Excuse the mess while we release a new look.
UPDATE (10 Feb 2007): All done! Well, mostly. There’s a little minor tweaking here and there, but it’s done for the most part. There’s even a custom stylesheet for IE users so they can view the site in roughly the same way as the rest of us.
What prompted this redesign was the desire to move the ads out of the sidebar. I needed to keep them (I use them to help pay for server costs), but the sidebar was too long and it was difficult to find things. While doing research on my options, I came across several other sites who simply put the ads in a separate column.
The more I thought about creating two sidebars, the more I started thinking about redesigning the site. I didn’t want to make the double sidebars too prominent because I didn’t want to take focus away from the content.
As I kept churning it in my mind and thought about keeping focus on the content, I wanted to have a redesign that put more focus on the content and less on the design. It wasn’t long before I started finding myself drawn to newspapers for inspiration.
I found newspapers to be the ideal source of inspiration because they are all about displaying information. I didn’t want the blog looking like a newspaper because it’s something different, but I certainly wanted that influence showing through.
I also wanted to keep some elements that gave a nod to the previous design and the Canadianness of the blog. I think I did that with the leafs and the heading colours. It was pretty obvious before with the masthead and the vibrant background, but this design is more effective. The Canadianness is still present; it’s visible and perhaps even clearer.
Like I said, I have a bit of minor tweaking to do here and there as I finish up my study of other newspapers.
In the meantime, I would be interested in all opinions about the new design. Please don’t just say “good” or “bad”. Give me some qualitative feedback.