Saturday, 14 May 2005

Renovations : Episode II

Those who know me quite well are more than willing to testify to the fact that I am a fairly cerewet (fussy) person. My cerewet-ness has made me redo many things that I've worked on.

I redid my Final Year Project presentation because I thought blue was a "safe" and overused colour. I redid my homepage design 10 times, due to various "creativity clashes" (with myself!). And the reason why I don't write blog posts on a daily basis is because nearly every one of them goes through a long series of rewrites before I could finally click on the Publish Post button.

The latest incident involving my cerewet-ness is none other the revamping of this blog's layout. In less than a week, I gave my blog a second layout overhaul.

I was really going for the minimalist concept thing. I looked at the blogs by Garrett Dimon and Evan Williams, and thought, "maybe white could work." Going minimalist is about creating something beautiful by keeping it simple and being true to its function.

After the unveiling of my blog a couple of days back, a few people who are quite close to me said that I could do "a bit more" with my blog. They all expressed their opinions in different words, but they were certainly hinting at the same thing. Not the kind of reaction I was hoping for, but I understood their intention and I stuck to my decision.

On the other hand, I also didn't felt the feeling I was hoping to feel. Again, I am in another "creativity clash". That strange feeling, as well as the words of my friendly critics wouldn't leave me alone for the following days. Every time when I tried to write a post or just reading through the stuff I published or drafted, those words and feeling would come back to haunt me.

At this point, I'm willing to admit to two things. One, I'm often cerewet about the things that I'm working on and have the ability and opportunity to improve it further. I'm usually not this fussy about other things. And two, as much as I greatly dislike to admit it, I think both my friendly critics and my gut feeling were right about the layout. It isn't working out for me and it has to go. Time to bid the iPod a la mode "au revoir!"

Deconstructing Rollie

And so I rolled up my sleeves and ended up working for a whole afternoon.

ColorZilla: a life saver
First, I changed the font. I tried Bitstream Vera Sans, which looks great in Opera and Mozilla browsers but horrible in Internet Explorer (I'm not sure why). I had no choice but to go for one of the most widely accepted web font around: Verdana. And not a bad choice if I may say so myself. The font smooths out nicely and provides a good readability.

Next, the colours. It's no secret that I'm a Mozilla Firefox user and I wrote about Mozilla extensions in one of my earliest posts. For this job, I used one extension in particular, ColorZilla. It's a colour picker and a colour list/chart in one and a web designer's best friend. Looking for the colours I wanted was a breeze with this sweet baby.

I also adjusted the width for the content area which consists of the main (where the post are displayed) and the sidebar by tinkering with the layout's stylesheet. I gave them a few extra pixels to make them wider and hopefully, easier to the eyes.

My Blog Title
Remember this? No? Not at all?
Gone from this layout is the picture of the train that I used as my title banner. Although I don't dislike it any less, I wanted something that's closer to home. The new title banner above was edited from a picture I found at stock.xchng while I was searching for pictures filed under the tag "malaysia". It's a photograph shot by zora_chan in Buntal Beach, Sarawak of a storm brewing. And it's named (guess what?) Before The Storm. Thank you zora_chan for sharing this amazingly breathtaking picture.

Alhamdulillah, the layout turned out better than I had imagined. It may lost much of its minimalism goals that I set out to achieve earlier, but I've learned a lot of new things in the process. To my friendly critics, this is why I need your support and feedbacks. Your comments mean a lot to me. Thank you for sharing your views.

And thank you for that feeling, gut.


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