Behind the Scenes of the Design Informer Redesign

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One of the hardest decisions that I had to face with this blog thus far is determining when it is the right time for a redesign. To some people, it is clear that their site is old and outdated and in need of a total makeover. To others, it is a lot harder to realize their need of a redesign since their site is doing well and have received great compliments about their current design. That is my case. The old design/theme of my site have gotten an incredible amount of positive remarks from the community and I’ve even received a few design jobs because of people who liked my blog’s design. I can see it now. Some of you are thinking this question in your head.

Are you crazy? Why are you doing a redesign after only 3 months, especially since your design has gotten lots of positive response thus far?

Well, in this blog post, I’d love to answer that question and take you behind the scenes of the Design Informer redesign.

The Goals and Objectives Link

Redesigning a blog is no easy task and there are many different factors that must be considered before one decides to redesign. With Design Informer’s old design, I started to notice that it was getting cluttered with different features that I was adding due to the fact that a lot of those features were not part of the original design.

Not only that, but the code was getting bloated and the site was starting to slow down due to so many different factors. At first, I thought of just re-aliging the site and just cleaning everything up. Later, I decided against that and instead, I opted for a complete redesign from the ground up.

Before I started the sketching/wireframing process, I went ahead and listed out the goals that I wanted to accomplish with the redesign. I actually came up with a list of about 15 things that I wanted to apply to this redesign, but let me just mention four of them in detail.

  1. Focus on Content – With the old design, the header was attracting too much attention and when a visitor first visited the site, the header was competing for attention with the content.
  2. Simplicity in Design – I wanted to strip the site of the many uneccesary design elements that it had. While not completely minimal, I wanted this redesign to be a lot simpler, which again leads to focusing on the content.
  3. Typography and Readability – As with any blog, these two things are very important. I wanted the readers to have a great experience while reading through the articles and I didn’t want their eyes to get tired and stressed so I really tried my best to make the site as readable as possible.
  4. New Features – If you are still new to blogging, one thing that you are constantly doing is thinking of new features that you would like to add to your site to make it better and more user-friendly. But what happens when you decided to add these features to your blog? More often than not, it ruins and clutters your design because you didn’t originally plan for it and now it doesn’t match your site at all. This is the case with a lot of websites, and it was the case with my website as well.

Sketching and Wireframing Link

Sketch and Wireframes

After writing out the goals and objectives that I wanted to accomplish with the redesign, I started sketching my initial thoughts on the design. I am not an expert at sketching, but one thing that it does is it helps me to see my ideas very quickly. For initial sketches, I just use a thick blue marker as it helps me not to focus on all the little design details but rather on the main frame and structure of the site. Once the inital sketch is complete and I am satisifed with it, then I then move on to the detailed sketches where I jot down notes about the design and features of the site. You can see a few of the sketches that I have drawn above. I have a lot more sketches but I’d rather not show them to you.

The moment that I finished my sketches, I immediately proceeded to create wireframes of the website. During the wireframing process, I do use real content because like I mentioned earlier, I wanted to focus on the content1.

The Design Link

Once I finished the wireframes, I then went ahead and started on creating and refining the little details of the site. I probably spent way too much time in this part of the redesign, as I kept changing the look and feel of the site over and over again.

Logo and Header Link

Logo and Header

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to keep the header of the site as simple as possible. I decided to include a navigation menu and a search bar on the header along with the Design Informer logo. At first, I decided to just have the logo there, but after showing it to a couple of my friends (Vitaly Friedman2 and Doug Neiner3), they suggested that the header was too plain and I needed to spruce it up a bit. That’s when I decided on adding the city buildings, as that was on the original design, but I decided to keep it light and faded, as I didn’t want to draw too much attention to the header.

One thing that you will notice is that I also added the RSS and Twitter feed counts. This was something that I wanted to do to showcase how much the site has grown in the last three months. I’ve also decided to remove the large Design Informer mascot. Don’t worry though, he is still around and if you look for him, he might even say hello!

Content Area Link

Content Area

For the content area, there are two slight changes that I have implemented.

  1. First of all, I’ve decided to add categories at the top of the posts so readers can easily choose which category they would like to view.
  2. I’ve also changed the way the post information is displayed.

Sidebar

While I was designing the sidebar in Photoshop, I wanted to make it stand out a bit more and separate it from the main section. While thinking of different ideas, the photoshop rulers stood out at me, so I decided to implement it on the sidebar design. As far as features, I’ve pretty much kept it the same with one slight change; I’ve decided to remove the Community News section for now. I was just receiving way too much spam through it, even with Akismet already turned on. Some of the articles were great, but I also noticed that some people were abusing it by submitting 12 articles at one time which would then just push other articles out of the sidebar.

Footer

While the old footer did the job, this new and improved footer is a lot more helpful and interactive. Here are some of the features of the new footer.

  • Categories
  • Recommended Reading
  • Popular Tags
  • Flickr Showcase
  • Friends of Design Informer

Blog Post and Comments Link

With the blog post, I wanted to make it extend the width of the site and remove the sidebars, but I changed my mind and decided against it. I put much thought into it, but in the end, I wanted to stick to the traditional blog design. The comments section in the old design worked really well so I decided to keep that as well.

Related Links and Article Promotion Link

Love

You will probably notice a change in the design of the article promotion section and the related posts. I’ve decided to include the post header image as well when viewing related links. I’ve also cleaned up the article promotion area. I’ve decided to include the hand of Mr. Informer with the heart, because when you promote one of our articles, then you are "sharing the love."

Visual Hierarchy Link

Along with a great design, you want to have the proper visual hierarchy as well. For this site, I wanted to content to stand out first, so I decided to perform a simple test which I’ve always done. If you want to learn more about this, read this excellent blog post4 by Lee Munroe.

If you take a look at the test below, you will notice that immediately, when you view the page, your eye automatically is attracted to the post image, which was my intended goal.

Visual Hierarchy

The Development Link

I decided to keep WordPress as the backend. The site is coded in XHTML 1.0 Transitional. Does it validate? No, there is one error. The CSS doesn’t validate as well because I am using CSS3 effects5 on the site. I use validation to check for errors, but if it doesn’t validate completely, then that’s not too important.

As long as I fix all of the errors that I can fix, then it’s okay. I also didn’t use a grid-system. I ended up using my own personal framework as I am more effective with it and it meets the needs of this site. I did use the 960 grid-system for the design.

New Additions and Features Link

The site has some new additions and features so let me break it down for you.

  1. Recommended Reading6 – I wanted to be able to share my favorite articles to my readers while at the same time, help promote those who are coming up with great content, so I decided to add this section. You can view it by checking it out on the footer, or by clicking on the category, Recommended Reading.
  2. Archives7 – I’ve finally included an Archives page to the site. It’s organized by month, by popularity, and you can even view every single post we’ve ever written on Design Informer.
  3. About8 and Contact9 – I’ve already had these pages in the old design, but I decided to spruce it up a bit. Go ahead and check it out to read a little bit about Design Informer and you can also see the guest authors as well.
  4. 40410 – With the old site, I didn’t even have a proper 404 page. As you can see here, I customized my 404 page to be more useful.

What’s Coming Next Link

There’s still a lot coming to Design Informer in the future. There are still little things that I will be tweaking on the design, so please bear with me as we continue to strive to make Design Informer better. Also, we are still hard at work on Coding Informer so we will definitely give you updates as things start to progress.

Your Feedback is Greatly Appreciated Link

I learned one very valuable lesson when I did this redesign.

I am my worst critic.

I can’t remember how many times I decided to start over while doing this redesign. While I have my own opinions, thoughts and criticisms of this design, I would love to hear yours as well. Please feel free to share your thoughts about the new design. Your honesty is appreciated! Don’t be shy, tell me what you think, what I can improve, what you like about the design, and what you don’t like. Oh, and if you notice any errors, feel free to message me on Twitter or send me an email11.

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to read this really long post and please do help me promote it with a bump, float, blend, stumble and retweet. Thanks again!

Footnotes Link

  1. 1 http://designinformer.com/lorem-ipsum-killing-designs/
  2. 2 http://www.smashingmagazine.com
  3. 3 http://www.dougneiner.com
  4. 4 http://www.leemunroe.com/visual-hierarchy/
  5. 5 http://designinformer.com/use-css3-now/
  6. 6 http://designinformer.com/recommended-read
  7. 7 http://designinformer.com/archives
  8. 8 http://designinformer.com/about
  9. 9 http://designinformer.com/contact
  10. 10 http://designinformer.com/404
  11. 11 http://designinformer.com/contact

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Former editor in chief of Designinformer.

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  1. 1

    I love the header graphic for this post :) Of course I lit up with a smile when I hovered over the logo and it changed..you always have a way with details that is so clever! Redesigns always seem to be a balance of clever design and marketing after evaluation of previous designs, and if it’s something that works harmoniously with your needs, then you should stick to it :)

    Wishing you continued success!
    .-= Melody´s latest Blog Entry – Submit Your Work for SexiDesign’s Artist Showcase =-.

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    • 2

      Good thing that his friends told him to add more to the background. I really loved your old header that you had here on designinformer, but this one with the building is spectacular also. Without the buildings in the background, it would have been to plain. Looking forward to more greatness from you guys :)
      .-= Kenneth Lemus´s latest Blog Entry – Introducing User Wallpaper Galleries =-.

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    • 3

      Thanks for the feedback Melody. Glad you liked the logo hover. I really appreciate the compliments and I agree with your evaluation. :)

      Hi Kenneth! Actually, I got stuck with the header for a long time, and after much experimenting, I decided to incorporate the buildings, which also helps to tie this design with the previous one. :)

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  2. 4

    Really nice re-design, and i think it does work better. The header as you say took too much attention previously, but now its focused on the logo and the content.

    Only part im unsure about is the footer, i like large footers but this one is like its own page.
    .-= Alan´s latest Blog Entry – Services =-.

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  3. 8

    Hi Jad,

    The new design looks great. Clean and sleek. I do not know if this is the best one for you yet but definitely it’s worth to keep on adapting and improving in order to find the most ideal design and best UX for your audiences. Mostly importantly, the content continue to remain top notch.
    .-= Aidan´s latest Blog Entry – The 8 Best Forthcoming Web Design Conferences =-.

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    • 9

      I agree, testing is definitely something that I am doing now and will continue to do. I actually really am trying to learn my best about usability and all that technical jargon. I know that it will only help me to be a better designer.

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  4. 10

    Being a fan of minimal design – I feel this is definitly a step in the right direction for DI. Great job. I however am not convinced about the footer and I would really like to see a ‘recent posts’ list in the sidebar!

    Love the little touches and the tyopgraphy is great
    .-= Acuity Designs´s latest Blog Entry – Design Community Survey =-.

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    • 11

      Thanks Mel. Sorry to hear that you disagree with the footer.

      Anyway, the recent posts is a great idea. I was just observing the site and from a post, there is no way they can see other recent posts. I will definitely look into adding that feature. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  5. 12

    Cool design. I love minimal design (simple, efficient, objective) . The big footer sounds good for me. It inspired me. I always made little footers in my websites and now… well I’ll make my own “big footer” .^^
    .-= Marcos Cesar´s latest Blog Entry – Cancer – Grunge =-.

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  6. 14

    Great job Jad! I really like the new design. It feels classy and easy on the eyes. I don’t feel that a large footer is a problem at all. I like the new headings and the font you used for them! The ruler is a nice adition aswell!

    It is always nice to read the work process of a redesign and it seems like you made all the right decisions.

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    • 15

      Hi Mikael, thanks for stopping by and leaving your feedback. I don’t think I’ve seen you around in the comments here before. Anyway, I’m glad that you liked the “ginormous” footer.

      Yep, I tried to at least shed light on why I did what I did on the redesign and I hope it was an interesting read for you. :)

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  7. 18

    Like the Footer and the header but for everything else I preferred the older look. The same color of the sidebar and the content area is causing distraction since I can no longer filter out that area. Earlier I used to filter it out easily due to color difference. Also the Header I think is too subdued, but if that was your intention I think you have succeeded.
    Also the Nav bar is not standing out as far as it should making it add to the noise rather than improve accessibility. All these are of course my personal opinions.
    Suggestions:
    1) Try using a B&W illustration or hand sketch of the city skyline to make it more effective yet not intrusive.
    2) Try adding a subtle gradient to the Sidebar so that user can filter out that region while reading the article.
    Maybe all that I am writing is personal choice since I was expecting it to be a great redesign as your articles and the site is! :)
    .-= Tuhin Kumar´s latest Blog Entry – How the Design Community Can Improve? =-.

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  8. 21

    I like the redesign. Much cleaner and the header now feels much more professional.
    Also great subtitle design and multi-collumn usage in the content!

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  9. 23

    Awesome redesign – well done! Looks very professional and clear.

    Now back to writing some high quality content, since content is king ;) . Keep up the great work mate!
    .-= Marco´s latest Blog Entry – Pure CSS3 bokeh effect with some jQuery help =-.

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    • 24

      Haha, will definitely get back to pumping out the content. I have lots of great articles from guest posters as well as a few of my original articles/tutorials as well. :D

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  10. 25

    Really enjoy the new design… really nice step ahead! keep going…
    .-= Designi1´s latest Blog Entry – Biodiversity year – free vector nature pack =-.

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  11. 27

    Hey!!! Great job in redesigning… I’ve really liked the header, its simple and clean. :)

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  12. 29

    Really… great redesign my friend. Fresh, clean and tidy… I love it!
    .-= piervix´s latest Blog Entry – The PV.M Garage Gallery Has Been Launched, Inspire Yourself! =-.

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    • 30

      Thank you sir! BTW, in case you didn’t notice, I got inspired by your post meta-info and I implemented something similar to the redesign. I really like your blog design as well. Very clean and lots of little details that make it stand out. Oh, and congratulations on the new gallery! :)

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  13. 31

    awesome, thanks for the flow….

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  14. 32

    Very simple and clean but still professional. focus on content. i love it

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  15. 34

    Firstly, I love the site and the old one as well and always enjoy your twitters and loved this post as well. Not enough insights into live site design or redesign, but this one and the recent twittered BBC redesign piece have provided me with lots of insights and food for thought as i am in the process of designing my site.

    I love the typography and general style to the blog, love the little details like the spread the love arm and ruler.

    The only thing that doesn’t quite sit right with me is the double navigation (above and below the logo header) both fight for my attention and i am still unsure who wins… to me, it just doesn’t seem quite right.

    all in all top stuff and i will keep coming back for more top quality content from the site.

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    • 35

      Hi Joe, thanks for all your complementary words about the blog and the design.

      About the navigation, I really didn’t want to include the categories on the header area, but after consulting with different people, they concluded that it was best to have the categories on the top for easier access to more content. I’m still not sold on it though, maybe I can think of another creative way to implement it. We’ll see in the coming days.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion.

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  16. 36

    Great design Jad, I love this new design!
    great Job, as usual.
    .-= Antonio´s latest Blog Entry – Optimize your wordpress blog for search engines =-.

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  17. 38

    Really a Fantastic Redesign!
    Things I like –
    Footer (Awesome!)
    404 (Awesome!)
    Ruler (Great)
    Top Navigation (Wow!!)
    Keep up the Great Work….
    .-= Nikhil´s latest Blog Entry – 8 Video Series: Every Web Developer Must Watch =-.

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  18. 40

    Just with the Smashing Magazine redesign it will take some getting-used to before I can completely appreciate the new design, but I think you did a great job so far.

    There are some things I liked more about the old design and there is still some room for improvement, but you definitely went into the right direction.

    I think the navigation on top of the header is almost too plain now (that impressions is reinforced by the big amount of whitespace it has) as well as I would have wished for a even stronger separation of the sidebar (even though I definitely like the ruler idea).

    What I really like is how you present and focus on the content. Design Informer has an excellent readability now and it’s great how you structured the content with subtle details like the dashed border between list items, the gray line between different paragraphs and especially the h3-headings that have the transparent to white gradient and top and bottom border. Also a good job with sticking to a grid, it’s fantastic that all elements are properly aligned.

    Keep up the good work in the future as well and surprise us with even better content (if that’s even possible).
    .-= ximi´s latest Blog Entry – 50 Beautiful and Stunning Beer Bottle and Can Designs =-.

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    • 41

      Glad you noticed all those little details (lines, borders, etc.) of the design. One of the main things that I focused in on was the typography and the readability of the site. I wanted the site to feel very open and airy, and didn’t want it to feel too confined. I also spent a lot of my time on tweaking the font and font sizes until they were just right for me.

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  19. 42

    Hey Jad, awesome work!

    As I mentioned a few days ago, I simply love the ruler effect you’ve got separating the main section from the sidebar – it simply pops for me, and (personally) does an effective job of separating the two areas.

    The Footer is great – I love how you’ve reiterated the top-most navigation links and search field at the very bottom of the page. The overall design of the footer is reminiscent of the old site colours and that settles my feeling of “loss” when it comes to the old site design and its clever and calming use of blues in its design.

    That said, I really do like the neutral, minimalistic approach you’ve taken towards the general page setup, where content and sidebar are served. The staggared comment background shades clearly define the boundaries between peoples’ comments, and I love the lines linking them up in the heirarchy – top stuff!

    Probably the only concern I have is how far down the page the sidebar content is served – it seems that there’s a large number of “popular posts” underneath a generous space for ads. I fear that, were I to stumble upon your page and read an article, I might not even notice the “recent tweets” section as, but that point, I’d be engrossed in the article.

    Apart from that, I really dig the site. (Literally – Have dugg, bumped, stumbled and tweeted!)
    Keep it up man – this is definitely a site that should sit at the top of everyone’s daily reading lists!
    .-= Laneth Sffarlenn´s latest Blog Entry – What’s on the cards for Sffarlenn.net? =-.

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    • 43

      WOW! That’s a really long comment. Thanks for the feedback. I really love to hear what the readers think of the redesign.

      About the issue of the sidebar, I know that the content is a little far down, but really, that’s not much of a concern for me since the purpose of it is secondary. The tweets aren’t very important to me and I placed it there so that if they wanted to read some of my tweets, they can do so. The big thing is the Twitter follower count on the top. They can easily click on that, follow me on Twitter, and read my tweets. But I completely understand what you are trying to say.

      Thanks for being such a loyal and faithful reader/supporter of Design Informer. :)

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      • 44

        Hey Jad – Yeah, sorry for the long comment. I tend to be one of many words when typed…

        I understand about your placement of the twitter feed – esp. since you’ve got the follower count in a prominent position up top linking to your profile.

        Will be here for a long time to come my friend, don’t you worry about that! My loyalty has been well earned, and then some!
        .-= Laneth Sffarlenn´s latest Blog Entry – What’s on the cards for Sffarlenn.net? =-.

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      • 45

        Thank you so much. Actually, I appreciate the long comment. The longer the better, as long as it’s actually helpful. :)

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  20. 46

    Hi Jad , I ♥ the new design, so Clean and user friendly :)
    Suggestions:
    1. i’m not sure about the inner glow on the header logo (onOver) , maybe simple background work better.
    2. how about redesigning the “hand of Mr. Informer with the heart” that look more like the Mr. Informers hand that i see it in the footer ?

    Thanks for the RD again :)

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    • 47

      Glad you enjoy the new design and reading the article.

      About your suggestions, the reason for the glow was to make the logo look recessed so it looks like Mr. Informer is inside the logo. It’s really meant to be more of a drop shadow. I guess it is a little too strong and I should have softened it up a bit. Regarding the hand, I think it looks fine. :)

      Thanks!

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  21. 48

    I love the new design. You have really nice touches – logo, article meta data, sub headings, related posts. I like color scheme also. It’s great that there is a continuity with the previous design even though you’ve changed it a lot. I really like that.

    And nice to read your redesign process! Great work, Jad!
    .-= Janko´s latest Blog Entry – Process of redesigning Janko At Warp Speed, explained =-.

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  22. 51

    Jad,

    You have outdone yourself. From the top down, this is a well thought out and executed redesign. You already know what a fan I am of clean, minimal designs and this latest iteration of DI falls squarely in that sweet spot. And you have definitely reached your goal of keeping all of the focus on the content.

    BTW, thanks for keeping the mascot around. I am glad to see he didn’t go the way of the doe doe. ;)
    .-= Erik Ford´s latest Blog Entry – Win a Free License for the Time Tracking & Billing Application, Fanurio =-.

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    • 52

      Hey Erik, thanks for dropping your thoughts about the redesign. As always, I appreciate your thoughts and really respect you as a designer. Your minimal site is one that I’ve admired for a long time and when it was time for this redesign, I knew that minimal was the direction that I wanted to go. I’m really glad that you liked the design.

      Also, I thought long and hard about removing the mascot but decided to just minimize it’s role a bit and not make it so prominent.

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  23. 53

    clean layout… but i think the header color should be different

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  24. 55

    Great work Jad,

    I have to say this new header is much nicer. The old design had much greater contrast between the header and content where this new look puts the focus on your lead article image using contrast. The new footer is just outstanding.

    I’m sure you’d like to keep the top super clean, but I wonder what the Mr. Informer guy from the footer would look like next to the search box up top. Like everyone else I also LOVE the sidebar ruler. Nice touch.

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    • 56

      You’re exactly right about the contrast of the old site. I was really attached to the old header but I knew that it was just way too much so I opted to switch the focus to the post image instead.

      I originally had Mr. Informer up there, but like I mentioned, I wanted him to not be so obvious on the site. Plus, he’s a Spy/Informant so he likes to be behind the scenes so I decided to hide him in the logo. :D

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  25. 57

    Very nice Jad… nice clean blog! I love the idea of having the ps ruler down the sidebar!
    .-= The Pro Designer´s latest Blog Entry – 23+ Crazy Funny Cubicle Pranks =-.

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  26. 59

    Jad,

    This is a very clean design which puts the content into the focus while leaving lots of space for sub-contents, banners, comments, etc.

    Great job.
    .-= Umut Muhaddisoglu´s latest Blog Entry – 20+ Websites To Bookmark For Logo Design Inspiration =-.

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  27. 61

    Hey Jad,

    Congratulations on the redesign! Lots of nice little details, yet you’ve managed to keep things very clean.

    I particularly like the comment design, the subheadings and the post meta information. Each post is well laid out, although the redundant titles (the post heading repeated again in the image) are a little awkward.

    My only real criticism is the category listing at the top. I feel they could be a bit more interesting without sacrificing cleanliness.

    Otherwise, it’s clear you’ve put a lot of work in to it, and you’ve rightfully put the focus on the content. Good stuff :)

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    • 62

      Hey Derek, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I agree, the post image duplicate title is kind of awkward, but I think it is necessary.

      About the categories, I definitely agree with you. I’m not a huge fan of it myself, and might change it sometime in the future if I find a better solution.

      Looking forward to your article(s) and to working with you. Thanks again! :)

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  28. 63

    Looks good, I first checked this out on my mobile so I missed a lot of the details, looks much better in a web browser. Also cool to see the mascot making little appearences here and there.

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  29. 65

    one thing that I love from your new design is LIGHT BACKGROUND !!
    no more black !! YAY!!
    :D
    .-= Taufik´s latest Blog Entry – Locus OS: Location-based Operating System =-.

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  30. 68

    Really nice redesign, but…i was falling in love with yours older version :(
    However, now the blog is more clean, very beauty.
    Great work!

    S.

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    • 69

      Hi Sarah, I already knew that would be the case with some readers. We always like familiarity and a lot of times, change bothers us. But I completely understand that and I hope you’ll fall in love with this design as the days pass. :)

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  31. 70

    Great work. I really like the simplicity of use and feel. The logo :hover is a great idea. I often run across people who don’t know the common rule of having a click-able logo that takes the user back to the home page. Perhaps an implementation such as what you’ve done will help to clarify to those people.

    As always, a great inspiration. Thanks.

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  32. 71

    I also forgot to congratulate you on the redesign in the above post. I, also, have been working on a redesign of my portfolio site after only having it live for a short time. The difference is, you actually finished your redesign.

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    • 72

      Hey Chris, I know what you mean about the clickable logos. Every site that I have designed from the past year had a clickable logo. I’m definitely used to doing it when I want to go to the homepage and I really get annoyed when I visit a site, click on the logo, and find out that it wasn’t linked.

      BTW, thanks for the compliments and definitely shoot me a link to your portfolio once it has been redesigned.

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  33. 73

    I love it Jad, this looks great. I like the cleaner, simpler approach to the design, and I think you’ve achieved that quite well.

    I love the ruler idea in the sidebar – a nice touch!

    Well done, and I look forward to seeing DI keep growing.

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  34. 75

    Jad, I did a quick scan of your layout, and there are some improvements. If I could direct your attention to the top most navigation, why not make the icons turn white as you rollover them for consistency? I also think the “Search Here” color is too light against the light background. It should be a darker color so it’s easily seen. A search box, I think is one of the most used features in a website besides the back button.

    The “Submit Comment” at first glance doesn’t appear to be a button but a graphic, so I think it’d be wise to turn that into a button. Read up conventions and behavior patterns of people that use websites because that could help you design better UI by making most of the elements self-evident. I may be off-topic here, but there is a spectrum of users: A) Tech savvy people, B) Not-so tech savvy people, and C) The ones in between. We should design for the ones in-between, in my opinion.

    The footer is huge in my opinion, and I think “Popular Tags”, “Friends” and “Flickr” can go on the sidebar and utilize that space. Play around with that, and then organize what’s remaining in the footer. Do you really need the “Recommended Reading” description there? Just wondering :)

    This is all I have for now, and I’ll message you when I look at the site again. I also like the ruler on the sidebar! Good work!

    -n

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    • 76

      Yo Mr. Noel, thanks for the constructive criticism. Let me explain some of the reasons behind the issues you brought up.

      First of all, about the search, I didn’t really want it to stick out since according to my stats, not too many people use the search bar on DI, although I do agree that it maybe just a little bit too faded into the background.

      The submit button: I definitely understand what you are saying about designing for the in-between, but the audience of Design Informer is web and graphic designers, and most of them are already computer savvy and have no problem at all on figuring out that it’s a button. I’ve also received lots of compliments about the button and so I wanted to keep it. Plus, I had that button on the old design so I thought it was a good way to create a little bit of a tie to the old design. Hope that explains that! :)

      Lastly, about the footer, I wanted to put all that info in the footer for a reason. I want to have as minimal of a sidebar as possible so that when people are reading the content, then their eyes aren’t drawn to the sidebar and they aren’t distracted. Yes, the footer is quite big but I actually like it that way.

      Anyway, thank you for your comment and I am still doing testing at the moment so I may or may not change some things.

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  35. 77

    The new design looks great. Really clean layout that supports the user in reading the articles.

    Always cool to see someone take a site that was good and improve upon it. Kudos on being fearless and fixing something that wasn’t broken in order to make it even better.

    And I love the fat footer.

    Congrats Jad – keep up the great work.

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    • 78

      Hello Jeremy, hope your college class is doing well. How was their HTML/CSS project?

      Anyway, thank you for sharing your opinion of the design. I’m stoked that you liked the redesign, as well as my really fat footer. I agree with you, the site wasn’t broken but I really wanted to improve upon it.

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  36. 79

    Many cheers! Love the new design, very simple n yet intriguing! :)
    .-= Arjun Phlox´s latest Blog Entry – » What The Fab! – Flyfire =-.

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  37. 81

    Actually – one criticism – I would return to making the large visuals that support each post being anchors that lead to the full article. Those images are so visually inviting, that they just beg to be clicked to ‘read more’.

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    • 82

      That’s a great idea Jeremy. I had that on the old design but forgot to implement it on this new theme. I’ll change that soon!

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      • 83

        I seem to remember, originally, the images didn’t link on the old site. I know that because I always used to click them! Then, one day, they suddenly began to link, much to my delight.

        So of course, on the new design, when I wanted to read more I clicked on the big image once again!

        But seriously, those images are so well designed, I can’t be the only one who is inclined to click them instead of the article title or read more link!

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      • 84

        You are totally right Jeremy. I actually just asked Derek Herman, the PSDTuts WP guy and he gave the exact same comment. He told me to link the image to the post as well. Thanks, I’m definitely going to do that.

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  38. 85

    Nice job Jad. The entire design is clean and I like what you did with the footer. Keep up the great work!

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  39. 87

    Overall it is a very nice redesign. The header and footers are better. I miss the old sidebar headers, they were nice. The big fat submit comment button is nice, good to see you kept it.
    .-= Shanna Korby´s latest Blog Entry – Switching from Dreamweaver to WordPress =-.

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    • 88

      Hi Shanna, I feel you on the old sidebar headers. I really liked them as well, but they wouldn’t have matched the look and feel of this current design.

      Oh, and another point for the submit button. Glad that you like it. :)

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  40. 89

    Amazing redesign! I love it, and I love your description of the process. Very useful.
    .-= Miriam Schwab´s latest Blog Entry – Round-up non-profit expands micro-donation options to salaries =-.

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  41. 91

    It’s a perfect blend of breathable and useful. I love the wide open spaces and the footer is perfect! Now that the redesign is done, how about some more amazing content?

    It feels great to have the redesign live, doesn’t it? Keep up the great work!
    .-= Chris Thurman´s latest Blog Entry – 22 Dazzling Examples of Fire Photography =-.

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    • 92

      It definitely does feel good to have it live. Now, just have my fingers crossed hoping that there are no major errors/flaws that I might have missed.

      Glad I can finally get some sleep now. Well, maybe not, still have to write articles now. :)

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  42. 93

    I absolutely love it! Lots of open space, attention to detail and the footer is great. The typography is very easy to read as well. I have been looking forward to seeing this for sometime. Great job Jad and Alex!
    .-= Shawn Ramsey´s latest Blog Entry – 200+ Seamless Grunge Patterns For Designers =-.

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  43. 95

    Fantastic redesign Jad. There is full of purpose and direction in this new concept that you have so masterfully pulled off. I too understand the pains and deliberations involved in re-designing a blog site, as I reach the final stages of that process for my own.

    For me the most beautiful (albeit unique) part of this website is the footer. It engulfs the reader into a whole new experience. I also love the attention to detail. Design Informer has always been about clarity, consistency and 100% pure hard work, and you’ve certainly managed to showcase that here.

    Awesome work!
    .-= Josh´s latest Blog Entry – Content-Driven Design – Let’s Throw out Tradition =-.

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  44. 98

    The new design looks wonderful! I really like the simplistic, content focused design. Well done!

    Although, I agree with nOel in regards to two of his points:
    – Top navigation; why not make the icons turn white as you rollover them for consistency?
    – And the footer feels huge.

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  45. 100

    The design is great. Awesome rulerpattern, smooth navigation and my favorite is the mega footer.
    .-= Melvin José´s latest Blog Entry – Screencast: Form Validation Using the jQuery Validation Plugin =-.

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    • 101

      Another person who likes the footer? Thanks!

      It seems that everyone is torn about the footer. Some people love the huge footer and some people think it’s too big. :D

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  46. 102

    Great re-design, despite what some may think it’s never to early to re-design…

    I liked the old design but this one is very good, clean, simple, and intuitive, I agree CONTENT is king and design is in the subtleties…

    Also, great post on the re-design, its always nice to see the design process and what the designer had to go through to get there.

    keep it up!

    -digibomb
    .-= digibomb´s latest Blog Entry – Customizing the WordPress Dashboard =-.

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  47. 104

    I feel that you completely nailed your objectives. Aside from numbers, the site has grown in other ways in the short 3 months. Your original design got my attention and led me to check out your content. Now, I’m regularly reading your content (and it is in the Smashing Network), so it is good for the design to step out of the way.

    I was completely drawn to the post image and read all the way down through.

    You asked for direct feedback, so here we go:

    Header: The actual header is great, the subtle city adds detail, the spacing is good and the rollover adds a nice touch.

    Nav: Something is off about the nav. The contrast seems off at the top and there needs to be a bit more contrast for the secondary nav below the header. I don’t have a direct recommendation and I know it would be tough to increase their contrast and not pull away from the content.

    Sidebar: The content in the side bar is spot on. I personally don’t have the issue with separating it from the post, but that seems to be popular feedback. You may want to play with a slightly darker background. (The ruler is a great touch).

    Post Footer: I love the look of the author, ad space, looking for more and sharing sections. For flow purposes, I would recommend swapping the “looking for more” and “sharing” sections. Sharing is directly related to the post, while “looking for more” is more related to the blog itself. That argument could actually call for “looking for more” to come underneath the comments, but I think it’s better served above it.

    Blog Footer: It rocks. The contrast is awesome and the dark background is refreshing after the lightly colored content space. My only hang up is still the blue/black contrast for the main nav. It flows much better wedged between the dark blue and the black backgrounds, but it still seems a bit off from the rest of the design to me.

    All in all, it’s a great redesign and I’m impressed that you are adapting the look to the content and attention so quickly.

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    • 105

      Hello Dan, I really appreciate you replying to my request about leaving your feedback on the redesign. I really admire the fact that you took your time and wrote what you really think about the redesign in detail.

      I really agree with you on the category navigation. It’s really something that I’m still trying to find a solution for and will continue to do so.

      About the sidebar, I don’t have a problem with it as well, but if I get more people who have issues with it, I’ll definitely have to reconsider it.

      Again, thanks for the compliments. It means a lot! :D

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  48. 106

    Excellent redesign. Love it. Content certainly is king in this design and I agree that the old design had too much focus on the header area and now the focus is the content. Awesome job!

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  49. 108

    Great job Jad. I was a fan of the old design, but you really though this redesign out well from all angles.
    Keep up the great work.
    .-= Lee Gustin´s latest Blog Entry – Love Is All Around Us =-.

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  50. 110

    Great re-design Jad. It looks much better than the old one. I always love clean design, so this one is my favorite now. Congratulation to the fast growing of Design Informer!

    Keep up the awesome work!
    .-= Lam Nguyen´s latest Blog Entry – Learning jQuery: Your First jQuery Plugin, “BubbleUP” =-.

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