I’ve been meaning to update my website’s design and layout for a long time. My site is based on WordPress and the theme I’d been using previously was a little too sterile. I wanted something that was more of a portfolio site and yet could still accommodate a blog.
After sporadic searches through the free WordPress themes on offer, I decided none of them quite did what I wanted, so I designed my own.
I wanted to keep it minimal while making use of emerging web technologies like HTML5, CSS3; and I wanted the site to look just as good on smaller screen mobile devices.
To move away from the rather dry grey and blue theme I thought I’d go for something lush, and found a nice background which stretches to the browser width. The background image is called “Green Meadow II” by Timothy Schellhase, which I found on the Gnome site under the category http://art.gnome.org/backgrounds/nature (unfortunately there’s no way to directly link to it). It is released under the GNU GPL.
The title fonts are provided by Google Web Fonts, an amazing and free service. There’s a little delay on the page load but I think it’s worth it.
I wanted to include a sharing service for my blog posts, but I’m just not that happy with any of the existing WordPress plugins. They’re either very bloated, hard to configure and style, or both.
Instead I decided to just link to the social media sites I’m on, and got the icons you see at the left of the footer from http://icondock.com.
I think the most important element of a site is a contact form, which I decided to include on every page, with a bright call to action which hopefully draws the eye. On the blog pages this appears right at the bottom, as I assume blog users are more after technical information rather than my services. I created my own AJAX style WordPress contact form, which hooks in to WordPress AJAX functions to send me an email directly.
It probably needs a little more work before I can submit it to the WordPress theme repository, but I hope to release it for free at some point, with the option for the user to upload their own background image and use their own colours.
Overall I wanted to keep the design minimal, while keeping a nice balance between formal and relaxed. I think I’ve done pretty well and I’m quite happy with my new site.
So what do you think? All feedback is appreciated, please leave your thoughts in the comments!