Finished. Time To Start Over.

For the past year on this blog, I have spent an inordinate amount of time on the design and development of this blog. In many ways, the new direction of the blog was an amazing success. The blog has been updated literally thousands of times with all different kinds of content. The decentralized manner of publishing turned my everyday routines into a form of blogging. However, during same year, I have written a grand total of 18 actual long-form articles. Of those 18, perhaps 10 were no related to the theme development or why I was not actually writing. I knew quickly after the redesign that I missed the mark in a few ways – in one way or another, I have been working on fixing those issues. I believe that those are behind me now with this current revision. This theme has been released in a more generic form which fulfills the promise I made just about one year ago to this day. Which leads me to my next “project”. I want to turn this blog around in a big way. I am aiming to get some serious readership and some serious conversations back on this site. I want to go about doing this in a fairly naive/idealogical manner and I am planning to write extensively about it.

Devoting Time To Writing and the Process of Writing

I am not a fan of the current state of blogging – especially concerning web-related blogs. Much of the content I see coming out is drivel, intellectually unchallenging and seemingly designed to generate traffic rather than ideas. Many sites follow a pattern from self-proclaimed blogging experts on how to generate readership. The results are not pretty. I have decided to draw my miniscule line in the sand and document the process. I am going to try to generate traffic and readership the way I think it should be done. Like with many other things, I could either be completely wrong or just lacking in talent to accomplish such goals. Nonetheless, with the blog redesign project completed, I thought it would be a good time to start something new.

When Some Random Dude got started, the blog’s design/structure lacked in polish, but the content sure got a lot more attention. It is way past time to redirect my attention to developing my actual thoughts rather than a place for my thoughts to reside.

10 thoughts on “Finished. Time To Start Over.”

  1. I just wanted to say that I fully agree with you about the fact that the writing structures on blogs generally should be changed. I also think that people who write blogs should be more carefull with what they write, because I see a lot of blogs who just copy the content from other blogs.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the changes.

  2. P.J. –

    Nice implementation of your theme. Especially, dig the overlays and sliding door effect. Was a big fan of the prior design, as well.

    As someone who is not a designer nor coder, I have been dragging my feet on my own blog because of the same concerns you expressed in this post. I ask myself — why should I add more of the sameness to the web?

    But, I am encouraged by the efforts being made on the typography front, by the desire by some in the design community to add *editorial direction* to their blog posts, and the general desire to put the idea of craft back into blogs — whether thematically, or by design or by content.

    Hopefully, over the next year there will be a *new wave* of blogs or personal sites with stronger author generated content.

    1. I completely agree. This criticism of blogging is directed equally towards myself – I was pumping out tons of content, but none of it was unique or intellectually fulfilling. I consider it akin to fast-food. In the future weeks, I will be talking about why this is so bad for us and how I myself got caught up in this process.

      I’m happy that you like the current design. My hope is this is the last iteration you will see from this site in a long, long time.

  3. P.J—

    What can I say? Congrats on fulfilling a HUGE goal. Redesigning anything that is already good, especially your own work, is no easy stroll in the park.

    I will admit that at first, I was very sad to see the slider bars, column color shifts, and graphical stats of the previous site go away. I felt those design elements were great, giving SRD a distinct, quirky personality even though I know you had a completely different opinion about it. Before becoming bummed out to see the old look go, I spent some time this afternoon and evening, exploring the new site. Lets just say that we got acquainted with each other, and are now friends. 🙂

    I’ve come to realize that the site is still very similar to the former SRD. This familiarity is comforting. What has changed—for the better—is that SRD grew up and became an adult. Stripped of all the misc effects, the look and feel is now direct, sophisticated, functional, and focused upon the content.

    The typography treatment in the header is elegant and fits well with this new found maturity. Most importantly, I think it brings depth to the monochromatic color scheme. As a print designer, that is my favorite design element of the site. It keeps a bit of that playful personality that I grew to enjoy on SRD. I am also glad to see the icons have survived the redesign, as well as the distinct grid structure. The only nitpicky question I have is this: Why did you decided to leave so little space between the 3 main columns? They do seem cluttered, especially on the homepage. I’ve always felt that negative space is a significant part of legibility as well as a key to successful hierarchical structures.

    Otherwise, this is a successful redesign. I look forward to exploring the site further, as well as reading the new content. Congrats!

  4. Kellie – Yeah, I have to agree that part of me misses those elements as well. The problem from my point of view though is that those elements were never fully flushed out, nor did they ever really ad anything to the underlying purpose of the site. Yes, they were fun, but they were fun without any reason and were never executed to the level where it was truly engaging.

    Ultimately, I spent more time on those UI knick-knacks than the core experience of engaging with the content. I loved the idea of an interactive background and it is something I am very open to trying again. However, the end result was something I was never happy with. In the end, they were distractions as well as a blight to the code-cleanliness of the site. I am happy to see them go.

    I think the main feedback I got from the old site was how cluttered it was. I knew that no matter what I did, the sheer amount of content on the home page was always going to come off more cluttered than other blog home pages. That said, there was so much fluff on the old design that I definitely wasn’t aiding in my cause. Removing extra colors and visual elements has helped. In terms of spacing, it definitely is tight, but from my subjective opinion, I feel as though the current iteration is less tight than the old version while gaining an extra 30 pixels of effective horizontal space (more on this later).

  5. This theme fits the mood of the blog perfectly. I have always had trouble finding a background that suited the ambiance of my blogs. I have tried to design my own themes but could never come up with something that I liked, particularly.

    Another problem I had was finding a size that would accomodate everyone, not only that but the CSS wouldn’t work well with IE for some reason, only firefox, so just as most other people, I just found a theme (I guess settled on a theme) is more like it.

    You did well here. It looks good and works well with your blog!

  6. I just found your blog through your Iconic set of icons (very nice, btw), and after reading this post I must say that I fully agree with your sentiments. I’ve always been a fan of sharing ideas and art on the web, using forums for actual discussion, and just generally, slowing down to think. Nothing turns me off more than Twitter or blogs that re-blog everybody else’s re-blogs.

    My own blog is not nearly as sophisticated as yours, but I can empathize with the desire to generate real content to spur ideas and discussion.

    Keep up the good work.

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