The Thinking Blog Re-Designed! | The Thinking Blog ~ Knowledge Grows When Shared
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04 August 2007

The Thinking Blog Re-Designed!

As I mentioned before, design for me is an ongoing process. There were two things about The Thinking Blog I had in my "To Do" list. First thing was the logo. It was simply not clear enough. Second thing was the code. Somethings were not loading fast enough but the small amount of tweaking needed turned out to a huge revision nightmare. That is the reason why it took me longer to clean up the code than I anticipated. So, what's new?

1. Logo: I had some great crap ideas, major brainstorming sessions and some brainbusting sessions. Though most seemed like a good idea on paper, only few could actually be applied in practice and still make a good logo to define the blog. Among the ideas I had was "fork on a brain" - where the fork was just random fun (I thought about this while eating dinner one night). Another one was a power cord "powering" the brain (yeah, but it looks more like electrocution than anything else). So it was like brain, brain, brain until one day it struck me - another icon that associates with thinking was the light bulb. When I found a good way to use it as the logo it was a "Eureka" moment. Here is a more detailed look at the finished logo:

(The resolution is high enough to be used as a 1024x768 sized wallpaper)

Finally, there was light and The Thinking Blog now has a new identity along with a new tagline: Power Your Brain!

2. Pages: Many suggested that it wasn't too easy to find a way to contact me via email or that I didn't have an about page for the new visitors to look at and find out what the fudge this thing is all about. As you can see from the top navigation bar, there are four new pages added to the site. They are:
  • Popular is where you can find the most popular posts (updated monthly) according to the number of comments,
  • Endorse is where you can give back a little for the time and effort I’ve put into this site,
  • About is where you can find more about The Thinking Blog and what's it about,
  • Contact is where you could reach me for tips, bugs, ads and anything else.
Minor updates are still ongoing with some of these pages so please comment if you have any suggestions for improvement.

3. Code: The majority of the work done in this end was to create a faster page load time. This required eliminating unnecessary scripts, widgets and other items that were unlikely to be used as well as compressing the graphics of the design. Over the past months I have gathered quite some experience with what works and what doesn’t. Here is the comparison of file sizes that are loaded with the old design and the new one:
  • Scripts - OLD: 149Kb, NEW: 12Kb, Difference: 137Kb.
  • Images - OLD: 111Kb, NEW: 21Kb, Difference: 90Kb.
  • Codes - OLD: 44Kb, NEW: 42Kb, Difference: 2Kb.
That is a total of 229 kilobytes saved but there is still room for more optimization. The site also has a cleaner, simple, and uncluttered look while still being intuitive to navigate.

The template works for almost all resolutions including the rare 800x600! I also wanted to improve compatibility with the different types of internet browsers out there. As far as I'm currently aware of, these are the browsers that are now compatible:
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Internet Explorer 5.5, 6 and 7
  • Opera
There seems to be a problem with the top navigation bar being displayed in Safari that needs a tweak before it could be added to the list of compatible. I've tried fixing it but I can't seem to locate the origin of the bug. If anyone could help me out with this one and also give me a heads-up on other bugs, I would be really grateful. Once I get the template to fully work in all the browsers that you most of you use then I will try to take on more of a perfectionist goal and validate it - I'm not sure what that really means since I'm not a coding ninja but I hope you do!

Last but not least, I would like to thank all my friends who provided feedback: Aysun, Pearl, AgentSully, Justin, Kurt, Bob, Liz, Ahmed, Francesco, Jeremy, Efendi, Michael, Benedikt, Phil, Brian, Brohans, Susan, Shankar, Kiltak, Jihan, Halil and Wayne Smallman from Octane Interactive.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention another good news: I'm back at delivering your daily dose of fuel power to keep thinking!

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