Clearing the Cache

Bokeh

Welcome to our new redesign! I had been looking to update our site for over a year but other things in life took priority. After settling in to our new home and doing long stretches of web development at work, I couldn’t stop thinking about web coding. Thankfully, Jenni understood my web itch and allowed me to be a code monkey in the evenings, weekends, and early mornings. Hey, when there’s a baby in the house, everything takes twice as long.

Blueprint CSSI became interested in the Blueprint CSS framework after reading a few articles on grid-based design. I liked how there it facilitated visual flow to a web page and helped create an implied alignment of page elements. After much experimentation, I was able to adjust our site into a grid, however, most of posts prior to the redesign won’t take advantage of the grid layout.

jQueryOne other learning opportunity I employed in this design included the jQuery javascript library. I’ve always been leery of javascript, but I have since adopted the mindset of progressive enhancement using javascript. Those who have it, will get a perk. Those who don’t have javascript enabled in their browser (a rare breed), will still be able to use our site.

You’ll see a simple jQuery effect for our navigation and post title links, giving it a soft glow when you hover over the link. I’d use it for all the links, but Jenni thought it was too much eye-candy. It certainly made the list of photo albums fun to watch as the wave of color trailed the mouse cursor.

We’re still using WordPress to house the content of our blog. I’ve been extremely pleased with how it has improved since I started using it in 2005 and its themes feature makes it much simpler to change the look of our blog without rewriting all our content.

What is Bokeh?

Our new WordPress theme is called “Bokeh,” which is a photography term. Taken directly from Wikipedia:

Bokeh (derived from Japanese bokeaji, “blur”) is a photographic term referring to the appearance of out-of-focus areas in an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field. Different lens bokeh produces different aesthetic qualities in out-of-focus backgrounds, which are often used to reduce distractions and emphasize the primary subject.

I actually landed on this design by accident. When I loaded a background image by mistake, complimented on the bokeh. So I stayed with the blurred background image even though I hadn’t planned on using a background image, least of all, one as big as the one we have. But with some optimizations, it didn’t seem to be too much of a bandwidth hit.

The idea of bokeh grew on to me because I’m into photography, but mostly because it reminded me that a design should support the most important aspect of our site (I could argue, all web sites): the content. Being bokeh, it would be out of focus, to bring focus to our content.

My focus on content had come from looking at our web traffic on Google Analytics and analyzed how our blog visitors navigated and spent time on our blog. I found that most people only went to our homepage and that was it. My theory is that most people read our short blog posts and were finished.

The second most-visited page was our photos, so I’ve listed our most recent photo albums on our homepage, to make it one less click. As per Jenni’s requests, the albums now open in a new browser tab, so it’s easy to return to our blog after browsing through the photos in an album.

The goal of the redesign was to improve the usability of the site and put more emphasis on content than our previous design. So putting the photo albums on the homepage, adding a list of archives by year and month, including a list of related blog posts, and expanding our “About Us” section were rooted in that goal. I still see areas of improvement, but I was too excited to wait any longer to launch 😉

Thanks to everyone who visits our corner of the internet. Jenni and I enjoy looking back on our blog to see how what crazy adventures we’ve shared, how much Kadence has grown, and how much God takes care of even the smallest of details in our lives.

Let us know what you think of our new look in the comments. God bless.

4 Responses to “Bokeh”

  1. Rachel Jones says:

    Nice Job David! I like that the pictures are on the front page and that they open in a new window.

  2. David says:

    I guess Jenni wasn’t the only one who liked the photo albums opening in a new window 😉

  3. Tovah says:

    It looks good. Kind of startling to have a whole new layout but that is just because I was used to the old one:) I’ve enjoyed going back and rereading some of your stories as I look at your new layout. Hope all is well with all the Lims:)

  4. David says:

    Yeah, this layout is drastically different from our previous theme. I hadn’t planned on being a darker theme, but Jenni liked it so I listened.

    Clark’s blog is shaping up well too 😉

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