As you have probably noticed, I’ve been busy changing the look of Shooting Parrots. This doesn’t mean that I think the old site design was particularly jaded, but more because trends in web design keep moving on.
You may or may not know that I use the Thesis framework for WordPress and this was recently updated to take account of those trends. The buzz words are ‘responsive design’ and the main things you’ll notice with the new site is that there is just a single column sidebar and here is the explanation Thesis founder Chris Pearson gave me:
The entire design industry is moving away from 3-column designs, so that’s why the Classic Responsive Skin only supports 1 or 2 columns.
Studies show that bounce rates are higher, time spent on page is lower, and conversions are lower on 3-column designs (2 columns perform better than 3, 1 column performs better than 2).
For responsive designs (which are all the rage now, as I’m sure you know), 3-columns require MUCH more code than 2-column designs.
No, it didn’t mean much to me either, but as far as I can tell, the required ‘responsiveness’ is for the benefit of people who surf the interweb on their phone or tablet. The upshot is that if you change flip from landscape to portrait viewing of this site, the sidebar will rearrange itself to make reading the main content that much easier.
Which is more than can be said for working with the new Thesis. I have really struggled to get this far with the Thesis skins from Themedy.
There are things I like about the new design and things I don’t. Using a ‘featured image’ on the front page is okay, although it means extra work to create a panoramic image layout, but I would prefer that it only applied to the most recent post and that the rest were simply text teasers as before.
The single sidebar has also limited how much content I can include, particularly the ‘regular reads’ list which I find useful in keeping track of new posts. I’ve had to compromise with the rolling random links.
There is still quite a lot of work to do as I try to get my head round the new skin editing features which aren’t quite so simple and straightforward as the Thesis website would have you believe.
Trevor has already given me some feedback (not keen) but I’d like to hear yours if you can take time out to let me know what you think.