Somehow I found the energy, the sheer will, and a requisite dose of insanity to release a major redesign of jaredwsmith.com this weekend. I call it Photographica, after the fun rotating photos that you’ll come to see as you browse through the new look.
A lot’s changed on the site, because a lot’s changed in my life. In 2005, when the orange/gray look took shape, it was a very edgy, turbulent time in my life. I was taking a great deal of chances, and it still held a hint of that youthful carelessness as I went about foraging a new identity. That identity’s since been foraged, and has been polished and evolved over the last three years. I’m now about to embark on yet another chapter in life; one that is certain to bring a whole new level of challenges along with it; but it’s also one that I feel I’m heading into on firm, stable ground. That’s what this look says to me; it’s got elements of that stormy side of life (as evidenced by the clouds that extend well beyond the frame of the main content area of the site), but it also brings a calm cleanliness as only Helvetica Neue and the less-loud blues and greens provide. I also think it captures an important element that I’ve tried to reinforce in my life: Stopping to smell the roses and take the world around me in — thus, the rotating photos of the world around me. This is a small set to start with; fear not, as there will be many more down the road. Photos are only a part of drawing a more complete picture of “the world according to me”; thanks to the FriendFeed sidebar widget, I’m able to show you a wider spectrum of my thoughts, likes, and dislikes, as well as what people think of those thoughts, likes, and dislikes.
Photographica evolved from a process that’s taken basically most of the summer. I pumped out at least ten mockups of what the site could look like before one night I was struck with a little stroke of genius. I began to template this out in static HTML; this process lasted several weeks and really enabled me to get it into WordPress quickly over this past weekend. It’s by far my most CSS-heavy design, and really shines on recent versions of Safari and Firefox. I take heavy advantage of WebKit and Mozilla’s pre-release implementations of the border-radius property, so if you’re on those browsers, you will see that rounded corners are pervasive throughout. If you’re not on them, not to worry — this effect degrades perfectly and there is no effect on performance at all. And if you’re still using Internet Explorer 6 for some reason, at least upgrade to IE 7 if you can’t switch to Firefox; you’re going to miss out on the image rotation and a few other items because IE 6 is just incredibly behind the times.
As always, Photographica is a living look and is a work in progress, as all Web sites are. There may be some bugs and some areas to iron out; I’ll fix them. For now, though, enjoy. I think you guys will like it.