This Site's Design

  • Last updated: July 27, 2014

This site is powered by WordPress and uses a custom HTML5/CSS3 compliant theme. The goal is to focus on readability with a simple, classic gray-scale look. A blog's purpose is to serve primarily text content, so there's no excuse for it to be bulky or slow. JavaScript and cookie use is minimal and there are no ads. I try to keep the site's performance at an equivalent grade A on page speed tests like Google PageSpeed and YSlow.

Design

In my normal fashion, I've put tremendous amounts of attention into the theme's details; even if doesn't look impressive, many hours went into iterating countless versions of it. I've spent a lot of time agonizing over detailed shades of gray and exact pixel values. I'm not a UI/UX expert, so this doesn't mean that the design is very good, but it does reflect what I like in a design.

I have a few design preferences that I always include in my theme.

  • Gray-scale color scheme

    Personally, I like gray color schemes. It's simple, classic, and doesn't distract the reader. I think a good gray-scale theme should only mildly catch the user's attention while they're looking at it, make the content painless to digest, and be easily forgotten once they leave.

  • Sharp corners

    While rounded corners have a place, I really dislike excessive use of them. I tend to avoid using rounded corners unless sharp edges are actually a bad choice.

  • No user comments

    Over the years I've noticed that very few blog comments extend the original content content. Occasionally a comment will extend, complement, or correct the article, but it's the exception. Most comments are arguments over things the author didn't say, marginally related technical support difficulties, unqualified criticism that's indistinguishable from flame-bait, and the such. Rather than moderate all comments and only allow a fraction of them, I don't allow them by default and only enable them for specific posts. While it may not be the the prevailing style, it keeps things much cleaner. I'm certainly not alone in this opinion.

Site Engine

My site is powered by WordPress, primarily because it's relatively simple and I'm familiar with it. I host the site on a VPS from Digital Ocean running a custom-configured Ubuntu LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP) stack.

Alternative Themes

I have a few themes available for my site; generally the only difference between them is the stylesheet. The default theme is the only one I vouch for, the others are primarily for experimentation and testing. I make no guarantees about their quality or readiness for the public eye, but you are free to use whichever you prefer. Using a non-default theme requires cookies to be enabled. Choose a theme from the following list:

  • Default: [ Use | Preview ] - The default theme. (Clears the theme cookie.)
  • Staging: [ Use | Preview ] - Planned changes that I haven't committed to yet. This is often the upcoming changes to the site, if I'm working on any.
  • Experimental: [ Use | Preview ] - Experimental design that I'm messing around with, if any.