Redesigning the Relaunch

“The Wall Paper Journal”

It’s only been a couple of month since the relaunch of cssence.com went online. In such a short amount of time I would’ve expected to advance with subtle changes, if any. And here I am today, releasing a noticeable visual overhaul, with additional emphasize on the CSS wallpaper I’ve blogged about. Those article thumbnail images I’ve used as a full-width background, that I’ve even blurred with a CSS filter, to avoid their high-res counterparts? They are gone to make way for the wallpaper, as this is now a recurring theme, present on almost every page.

The Wallpaper pattern can also be found in thumbnail images.
The CSS wallpaper comes with color and icon resembling the section an article belongs to. It goes without saying that the site uses no images to achieve this, only markup.

Starting with the October 2015 relaunch, where I went from blog-only to a full-fledged #indieweb hub, the home page delivered descriptions of all the sections found on the site, including links to the three most recent articles per section. Presumably just mildly annoying for first-timers, that type of home page made little sense for returning visitors who wanted to jump between the pages quickly.

After navigating to a section you’ve found yourself on overview pages that were a quick-fix to begin with. Back then, they stood in the way of going live, so I just pieced together a list of links with some more-to-come information, with a reminder in the back of my head that I have to take care of this later.

Sure enough, most people are probably bypassing those overview pages and the home page altogether, as many get to my articles by clicking on a deep link on another site, most likely a referral from a search engine or Twitter. In any event, I thought there is a lot of room for improvement.

Fresh look, and more

While I’ve decided to keep descriptions of the sections on the home page, they are now stacked horizontally and take up minimal space. On top of the aforementioned (now consistent) wallpaper theme, the two most important added features are:

  • A timeline, where the articles from all sections happily share a single stream, most recent first. Kind of a no-brainer on a home page, but not present after the initial relaunch, where articles where bound to their sections.
  • Special teasers for selected articles, including the thumbnail of each article. Sure, this makes the pages a bit heavier, but that’s what you get when adding images.

Second time is the charm

Looking back, that relaunch end of last year — despite major design changes — was all about the technical aspects and content strategy. On top of that, it brought me back on the blogging track. Today however I ended up with the real design for my site, the one I feel comfortable with.

Enjoy.