I’ve been quiet for a few weeks. That only happens for one of two reasons, and this time it’s been because we’ve been working on a lot of projects.
We’re always working on a lot of projects, but, this time, I decided that it was better for us to focus on handling the cascading sliding project effect rather than continuing to half-get things done. The cascading sliding project effect is simply when one project gets delayed, which delays another project, until you reach a point in which you’re constantly just adjusting plans and ship dates.
Yes, you know that effect all too well. 🙂
One of the major projects that’s now finished is the ground-up redesign for this website. I’m picky about design, and I’m quite proud of it.
When I talked to Lisa about the changes I wanted, I expressed a few key objectives:
I wanted to use the Thesis theme, but I didn’t want it to look like Thesis.
Thesis is a brilliant theme, and I love Chris’s SEO focus. As it’s advanced and gotten more popular, it’s reached a point to where I can tell within the first half-second that it’s a Thesis website. I wanted a new look, but I didn’t want a spiffy new website whose backend I had to learn all over again. Lisa did a great job of showing what you can do with Thesis if you have the right skills.
It had to be easy to reconfigure.
This was another reason I wanted to use Thesis. I know my way around the engine enough to change some CSS code to get a different effect.
I change pages and design elements pretty frequently, so we had a lot of talks about a platform that I could swap things out in pretty quickly.
It was time for a dedicated Welcome page.
I’ve been blessed to get a lot of traffic go straight to the home page, and the scope of this website reached a point to where it was increasingly harder for new visitors to find their way around. Additionally, I anticipate more new visitors due to some of the other projects I’m working on, so it was important that we provide an adequate welcome mat for them.
I won’t bore you with the details of what we did and why we did it that way, but the short story is that we didn’t want to create a welcome page that didn’t welcome people. I’m sure you’ve seen those welcome pages that you hit and you still have no idea what’s going on or what to do.
I wanted to enhance the current branding rather than completely change the way things felt.
One of the first bits of feedback that we got from Pamela Wilson on Facebook was “Lisa managed make all those improvements, yet she retained the feel and vibe from your previous site, so return visitors won’t get confused and think they’ve landed in the wrong place.” I loved her comment because that was precisely what we wanted to do.
One of the dynamics of the Productive Flourishing brand is an intentional simplicity. When Lisa showed me the original design – especially the welcome page – I was so happy that she nailed.
Though the actual development of this new design has taken a couple of months, there are a few years of incubation on how I wanted things to be presented. That said, almost all of the aesthetic appeal is Lisa’s doing. I was reminded throughout this process that I cognize colors last – I’m all about the structures, pathways, and canvases. I think that made for a great collaboration.
So, what do you think? Do you like it?
The design is wonderful; especially as I’m thinking about setting up a site using thesis, I was particularly interested in what you’ve done with it. One thing though – the ‘get the newsletter’ box top right looks horribly broken:
I get this in chrome or IE on windows..
Keep up the good work though!
Hi John – Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you’re seeing on your end. We certainly appreciate knowing when something looks wonky for someone. Try clearing your cache and hopefully that will fix it! If not, please be sure to let me know. 🙂
That did it! thanks for the tip – the site looks great!
Rachael Acklin says
It’s my designer’s opinion that this new design is PERFECT for you and for us, your target audience. Well done in creating a space that’s warm, inviting, and feels like home.
Barak Rosenbloom (TimeNative) says
Well done Charlie and Lisa!
The home page is fantastic — welcome, clear, and informative. We’re clearing up a cascading sliding project issue (I love that concept), which will get us to be able to focus fully on the site development phase. I’m adding this to the list of sites to talk through with our developer.
Charlie, the site looks great and is easy to move around! This year it is one of my plans to get some work done on my Thesis site because, well, it looks like Thesis and I am one of the most non-technical people you will meet!
Lisa Firke says
Thanks for the kind mention!
The new site is exactly right. Everything in its place, all the parts harmonious–terrific job!
Vlad Dolezal says
I’ve been thinking of giving my own blog a face-lift ever since Aliventures got a new design a few months back too. I think it’s time for me to jump on the professional-design bandwagon and join the big boys 🙂
Pamela Wilson says
Charlie, you were smart to retain the feel of the visual brand you’d already established. Many people approach a redesign as a “re-imagining” of their visual appearance. They start over, and all that recognition they worked so hard to build gets discarded. It’s such a waste.
This is a beautiful, subtle design that builds on the best of the previous site. Congratulations for pulling it off with class!
Lexi Rodrigo says
Good job, Lisa and Charlie! The site looks familiar and yet it’s also more polished. So the experience isn’t jarring for those of us who’ve been reading your blog. It’s simply… more beautiful. Congratulations on the new look!