Version 5 of elliotjaystocks.com
Posted on 25 June 2009
I’ve been promising a new version of this site for over a year now, but after several false starts and failed attempts, temporarily nuking the old site ended up being the only thing that would force me to do it. And so today I unveil the beast (which is best experienced with Safari, by the way)…
So, hello world (again)
Before you read any further, please note: my focus right now is on getting the site out of the door and making essential tweaks as it gets on its feet, so – for now – I’m not going to waffle on for too long; instead, I’ll be writing several follow-up posts that talk specifically about the redesign, so, expect to see separate posts about the thoughts behind it, the portfolio, the content in general, and the WordPress implementation. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, please leave a comment.
You should also know this: I’m well aware that some — perhaps many — people will hate this redesign. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest. It’s a statistical inevitability and one I’ve not attempted to avoid. If you’re pining for the old site, you can find it archived on v4.elliotjaystocks.com (or at least you will be able to when I fix whatever’s gone wrong with it).
Like I said, I’m not going to go into too much detail today and you can read about my reasons for redesigning in my last post, but I’ll quickly draw your attention to a few of the key things that have changed. OK, everything’s changed, but here are the important bits:
- Content. There’s bloody loads of the stuff. The previous version of the site was essentially just a blog, with two very simple pages (about and portfolio) tacked onto it. Not only was this a problem, but all of the other content I wanted to shout about – speaking gigs, publication, interviews, etc. – was either having to be crammed into the blog or not publicised at all. So this new version of the site makes good on all those accounts: there are dedicated pages about speaking and publication, the portfolio has been expanded massively to flesh out each project, and the blog is now a part of the site rather than the primary focus.
- WordPressed properly. On the old site, the only WordPress-powered part was the blog; everything else was just static files. That’s all changed on this version, and the site is now content-managed up to its eyeballs. Virtually everything you see is controlled by WordPress, and I’ve only left ‘static’ content in the template files if it was easier to update them by hand than create a complex WordPress function.
- A shift of focus. I mentioned moving the blog ‘back’ a bit in terms of its prominence on the site, but really this whole redesign was about shifting the focus entirely. My design services are now pretty much at the forefront, with elements of the portfolio spilling onto the home page, and calls-to-action for the contact page spread liberally throughout the site. I also wanted to give a lot of weight to the writing and speaking side of things, as well as create a kind of ‘archive’ of all the magazine articles, interviews, and gigs.
- Aesthetics. How can we talk about a redesign without touching on aesthetics? Well, I’m going to save it for another post, and I’ll also be talking about why I decided to jump on the ‘giant footer’ bandwagon (heavily influenced by Mr. Santa Maria’s in particular).
It’s not finished yet
Although the site’s live, my work’s far from done. There are numerous things that need tweaking and it hasn’t been tested at all in any version of IE. But apart from all that usual post-launch stuff, there are some specific things that I have planned:
- Books. You may notice that my recent reads have disappeared from the sidebar. Don’t worry – not only will they be appearing here sometime soon, but there’ll actually be more of a feature and there will be a dedicated books page.
- Music. I’ve made virtually no mention of my music, and this is intentional, because I don’t want to be sending out too many mixed messages with a new site. I’m working out the best way to incorporate my musical side and will update the site accordingly in a month or two.
- Improved comment display. I haven’t created an author style yet.
- Sidebar. Once I’ve sorted out some issues with a couple of plugins, there should be some more useful stuff back in the (now relatively empty) sidebar.
- Code improvement. Right now, it’s pretty messy and I’ve got a fair bit of cleaning-up to do. Please don’t expect it to validate at the moment.
Have at it
Right, that’s enough rambling for now. I’d love to know what you think, so please leave a comment!