Newscope Part 2: The Mini-Extreme Makeover

no_pangea_small

When I decided to go freelance, I could have chosen to sell my services from another domain, separating personal from work stuff. There are a couple of reasons why I chose to keep things here at Noscope, the first and foremost being that keeping things here was the quick and easy thing to do. Secondly, my commercial work will somehow be personal (that’s the plan at least). Finally, chances are potential clients’ll find me here.

How does one realign a personal website to be part commercial, part what it was before? Gents like Jon Hicks have managed. What’s the trick? Do I employ censorship? Fuck no. Do I write more or less personal content? The plan is more.

The previous design (( Entitled “Pangea” for the supercontinent that was Earth before its continents drifted apart. More in the archives. )) stuck around for quite a while. It was a a fairly basic layout with tabs, whitish bluish colors and an oldschool cut corner. Nothing really wrong with that, so as you can see it’s still mostly the same. The changes are mainly structural.

Main Menu

Before:

pangea_old_menu

After:

pangea_new_menu

  • There were simply too many tabs, it wasn’t not focused enough.
  • Previously the many tabs were there to highlight all the various sections up front in the primary navigation. As it didn’t create any renewed interest in the stale sections such as the picture & wallpaper section, I decided my plan to “unite the continents” had failed. Accepting this failure, I decided to move some things to subsections instead.

  • With new stuff in the subsections, I increased the contrast to make those links more apparent.
  • The simpler main section setup allows me to add lots of new subsections. I’m hoping to eventually make one in the Work tab that says “art book”, maybe one that says “posters”. I can dream, can’t I?
  • Colophon” was fun for a while. Now it’s called “About”, because it’s “about me and what I do”. Beware of added commercial propaganda content.

Digest Home

Before:

pangea_old_home

After:

pangea_new_home

  • The old homepage was a “digest page” automatically showing new content from various sections, yet it still felt static and dead.
  • Accepting this staleness, I decided to entirely scrap the digest page and use the homepage differently.

  • Because the homepage is the default section which new visitors are likely to see first, I decided to use it for pretty pictures. While I interact the most with people commenting in this blog section, it’s easy to forget that this is just a little clubhouse. Most people will have no idea what’s going on. The new setup with a static explanatory homepage, I believe, gives a better introduction to what the hell this is all about.
  • I needed room for an upcoming side-project, so I’ve added a “Vn” tab. Some of you may have guessed this is dedicated to mathematician John von Neumann, in honor of whom I’ve named a generative graphics engine.
  • Behind the curtain stands a tiny AJAX wizard, all clad in blue and dynamically serves up pictures from the archives. Click “Older” in the bottom of the page to see his skills. This wizard is named Michael Heilemann, in honor of the author of rolling archives, from which the wizard stole his powers.

Through The Looking Glass

Some changes are purely cosmetic, some are a structural. For instance, since my camera got stolen, I haven’t photographed. With posters coming up, the wallpaper section deserves a revamp. As a result, the pics & desktops section is in limbo, relegated to being a subsection of the journal.

The journal (you’re looking at it) got the most changes, mainly invisible ones. Comments have been adjusted for clarity, the main page has been cache optimized and WordPress has been updated. Also, most of the code is now based on the upcoming final release of the Fauna theme. Finally, there are tiny ♥ icons in the main feed. Kinda like Gruber. All tiny cosmetic changes that give that “new paint-job” feeling.

Whether the changes made will work out given time, remains to be seen. So far, I’m enjoying the new car smell. Alas, it’s what’s under the hood that matters, so here’s hoping this old car has a few miles in it still.

7 thoughts on “Newscope Part 2: The Mini-Extreme Makeover”

  1. That wizard guy certainly sounds like a swell person 🙂

    Cutting the tabs back to what you’ve got now, I think, was a great idea. All around these are some nice changes, though I would of course be remiss if I didn’t drop a few comments.

    First of all, the ‘Previous Posts’ underneath your entries takes up a good deal of space, and for some reason falls into my eyes’ ‘AdSense’ filter (I don’t read them). This pushes the comment form rather far down under the entry, which is a shame, as it feels a bit disconnected.

    On the old frontpage– here — I noticed that the very top bar is a range of different colors. For some reason I really liked that. And as an experiment of sorts, it could be cool if each color was representative for one of your art pieces, letting people use it as a discoverable mystery meat bar of some sort…

    The new frontpage is nice, though there’s a lot of vertical space from the top to the ‘meat’, and I’m not convinced that the big tabs ‘read’ as tabs. Might be a simple question of dimming the color or opacity on the non-selected tabs, or something like that.

    Would be nice with some minimalist explanatory text on the frontpage as well. When I arrive there, I’m not sure what exactly I’m looking at, as it is now.

    Just some quick thoughts anyway. It’s a pleasant site as always.

    PS: I’m sending you a screenshot of a minor bug; I think.

  2. With regards to the text on the frontpage, I think the problem is that the text for the pieces is found below the pieces, which is counter-intuitive to me, and and it’s a bit unclear whether the text belongs with what came before or what follows. Probably cleared up with a margin or something like that.

  3. Joen says:

    That wizard guy certainly sounds like a swell person 🙂

    Oh, he’s the best. And to step out of character: thanks.

    First of all, the ?Previous Posts? underneath your entries takes up a good deal of space, and for some reason falls into my eyes? ?AdSense? filter (I don?t read them). This pushes the comment form rather far down under the entry, which is a shame, as it feels a bit disconnected.

    Good point. I like that it shows previous 5 posts, but I can see the adsense thing. Consider it on my todo list.

    I noticed that the very top bar is a range of different colors. For some reason I really liked that. And as an experiment of sorts, it could be cool if each color was representative for one of your art pieces, letting people use it as a discoverable mystery meat bar of some sort?

    That top-bar was part of a micro-redesign for that specific month, containing the colors as seen in the featured installment. Your idea is fantastic, though — I’ll seriously consider it! It would require a bit of coding, but I think it could be really interesting.

    The new frontpage is nice, though there?s a lot of vertical space from the top to the ?meat?, and I?m not convinced that the big tabs ?read? as tabs. Might be a simple question of dimming the color or opacity on the non-selected tabs, or something like that.

    Good points. I have an idea on how to fix it — basically, people know hyperlinks. If I change the “projects” and “portfolio” links to look more like hyperlinks, then people might not need to understand the tab metaphor at all… In any case, I can see what you mean and that’ll also go on my todo list. Notice, by the way, that if you click portfolio and reload the page, you go to the portfolio page! Sort of like a permalink. I think that’s kinda neat.

    Would be nice with some minimalist explanatory text on the frontpage as well. When I arrive there, I?m not sure what exactly I?m looking at, as it is now.

    I’ll see what I can do.

    PS: I?m sending you a screenshot of a minor bug; I think.

    Send away! Appreciated.

    With regards to the text on the frontpage, I think the problem is that the text for the pieces is found below the pieces, which is counter-intuitive to me, and and it?s a bit unclear whether the text belongs with what came before or what follows. Probably cleared up with a margin or something like that.

    Right, good point. On it. Margin is a definite thing. Text, I think, I’ll try and keep it below for now — essentially because I want to write more stuff than there is right now.

  4. Notice, by the way, that if you click portfolio and reload the page, you go to the portfolio page! Sort of like a permalink. I think that?s kinda neat.

    That is neat.

    Text, I think, I?ll try and keep it below for now ? essentially because I want to write more stuff than there is right now.

    Maybe have the title of the set above the images, but the rest of the details below? A thought anyway.

    PS: I have noticed that the ‘Live Preview’ checkbox is cookie’d as well. Nice!

  5. Joen says:

    Maybe have the title of the set above the images, but the rest of the details below? A thought anyway.

    Good idea. I’ll see if that works.

    PS: I have noticed that the ?Live Preview? checkbox is cookie?d as well. Nice!

    Thanks. By the way, if there’s anything you fancy, drop me a line. You’ve got a few things in the bank here, feel free to make a withdrawal.

  6. Wish you very good luck. I hope it works out as great as it looks.

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