A few words while I switch the designs around…

Wow. Ouch. So there we go. I’ve redesigned the site and I’m struggling to get it all up and working properly as soon as I possibly can, but there are scratchy bits and clunky bits and I swear to got that I’m getting to those bits in a minute. This redesign has been a long time coming – and like so many of my personal bits of work, was actually accomplished only because I suddenly developed enough momentum on a Sunday afternoon to get it to a nearly thought-through stage before something else got in the way. So it has all of the features of things that come together in that way – I think it’s pretty inspired (for something I’d do), while simultaneously it’s full of rough bits that haven’t been polished out of existence yet.

I’ve been trying to think around my aesthetic and my reasons for going in this direction, but to be honest it’s a whole mix of things coming together at one point in time. There’s a bit of my general frustration with people doing things that seem to me to be working in opposition to the media, there’s a dash of my desire to keep refining an artificial/manufactured aesthetic for and there’s a large stinking block of trying to strip away all the guff that has accumulated around my site over the last few years.

Weirdly, I think I’m also secretly hoping that by going so stark that people find the site intimidating and unfriendly. I’ve written before about how hard I find it to write when everyone’s watching. That feeling got a little worse than normal after the whole wonderful Bloggies win. Maybe subconsciously this is an attempt to try and keep a very particular crowd around here while alienating everyone else. Maybe it’s not so subconscious. Dunno. I guess we’ll see how people respond to it over the next few days / weeks / years.

Anyway, in the meantime, I’ll endeavour to get as much as possible (if not everything) fixed that appears currently to be broken in the next couple of hours, and maybe tomorrow I’ll try and give you guys a tour through some of my thinking. First redesign in a very very long time… Quite exciting…

48 replies on “A few words while I switch the designs around…”

Sorry, but it’s ugly. Looks like a geography teacher’s gone through some student’s homework with a highlighter pen.
Is the stripey effect supposed to make you feel dizzy?

I really like the stark nakedness of the new layout. The intentional alienation aspect is interesting, and weirdly faux-mirrors today’s in-joke of a newspost on Penny Arcade, where Tycho takes the site in a whole new direction, meant only for “three hot librarians and an odd old man with his doctorate in English”.
I miss the charm of the old version a little bit, especially the cheeky “Who the hell is Tom Coates” link at the top of the old sidebar. It was that link that made me keep on reading. 🙂

oh my god – what did you do – thought your site had been hacked when I happened by a couple of mins ago.

tom, though i usually read your posts through my rss reader, i must admit that i am loving the new site redesign. if more sites looked like this, i might actually have to scrap the reader. (and the blue highlighting is perfect for people like me who like to know where i can click upon first glance on the page.) congrats!

Seems like a complete failure: almost everyone likes it, so you haven’t alienated anyone ;)… unless they simply left without commenting. Sadly for you, I’m sticking around too, love it.
There aren’t that many common items but somehow to me it fits with the latest svn, asterisk and subtraction. Yours goes 2-3 steps further in simplicity around the posts but the posts themselves kind of fit visually in the same bunch I think. Or maybe I just need coffee.

Well the change is radical. I liked the old design, but I like this one too. Very readable, super-fast to load, very easy on the eyes. I like the highlighter too.
I agree with Patrick, the alienating effect doesn’t seem to be working. You need to add some Flash that takes at least two minutes to load or animated Gifs, those that loop on forever. And pictures of kittens. And lots of ads. 😉

Sorry, but it’s lovely. Looks like a geography teacher’s gone through some student’s homework with a highlighter pen.
Seriously though – I like it! I expect you to surpass Angermann for originality and in your face-ness next time though 🙂

Wow! I really like it! Great design Tom. I didn’t really like the old design too much (although it wasn’t horrific), so this is almost a relief to the eyes. Yey.

At first I was horrified, wondering where your beautiful old layout had gone, but a few seconds later I am loving the simplicity of this one. It is so much what the web should be. User friendly, simplistic and uncluttered, yet elegant. Keep it up!

It’s good, bravo, I like the colors, but please loose the stripes. Stripes are the new vector-traced-hairline-border-of-an-object, it’s just old.

You might want to try different classes in your CSS for a:link; I don’t think you will want every single link to be blue-highlighted over the long term.
Also, cute with the GIF from an online font sampler as your logotype.

Yeah I’m still resolving my thoughts around the link-styles. Certainly I think they’ll stay for the most part like this for a while, but I may choose to sectionalise them a bit later on. Well spotted on the logo – I actually subsequently went and bought the font – but yeah seeing it in context was both an inspiration and a satisfying reference.
With regards to the code, there will be some pages on the site which are a bit clunky because they use code in the posts from before I went to XHTML, but the main problem is the code I use for stat tracking which I can’t really change easily. On the homepage, doing a quick validation, there’s only one error that doesn’t come from that code, and that’s because I put an ampersand on the page without properly encoding it. Clumsy of me, but at least you could say my heart’s in the right place.

Looking very nice, but just one thing:
Utter pedantry, as it could be viewed, but if you have “Arial, Helvetica” in your CSS, Arial shows up for us Mac users, a waste of perfectly good Helvetica. It would be appreciated if they were just switched around.

Talk about contrast.. you went from this bright blue cheeky site to stark simplicity. I think both were great, different but still great 🙂 Keep up the good work.

I like it, though it took me a while to find the comments link to say so. Seems a bit wierd to have the comments link at the top of the post; I read the post, then I want tt comment, why should I have to go back to the top?

Very nice, congrats!
Personal niggles… Like some others I find the blue highlighting a bit obtrusive. My eye jumps to the blue all the time, which is a shame particularly at the top of the page where the first things I read are “Tom Coates”, “RSS feed” and “Site Archives”.
Second, the graphical “” doesn’t work for me – aside from not being wild about the font, it jars with the rest of the clean design for me. Looks too fussy. But I may get used to it and, it’s your site after all, so it should look good for you, not me 🙂
Third, my own impending clean re-design is going to take a lot of work to make it not seem like a lame copy of yours!

At first sight I hated it and was hoping that would be an end to my relationship with plasticbag. However, i’m getting to like it perhaps because of the tension between the rather hard germanic, nihilistic, minimalism and the soft, rounded font. Damn!
I second Mr Gyford about links though – I like them because they break up the white space but it makes for bad usability.
But what do I know – this site is my favourite of all time:

BareBone is the new black
While Amazon is testing a new interface, apparently leaving their usual “flat” layout, trend in blogland is to go for simplicity at all costs. Tom Coates of plasticbag fame worte a few weeks ago about his redesign, while Ben Hammersley has just reset h…

Comments are closed.