Soft-launched: redesigned choycedesign.com!

If you’ve stopped by in the past week or so, you might have noticed a few (well, many) changes. I’ve redesigned my site!

First, some quick insight into why. I’d been thinking about redesigning for a few months, but couldn’t decide on whether or not I wanted to completely redesign, or just refresh. My old site was static — it started out just html, then got a small upgrade when I learned a little php. That worked okay, but it made updating my portfolio kind of a pain. I eventually wanted to move my design-oriented tumblr directly onto my site, so I ended up setting up WordPress on a subdomain. However, this meant that even though I was keeping my blog on-site, there was a visual change between my main site and my blog (since I decided to use twentyeleven and keep it mostly unchanged).

Well, with WordPress comes bliss and ease and all of those wonderful things. It was inevitable that I would move my whole site onto WordPress. Once I realized this, I debating whether or not to just convert what I had to a WP theme and call it a day, or make some changes. My old site was feeling a little monotonous, so I tried some simple refreshes in Photoshop. Nothing looked right. I got frustrated. I tried something new. It didn’t look right. I got frustrated.

Finally, I managed to design something I liked. Then I sat on it for a few weeks. The more I looked at it, the more I wanted to simplify it. I tried an interior, scrapped it. Tried another interior, scrapped that one as well. I looked back at the homepage, and realized, did I really need that much text? I’m not much of a text-person. I don’t really blog all that often. Are my tweets even relevant?

So, I decided to cut it down. I cut it down so much, I ended up with just a catchphrase. There was something really simple about it that really pleased me, so I ran with it. It was around that point that I realized I wasn’t going to get much further in Photoshop, so I decided to jump head-first into designing it in-browser as I went along.

It worked out okay for me. I started with the _s WordPress theme, but ended up getting a little lost (I’m not much of a developer). I’m pretty comfortable and familiar with Toolbox, so I switched over to that and really got rolling. Interiors came pretty naturally from there. Things probably aren’t as cohesive as they would have been had I done it all in Photoshop, but I really need to just do it, or else I wasn’t going to do it at all. I had some fun trying out new things, such as Isotope and Lettering.js. Lettering.js was especially nice, since Chaparral had some pretty horrendous default kerning.

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my results. I wanted something simple and clean, and I think that I’ve mostly managed to achieve that. It’s still a work-in-progress, of course. A few things I have left on my list to complete:

  • Responsiveness. I know in my head how it will respond to difference browser sizes, just need to get it down in code.
  • Decreasing FOUT
  • Fixing some colorbox/isotope compatibility issues on my portfolio page… colorbox shows all images in a gallery by default, even if they’re hidden, so I need to fix that so it only cycles through filtered results.

Thanks are also in order for a specific awesome person who helped me out. Thanks, Kelly Dwan, for being my dev support and helping me integrate Isotope with WordPress. You’re a champ. Seriously.

Anyway, if anyone sees anything odd or things something I’ve done is awkward/looks bad/can be improve, let me know. Iteration is a healthy thing.

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