Check out my new blog design 'pivot'

As you’ll (hopefully) notice, this blog has had a small design change in the last day. I’ve been very happy to have trialled the new service ThemePivot, from Ned and the guys at Native Digital. I’ll go in to more detail about how I found the service and some ideas I have about it in another post shortly. For now, what are your thoughts on the new site?

I’ve decided to move in this direction for a few reasons.

1) Move towards a more mobile friendly design

I wrote a post a while ago about designing for mobile first. Unfortunately, my own site didn’t live up to this (!) and so I wanted to begin moving in that direction.

Having a block bar at the top of the site with a reduced masthead will help it fit into a mobile brower when the time comes to do a more indepth refresh. I’ve always liked the design that Vimeo has come up with; both on their old web app, new web app and in their mobile site. For context, the mobile site looks like this.

Vimeo

2) Adding a more prominent subscription bar

Derek Winter once asked me, some 4 years ago, why he couldn’t subscribe to my blog via email. The old template I used to have didn’t allow for it and I had botched a few things on the backend. In the latest refresh to the design last year, we rectified a lot of this with adding the ability for people to subscribe to the blog via email. We used Mailchimp for this, which is awesome. However, the design has really hidden a lot of this. Many people have been surprised when I tell them that they can click the red mail icon to subscribe by email.

So, to rectify this, we’ve added an email subscribe bar which is very obvious up the top of the page. The masthead and the subscription bar will also scroll with you as you head down the page. So, for the first time I can now formally encourage you to subscribe if you’d like to receive my posts in your inbox.🙂

And that’s really it. I’m looking forward to how the new design works out and what comes from it. Let me know what you think!🙂

17 thoughts on “Check out my new blog design 'pivot'”

  1. Hi Steve, here’s my thought. Really love your writing, but I think your blog (and perhaps this is a deeper structural issue than just the theme) makes it hard to find your older posts. Right now when I go to the root of your blog, I see your latest article, a list of related articles (which could be quite old), and a link to the previous article. Are the others hidden somewhere? I think exposing this content would be even more valuable as you pick up the pace of the posting in March. Anyway, hope this is useful feedback🙂

    1. Hey Tim, thanks for the great comment. I couldn’t agree more. The blog does have some fairly large issues on a number of fronts. One of those is the finding old content, which has come through really strongly in the comments on this post. I didn’t realise it was such an issue, so will look at how I change that in the next pivot. 

      You’re right also that I think the issues are probably deeper but unfortunately I don’t understad it well enough to ‘know what I don’t know’. It’s on wordpress.org at the moment and I’d prefer to keep it there, but think I need to find some way to clean it up a fair bit.  

      I’m keen to hear your thoughts about how I might be able to expose the content. Care to share any more tips about how I might make that happen?

      Thanks Tim. I really appreciate the comment :) 

  2. Hey Steve, agree with Tom. Have had the same issue when wanting to flick someone a link from a past post of yours.

    Also, am curious as to why you don’t have any social media share buttons (aside from twitter on this comment box). Given how active most of us are on teh social mediaz, wouldn’t adding a few buttons give other folk out their the opportunity to see the great stuff you’re doing…? #mytwocents

    1. Oh just noticed that if you click on the like❤ it brings up the disqus option for facebook and twitter. Would be interested to see the difference if you switched to more standard looking share buttons for a month or so. Have a feeling it's similar to the experience some readers were having with your subscribe function.

      1. Thanks David, I agree. Like I mention in the post, I was shooting for a Vimeo style design and we didn’t make the icons stick. I’m not 100% i’ll add them back just yet, but am keen to explore what that might look like. Any sites you frequent that do it well? 

  3. I’m also having a problem with the subscribe box. I’ve subscribed with Google Reader, and this box is taking up most of your text. Have a look at the picture.

    1. Thanks Alex, yup a few others have seen this too. It seems to be a bug which the guys at ThemePivot are aware of. Hopefully we can sort it out soon. 

      As a quick hack, it seems to disappear if you refresh the browser. 

  4. Thanks everyone for the comments. The next pivots may be something along the line of tweaking the theme to help with finding older content, or adding some social media buttons. 

    The old content would seem to be the biggest pain point at the moment.

    At some point, I’ll also need to do a more serious redesign/restructure of the blog but that probably won’t be for a few months yet – or even more. 

  5. Like the updated header on Desktop, but don’t like what it’s done for mobile. The reading space is dramatically reduced (especially with the email address bar). With a few lines of CSS (similar to what I sent you) you can make a good step towards supporting small screen devices.

    1. Ah, I hadn’t actually thought of how it would reduce the reading space. Good point. I haven’t seen the lines of CSS in my inboxes – care to send them again?🙂
      Thanks man!

    2. Ah, I hadn’t actually thought of how it would reduce the reading space. Good point. I haven’t seen the lines of CSS in my inboxes – care to send them again?🙂
      Thanks man!

  6. Yup, I need to get better at this. I might knock up a very rough page myself and post the more popular posts (according to me/analytics) and then a basic list of posts from the last yet or so.
    I’ll ping you when thats up for feedback🙂

      1. Thanks Pete! Glad you liked it. I think we’ll do this for sure next. I’m also thinking that I’ll make the homepage have multiple posts on it, which people can click into to read more. 

  7. Yup, I need to get better at this. I might knock up a very rough page myself and post the more popular posts (according to me/analytics) and then a basic list of posts from the last yet or so.
    I’ll ping you when thats up for feedback🙂

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