It’s finally done! Alright, perhaps our new layout is not 100% finished, but it is certainly complete enough to air so that I may start collecting feedback– when making this new theme, I had to do a couple things differently in my programming sandbox than I would on this server so finally putting it into use will give me a better idea about what needs work.
First off, how do you like the new layout? I got sick of modifying my old theme over and over so I decided to start from scratch. Along the way I discovered some cool PHP and CSS3 tricks which I hope you guys will find neat as well! Of course I was not able to do this alone either… Let me take a moment to thank everyone who contributed:
- Balance – For his continual support of my coding and [limited] artistic abilities. He created graphics for the Clubroom and provided general advice throughout the development of this layout.
- Iluuuv – F0r bringing my characters to life based on my own cruddy, wishy-washy instructions. She drew the characters that are currently present on the sidebar.
- Anatasia Ah Kian – For illustrating the school environment I envisioned. She drew the header’s background completely based on my description of the mood it should present and a MS Paint mockup to point out the positioning of certain objects.
- All of the image and coding references that I have used on this site – As a self-taught web designer, my coding and graphic design abilities are only as talented as the numerous tutorials and documentations that I am able to find online. Thank you for helping me paint my corner of the Internet.
- Arujei – Last but not least, and certainly the most important. Arujei has given me a place to host my blog and the ever accumulating posts that write themselves as I go through my daily life. All this time, he has hosted my site completely free out of the goodness of his heart. While my funds are currently strapped as a pre-medical student, I encourage anyone to please donate to him so that he may continue to host my site, as well as the number of others that he looks after. (Click his name to be taken to a secure DreamHost donation form).
As for some new functionality, I have completely cut out having WordPress manage user registrations. All commenting will now be handled by Disqus, which I find to be a far more robust commenting system. If you want to register and not comment as an avatar-less guest, be sure to click the fluffly eared girl on the sidebar! Some features that this new system introduces:
- @mentions – You can mention people in the comment thread Twitter-style.
- Reactions – Any time you tweet or retweet my site, a little icon will show up at the bottom linking back to your twitter feed!
- Community functions – You can now up-vote/down-vote comments as well as have your statistics tracked by the site.
Lastly, I wanted to share some of the making-of/WIP images of this layout to sort of illustrate how things unfolded. This redesign came about when I desired to integrate my Twitter account with my blog somehow. I came up with the idea of having a chalkboard banner that would display my tweets at random– a cute yet elegant set up. This project of my layout is actually being the most troublesome and is as of yet unfinished. While I am able to display tweets using the banner, I have been unable to find an artist who would stick with me long enough to illustrate a character that I need as part of the banner. It is my plan for her to change expression based on the content of the tweet. I used to have a character in the works, but she was ultimately scrapped due to personal troubles regarding the artist. Regardless, the scrapped character went on to influence the final uniform designs of the rest of the characters created by Iluuuv.