[via Cosmo Magazine]
I've fiddled and whittled, and I think the format you see here is what it comes down to.
I am very grateful for each of your comments, and I hope you enjoy the new version as much as I am, so far.
That being said, I'm always open to suggestions. If there's something about this layout that doesn't work for you, I am eager to hear it. Whether it's a technical spec like browser or readability issues, or an aesthetic one, like where things go and how they strike you on a gut level, please let me know below.
Likewise, it would be nice to know if you think it's an improvement.
Carolyn wrote in with a lot of good questions and ideas.
May I start with some asking?: What is your goal in changing the design of your blog? Did you feel like it wasn't working with the old look and layout? What about it wasn't working? What was?What I liked about the old site was that it reflected me -- colorful, irreverent, a little quirky. That's still me, but recently I've been craving simplicity, too. Vanilla, sure, but not plain vanilla. Vanilla mint, or some such slightly spicy undertone.
Practically, there were some features I wanted to introduce (see the Ask-o-logy recap on the left, and the Hot Links on the right), and this redesign gives me an opportunity to integrate them -- and point them out to you, now. So: Ask-o-logy has links to that month of analysis I did after the year of asking was over. And Hot Links will send you to cool stories, blog posts and other items I come across and want to point out ASAP.
I hope the new layout is as easy to use as it is useful. On the left sidebar are features that point inward, so to speak: archives, the ask-o-logy analysis, and categories. On the right are features that point out: links to other sites, social media and commenting tools.
One thing I've been contemplating is the practice of gendering blog layouts. Looking at prefab templates and studying what else is out there, I was amused (okay not really) by all the "female" and "woman" themed templates out there. Just like you can design a blog to have a certain color scheme or look, you can pick templates that have certain labels, like "music," "pets," "e-commerce" and the like. Interestingly, there are no "man" or "male" templates. So if you're a man, you can opt for themes like "cars" or "business," but if you're a woman you get special templates with soft fonts, pinks and purples, and flowers and/or unicorns? Perfect for writing your cute little musings.
(I'd be curious to find out what the editors of Sociological Images have to say about blog design -- hey, maybe I'll ask them what their take is!)
In any case, I did consider going for a more gender neutral style. Something along the lines of Problogger or Feministe. Pert. Professional. Cool. But I can't deny that my aesthetic tendencies lean decidedly toward the "feminine." I love this combo of black and bordeaux. I like serif fonts and sans serif.
I seek raises and raspberries.
I have strong aversions to institutional discrimination and slimy insects.
I love taking risks -- and, occasionally, bubble baths.
And anyone who has a problem with that can kiss my ask.
So, does the new page design convey all that? ;)