Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Redesigning the Blog

This blog was redesigned about a week ago and a poll was administered to see how well it was received:

With 3 hours left, I guess no one else is going to vote, so I'm getting started on this entry earlier.

Anyway, with a vote of 18 to 15, this new design STAYS.

Wh-wh-what?? Has Dannie gone bonkers again? Travel too much cannot count, maybe? Nah... Dannie's still sane. Or rather, Dannie hasn't gotten any crazier.

Since the wife and I contribute to the content, we represent the those who said content is more important. That adds 6 to the Yeses, making a total of 18! Simple maths, right? Bwahahahaaha!

Anyway, the decision to redesign did not come lightly. We wanted a new template that would
1) allow us to inject a little more personalisation in the design
2) give us more leeway for customisation
3) make better use of space
4) allow my good friend Roy and his colleagues to 'eat snake' more comfortably in the office (since their office blocks images from Photobucket.com, it was very difficult for them to read our entries)

More Personalisation
So, now we have a banner that has our faces on it. That's a very obvious bit of personalisation right there. After all, if you search for Blogger templates with a travel theme, you would almost certainly end up choosing what we were using before. We've been lucky in the sense that most people don't seem to have travel blogs, and unlucky in the sense that those who DO have travel blogs either have the money to get it professionally done, or the pull to get it done FOC.

That means I was stuck reading Blogger Buster to learn how to customise the standard Blogger template from scratch. Good thing the instructions are pretty easy to understand though!

More Customisation
While the new design is not as sophisticated as the previous, at least I can change banners, font and font sizes, colors and pretty much anything else, to suit my tastes.

The old design used a series of images to form borders and dividers, and you really couldn't do anything too outrageous or it would screw up the alignment.

That being said, feel free to let me know your thoughts. You think something on the sidebar should be moved up? Let me know! After all, after being on the road for so long, any interaction with those back home is welcome!

Better Use of Space
Actually, this can come under customisation, but I decided to have a separate heading for this. Our travel blog relies heavily on images, and it's just not shiok to see the images constrained to that little space when there's so much more available. I have widened the main posts area and sidebar from a total of 660px to 950px, a 44% increase in the display area! This means posts where you don't have to scroll as much (so you can don't tire your finger before you start working) and you get bigger and better pictures too!

For Roy and colleagues
Roy was my Best Man. And now he's our Top Commentator. So when he said we needed some improvements to make our blog more readable, well, we just can't say no, right?

Anyway, it was really fun re-looking at new widgets and tips to make this blog better.
Kudos to the following websites that were super useful to me:

Blogger Buster:
- For showing how to customise a Blogger template from scratch, including widening the display space and adding a 3-column footer

- For simple instructions on how to fit in the new header banner

Colour Scheme Designer:
- Because I have a very poor sense of colours. Using this website help me realise what colours go with what. Otherwise, the colour scheme would have been truly riotious!

Free Favicon:
- You may have noticed that our blog now has a new icon in the tab that you opened it in. This is where we got the instructions from!

Blogger Plugins:
- For the Top Commentators widget, and for sparing the time to troubleshoot the filtering function!

Blogger Stop:
- For the Translator widget

Blogger Tricks:
- For the very neat Recent Posts widget

- For a Twitter widget that looks nice, and can stream 2 different Twitter accounts onto the same blog

- For the Recent Comments widget

These are all great sites to get info from. If you ever want to build your own Blogger site, do check them out!


Ada said...

Hey this layout works better for me too! Seems easier to navigate around.
Happy National Day!

WeLoveRoy said...


Dannie said...

@Ada Wow! I had no idea you were following our blog too! Good to see you with us!

@Roy No problemo dude :)

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