My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

New design

It’s been over four years since my previous major redesign, and two years since any major tweaks to my website’s layout. This latest redesign began life as a series of minor tweaks designed—it always seems like there are rough edges. As I got a better grasp of what I didn’t like about the design and what I wanted to do with it, the project grew slightly more in scope. Still, I’m pleased with how quickly it all coalesced into the finished product.

This latest design (version 5.0, I think) has been an opportunity to educate myself and play with some of the latest techniques. CSS3 has been around for a long time now, but cross-browser support has finally reached a point where all those cool new properties and selectors seem feasible! I’ve made liberal use of background-size and box-shadow. I’ve also jumped on the responsive design bandwagon, using media queries to progressively enhance the site design based on the width of the browser (and a few other attributes). I’ve embarked on a similar odyssey of education when it comes to new PHP 5.3 features and coding practices as I work on yet another incarnation of blogging software.

There isn’t much to see in the way of new content with the new design. The homepage now shows teasers from my 6 most recent book reviews, instead of the cover images from my 15 most recently read books. Similarly, I’ve replaced the thumbnails of my Flickr photos with a nifty carousel. The reading portal has received the most changes: the first section is a review randomly selected from the site database, with the recent reviews widget eliminated in favour of what’s available on the homepage. This is a small step in expanding my use of my book reviews on my site. I import every review I post on Goodreads to my site, but a review is only accessible if it’s attached to a list. That should change soon!

My blog, however, will retain the old design for the time being. I’d rather spend the time it would take to tweak the blog template working on finishing an alpha of the new blog software.

Comments are still disabled for the time being, so if you have any feedback on the new design, let me know via Twitter or Facebook.