Creating a fresh canvas

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you may notice something different about its appearance today. Still familiar-looking, perhaps, but sort of different. If you only see the content as an RSS or email subscriber, well, head on over to the site and take a look.

I changed the theme, the collection of PHP pages, cascading style sheets and other web things that govern a blog’s appearance and certain behaviours. For the past couple of years, I’ve been running Thesis, a premium WordPress theme created by Chris Pearson.

From today, this blog runs the Canvas theme from Woo Themes. (If you want some background on what has largely influenced this change and why, read What is community worth to you?, a post I wrote a few weeks ago.)

This isn’t a new design by any means. On the contrary, I wanted to keep things largely the same in terms of appearance: the look and feel, as it were. So all the content is still here from before, with some of it just organized a bit differently. I made some changes to the navigation menu structure you see at the top beneath the banner. That made me aware of some content-updating I need to do to some pages, which I’ll do over the coming weeks.

I guess the major change compared to before is what you see on the home page and individual blog posts.

The home page no longer shows ten full-content posts. Nor does it have images, badges and buttons galore in the right-hand sidebar – what quite a few people told me were just bling as far as they were concerned.

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I’ve gone for a more minimalist approach that Canvas enables me to do very easily. So no full posts, just excerpts. And only excerpts of the latest five posts. The right-hand sidebar shows only on the home page; individual blog posts are now full width enabling you as the reader to give your attention to what you’re reading without being distracted by bling.

At the foot of each page including the home page, you’ll find a small collection of social networking icons  – links to places I frequent and where you can follow or connect with me – plus links to category and monthly archives, and a few other things that are useful to see on every page or post.

All of this makes for a cleaner and neater presentation with less distraction. It also really speeds up page-load times as there is far less server load in delivering primarily text content.

I hope you like the new presentation which I’ll still be tweaking in the coming weeks. Let me know what you think, thanks.

Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. John Patella

    Hi, Neville –
    I like the new look, as well as your observation that too much column “bling” becomes distracting to the reader.
    Blogs seem to be becoming increasingly cluttered.
    Thanks for reminding us of the importance of a “clean, well-lighted place.”

    -John Patella
    Cranbury, New Jersey, USA

    • neville

      Thanks, John, appreciate your comments. In preparing for this theme switch, I spent some time looking at what many other blogs are doing. One thing I observed was an apparent move by many bloggers to minimalism in how they present themselves on the web.

      If it’s a trend, I like it.

  2. Robert Clay

    It all looks great, Neville. I heard about Canvas in March. Tried it out. Loved it. Created three websites in two days to the amazement of many who still use outdated ways to create sites, see: then in April switched my own site to Canvas and haven’t looked back. I’ve been delighted with it, and there are so many ways you can configure it. In addition Woo Themes provide the most amazing support. I’m delighted you’ve made this choice. I know how good it is. And you’ve made it look really good ;-)

    • neville

      Thanks Robert, your comments much appreciated. I had a number of people suggest Canvas to me, including you. Even Matt Mullenweg. Impressed so far with being able to do nearly everything I wanted to do with very little headaches.

      • Robert Clay

        It would actually make a fabulous default WP theme (or maybe default+). And of course the wonderful menu system has now been built into WP3. It makes a world of difference.

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