Site Redesign 2009

So, it’s finally here (and only three years after the idea first popped into my head! haha). The new site redesign for 2009 (looking suspiciously similar to the old site design, huh?)

kichijoji street scene

As you can see, structurally the site isn’t that different from the previous version. But many of the existing design elements were tweaked to meet the new goals which I set for the site. These goals include:

  • Updating more frequently. The addition of a tumbleblog allows for short, timely updates (every other day or so).
  • Posting more pictures. I’ve always had a surplus of pictures – the addition of the Picture of the Day ensures a constant stream of tasty new photos.
  • Focusing entries – free from having to cram three or four weeks worth of posting into one massive entry allows for concise and engaging entries without a ton of fluff.

kichijoji street scene

Despite the structural similarities to the old blog, there are also some new design cues I’ve tried to incorporate, including:

  • bigger fonts and more whitespace for an “airier” feel and increased readability
  • less overall boxiness with more rounded corners
  • a bright, bold colours palette set against lots of white
  • simple, large shapes and suggestions of lines as opposed to overbuilt boxes within boxes

More information about the update in the rest of the article…

I put in a lot of work under the hood as well. A lot of time was spent on implementing ways of searching and visualizing content on the blog – I’ve been keeping it for nearly 6 years now – turns out that’s a ton of data! (and much more to come, now that I’ve streamlined the process). Some of the new ways readers have to sort through all of this include:

kichijoji street scene

There’s lots of other random improvements here and there as well, including:

  • lots of AJAX flash to cut down on page reloading times
  • a sexy new links page
  • a new, paper-friendly print stylesheet (click through to an entry, then try printing it)

Of course, things aren’t perfect. There’s still a lot of things I have to implement, fix and tweak before I’m happy with the site. For example:

  • The entire moblog section has yet to be implemented (it will be up soon)
  • The articles section has to be implemented, but will soon be filled out with lots of useful articles, reviews and how-tos.
  • I’d like to add greater improvements for commenters and reader feedback including comment threading and avatars
  • I’d like to offer more skins and styles to choose from
  • Older articles transferred over from my very first site ever are still missing their pictures.
  • Tons of other tweaks here and there, including the photo search, rss feeds and so on.

kichijoji street scene

But that’s stuff for another day (or, at least, next week). There’s still some unfinished stuff here and there so kindly bare with me while I try to hack everything up and into place. Finally, while I started out keeping this site for myself, these days I’m trying to keep it as much for you, lovely readers. If there’s any feedback you might have to offer – good or bad, things you like, things you hate, features you would like to see implemented, please, please, please leave them in the comments (or drop me a line) and I will do what I can to make it happen.

But for now, gentle readers, here is the new site redesign for 2009. I hope you like it.

Now listening to: DJ Tatana – Spring Breeze (Martin Roth Summerstyle Remix)

21 Reactions

  1. Marty

    Hey Mike,
    I really like the design. The font in the headers are a little big for my taste, but I see where you’re going with it. I like how the site is more ‘right side’ oriented. Like the Nav and the add comment section..

  2. felix, part deux

    So… No ability for people to comment on piccies of the day or the tumbleblog? or is there a way to feed these into the larger blog context? Maybe in some later, LATER release.
    One thing I have to say to your design school entry: Yes, it’s unbelievable.
    However, one has to realize that usability and “design” are different things, and most “designers” really don’t think about utility, target audience, etc. This is even separate from usability problems you encountered due to /technical/ issues like bad coding.

  3. Lorelei

    You did a great job on the usability front, unlike certain design schools that shall not be named here.
    Personally, I’m not partial to the background color you chose, but overall the site has a very friendly, macintosh-y look.
    I second Felix’ proposal to add a comment function to the pic of the day section.
    And Yay! to the more frequent updating plan!

  4. Jessica

    i love the big font. pregnancy, or old age, is ruining my eyes and i keep having to up the zoom on my screen for other sites. but not with you oh thoughtful one.
    also, i tired to come here from my google reaer, and it doesn’t work. i am clever, so i just deleted the “server2″ that was in front of your name in the address, and then it went to it, but you might want to check on that
    looove it :) . my blog looks so dull. gah.

  5. Michaelpanda

    @felix: Actually yeah, that’s coming up soon! I want to work on that part a lot more, but it took all I had just to get the site live last week. I definitely want to implement a commenting function for the photo of the day and the tumbleblog soon, just as soon as i figure out how to integrate it unobtrusively. stay tuned!
    about the design schools – you have such a valid point. sometimes design does get way ahead of function! :) (i say this even as i am cursing my beautiful (and expensive!) apple router which has been a royal pain in my behind these past few weeks). I am definitely going to mail you sometime today or tomorrow to chat more about design school though! i wanna get your input on something.
    @lorelei. Thank you my lovely panda sister across the seas! I am definitely going to add a comment function to the picture of the day soon! :)
    @jessica: I’m glad you like the big fonts! I’m gonna work on another style sheet for people who want everything a little smaller, whilst leaving this one up as the default.
    about your google reader – is it still bouncing you to when you try to access the site? Could you tell me the URL you are using that is redirecting to I set up my server access rules to redirect old links to their new counterparts, but it sounds like i must have missed something somewhere. If you let me know the URL that’s misdirecting you to the server2 URL, I’ll fix it ASAP.
    @marty: Thanks man. Did you get my e-mail yesterday? Anyway, I’m gonna cook up a smaller-fonted style sheet soon :)

  6. momolo

    ah, the new design is great! it’s like an more mature version of your original design, more friendly and high tech.
    i am actually going to buy a bike with that money. this friday, hopefully! although i would still love to get a flash. maybe once i find a job. :)

  7. Shay

    I was gonna say this earlier ~ THE SITE LOOKS GREAT! I dig the colors (brown is cool since it’s quite underused on the web), the big fonts are slick, and the header is really nice. The big text fits well with your always-aweseome big, highres images. Keep up the good work, man!

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