Two recent redesigns reflect some of the design ideas I’ve been experimenting, offline, with. The first is Dunstan Orchard’s subtle, yet tremendous, new design for his blog and its use of both a page gutter and a sidebar containing one of three key navigational elements. The latter potentially creates a simple, non-intrusive personalization feature: if I want to see his blogmarks, and not his main navigation by default, I’d select that sidebar to load by default (it doesn’t seem to now).
Unlike Dunstan’s redesign, which seems to primarily target the user interface and information architecture, Andrei Herasimchuk’s new Design By Fire is a re-imagining.
Andrei’s design is a designer’s design which seems meant for a big display — although its default width is only 100 or so pixels wider than Dunstan’s — and my default browsing width does not do it justice. What he has done nicely, along with the ample use of white space, is remove the comments from the main entry. Unlike others, though, he’s kept the comments on the same page, but floated to them to the right of the main article. As he points out, it helps reduce the page length, but it also serves to reinforce the independence of the main piece. The subtle shift returns comments to just that: commentary on the main piece, not as a living addition to the main article. To combat complaints about having to
scroll back up to read them, they could be set to position: fixed.
Both reflect strong print (specifically magazine) influences, and this may be the next big trend — especially if multi-columns become a reality.
Although I’ve worked none of these into the current working design, I anticapte this site’s new look will incorporate my experiments with these ideas.