Monday, July 07, 2008

"mind × the + gap" overhauled (July '08)

AFTER SPENDING NEARLY 6 MONTHS under the old 'skin', I thought it was almost time to give "Mind the Gap" an overhaul in look-and-feel. And trust me, it turned out to be a worthwhile and satisfying weekend indeed: Loading up Photoshop for 'grafix' on one hand and coding/debugging xHTML, css, js, and the whole of tech jargon on the other. Almost reliving the time ten years ago, the dot-com boom, and designing, developing and coding of websites with a passion of a rather naive young rookie, just "out-of-the-box" programmer!

It was annoying to some degree that Google has most of its products and services under Beta - and they never seem to move out of wrappers. You hardly see any changes or progress. In specifics, I was not happy at all with the tiny collection of templates that are available by default with the Blogger system (have you ever visited any of those beautiful WordPress or LiveJournal pages of your friends (or competition) that left you with the impression that they must be maintaining their own full-fledged websites?)

So, I did try the competition, and in the process I had the revelation *why* I loved over any other blog publishing software - Blogger gives you much more control and flexibility over your stuff (WordPress, for example, doesn't allow you to add even a simple hit-counter of your choice to your blog there! Sham!).

And, perhaps more importantly, add to that the default 'parenting' by Google to list you among its search indices. After all, everybody likes to be *counted*, be it vanity hit-counts...

Having said that, at the end it is all about usability of the system, usefulness of the info, and the presentation and end-user (you!) experience. Well, I hope this new avtar is as enjoyable as the old one. (Those couple of known bugs that there are, that I would be fixing really soon.) From software/system usability perspective, some of the elements that I liked in the new design in particular are:
  • the neat menu system in the left nav bar (a typical WP feature called 'pages')
  • more spread-out font-system that reduces the clutter
  • a two-column layout that I prefer - with navigations on the left, better space-utilization - it doesn't misleadingly increase the 'length' of my posts - something that I am particularly sensitive about
  • manages to do so in less than 800px width
  • gives me enough space around images and video for captions and notes
  • follows the same brown-background colour-theme that I chose with the previous template...

The base code of this new skin is from a WP theme, which I downloaded from (Thank you, Jacky.). The theme was originally coded by Web-Kreation for WP. Following are my recommendations to spice up your life (read: blog) too ;-):

All the best!

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