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Site Redesign

Author: • Dec 22nd, 2007 •

Category: Ballardosphere

I’ve redesigned the site using Darren Hoyt’s excellent Mimbo theme for WordPress as a basis. There were a few reasons for this, chiefly that the sheer amount of content was becoming unwieldy, forcing readers to drill deep down to find what they wanted. Also, I’ve always envisaged the site as more of a magazine than a blog, given that I regularly feature other writers and that the site has a number of clearly defined sections: “features”, “interviews”, “reviews”, etc.

Elsewhere, in recent times the power of WordPress has been harnessed to create dynamic magazine-style sites, with automatically generated excerpts on the home page and much smarter use of screen real estate; Mimbo is part of this new breed of magazine-style themes for WordPress. I wanted in on that, as previously, when I featured a major essay, I wanted to give it wide exposure so I’d leave it as the top post for 4, 5 days. But this meant I couldn’t post anything else in that time as it would dislodge the feature from the pole position. Now, with Mimbo, I can still feature an article but also continually post in subcategories that are nested on the home page around the lead story, all featuring equally. For example, on the home page, I’ve retooled the Ballardosphere category as the blog component of the site.

Please let me know if there are any weird formatting errors. The new design should look fine in Mac-based Safari and Firefox browsers, but PCs are an unknown quantity as I don’t have one and haven’t tested it on one. I know that on Internet Explorer for Mac, the site looks like complete shite, and although I’m almost beyond caring for or trying to accommodate this most unfriendly of browsers, I’d still like to know from PC users what it looks like — on all browsers — at least until I can get on a PC myself to find out.

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10 Responses »

  1. Well, I know full well how painful site redesigns can be, so I’m glad you pulled through this one!

    On IE, while MS come in for a lot of hate (especially from Mac people who basically seem to have PC envy and an over evolved sense of superiority, only feeling truly good about themselves while attacked the other OS) you have to face the fact that the majority of net users have IE. But excluding IE from consideration you threaten to alienate the site a bit. I’m sure you have the numbers on which browsers your viewers use, please do kep it in mind. Personally I happen to think IE is pretty lame – it’s too slow, and the tab feature is particularly poor. BUt I have to face the truth about what others use. ;-)

    Moving on from that, the redesign looks reasonably good. I’m somewhat bothered by the front page, where the link lists on the right go down way beyond the front page text, making it seem unbalanced. The content, as usual, is excellent.

    Anyway – it works fine in my IE (IE 7.0 running Windows 2003 Server), and also on Opera (version 9.24). Opera is my favored browser, but as is common in Internet circles, some pieces of software grab the “cool” tag, and Opera, sadly, has been the greatest loser against the likes of Firefox. Pity, it’s a wonderful thing!

    Anyway -enough preaching. Honestly, the main point of my coming on here was simply to confirm that IE on the PC and Opera on the PS render the site correctly. So there you go.

  2. Simon – looks great with IE 6.0 running on Windows XP!

    (I remember using Opera for a couple of years when it was the ‘cool’ browser, but could never quite get used to it for some reason).

  3. Vaughan,
    I think he was slandering IE on the Mac specifically. It’s a very different browser from its PC cousin, and the rendering engine is pretty insane. IE on the PC is a lot better than it used to be, IE on the Mac died a death.

  4. Vaughan — cool your boots, man! John is correct: I was referring to Explorer on a Mac. I’m not slandering PCs, and I only use a Mac out of habit. As you and Mike H. have confirmed, it looks great with IE 6.0 & 7 on Windows so I’m happy.

  5. Looks great, Simon. Safari / Leopard.

  6. Vaughan, i do know what you mean by the links on the front page. I’m working on a fix.

  7. Looks great on 22” display, IE7, Windows Vista.

  8. Thmbs up for Firefox Version 2.0.0.11 On an M$xp PC.

  9. Simon, this is a great reworking of what was already a brilliant site. Not just the best Ballard site, but probably the best site of its kind on the web – we just don’t tell you that enough!

    Oh and it looks good in IE on Windows, don’t bother with IE on Mac, nobody else does…

  10. Wow, thanks Mike. That’s nice to hear. And yeah, IE on Mac is dead. Didn’t they even discontinue development of it?

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