basically, I’m working with a code mess that’s 3 years old. It really needs touching up.


  4. Very nice! Fauna is more of a new colour scheme, but I absolutely like the change. Good work!

  5. Oh, and as you’re making changes to this site anyway — you are using XHTML, but you aren’t serving it up with the correct application/xhtml+xml MIME type. How about that?

  6. Joen says:


    Thanks, I appreciate it.

    but you aren?t serving it up with the correct application/xhtml+xml MIME type. How about that?

    … well, I kinda like the tag soup. It means that most everything somewhat works the way I want it, and since the time I want to spend on fixing things around here is limited anyway, I’m going to keep it that way unless I see a good reason not to 🙂

  7. Gareth says:

    really like the new look, makes all the images more vivid.. lovely.

    i only have a slight issue with the greeny/blue and the forms.

    super work tho.

  8. AkaXakA says:

    I like it, except the green. (Although of course it is fauna, so green should fit)

    Also, you could dim the comment/searchboxes a tad more (maybe a highlight on focus), as they stand out quite a lot now.

    Yes, very harsh, but the base is still the excelent old same.

  9. Chris says:

    Well, Joen, I’m happy if you’re happy.

    Besides, it’s not the decor that counts. It’s the people sitting on the couches that matter.

  10. Jonas Rabbe says:

    Now isn’t that neat. Looks really good, although a tad dark. Oh well, I guess we can handle dark now that it’s light outside (good thing you didn’t pull this redesign in the middle of winter, then we’d all become too depressed).

    Thumbs up from the cheap seats (that’d be the couch).

  11. Tristan says:

    Nice color change. I always thought dark backgrounds brought out images and content better. Good contrast I guess.

    I’m going to have to agree with Aka about these textboxes though.. pretty bright compared to everything else.

    This isn’t that “big surprise” you had in the works a month or so ago, is it?

  12. Chris says:

    This isn?t that ?big surprise? you had in the works a month or so ago, is it?

    Joen, that’ll be the last time you promise us anything. Memories like elephants I tell ya.

  13. fernando says:


    good work Joen, as always…

    so nice.

  14. I like this a lot.

  15. markku says:

    Hmm, gray works quite well for your layout. Nice work. Just a quick comment while I work on iPAP. 😉

  16. khaled says:

    I like the colour scheme Joen. Pretty good work. I must say that I generally like it when I visit a ‘regular’ site and there’s a little tweak or whatever, just keeps things fresh.

  17. Stefan says:

    The new design looks great! It’s always a pleasure to be here.

    “Black is the new white” 😉

  18. Joen says:

    Thank you all!

    I’ve been a short trip to Sweden for a few days, hence the delay in this reply.


    No, that surprise is still forthcoming.


    Can’t wait to see the new iPAP 🙂


    Indeed black is the new white, or in a Radiohead version: Down is the new Up 🙂

    Thanks all for the great feedback. There are still a few tweaks in the works, but not to forget: this is not a permanent change. When I get time, this will become a preference you can set yourself.

  19. Nik says:

    I like it! Made me scan through the choice of header images again… settled on the one from your October Installment. Although “Because recycling is good..” was a close second.. because it is! Good, I mean! 🙂

  20. Joen says:

    OOH cool, you’re using the “cookied banner” feature! I honestly didn’t think anyone used that one… very cool! And thanks.

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