I've been meaning to find some time to work on this site and so when when Pink for October was announced, it sounded like an ideal opportunity. An excuse to redesign the site (not that I've ever really needed one) as well as spread the word about a good cause. Sign me up! However, as it always seems to be the case, time just trickles away and so when Matthew reminded me that October was only a weekend away, I found myself in a bit of a mess having not even started any of the development 1.
To make matters worse, on that very weekend, I'd been co-opted to helping out with some house-moving2. And so it was that I barely managed to squeeze in the launch of my redesign in time for the start of October3. Welcome to the 8th iteration of If..Else codenamed 'Dianthus'.
Spreading the word
It'll be remiss of me not to talk about what precipitated this redesign. This year, over a million people will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Despite initiatives such as screening programmes, Breast Cancer is still the most common form of Cancer affecting women. For the last two decades, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month has helped in building wider public awareness and so, it's my pleasure to be able to subvert this site for a good cause, even if it's only in a small way. In addition, I'll be donating all my adsense revenue + 100% for this month to Cancer Research UK.
Words on this redesign
Due to the beforementioned time constraints, this site redesign is far from what I would consider finished. Even ignoring the many design features that I had to drop to get this finished in time for the October launch, I haven't been able to give this a rigorous test to make sure that the design holds up across not just the various browser configurations4 but also across the various pages and site options. In particular, I have little more than a vague hope that the existing content holds up without too much damage and I'm disappointed that work on the archive and search pages had to be dropped due to a sheer lack of time. Apologies for any borkages.
The big point to note about this redesign is how far I've had to stretch the definition in order to class this as a pink redesign. My initial sketches and prototypes used pink in a far stronger manner. In fact, one of the designs that I was all but ready to go with was full-on-pink. The problem was balance.
I personally don't consider myself to be a great designer and that showed in trying to develop a design that fit in with the Pink theme whilst not detracting from the content. My main problem was that, whilst each of my initial designs looked good as a one-off feature, the design always seemed to overwhelm the content which it was intended to support. With more time, I would have probably have been able to bring it under control but in a bid to get things done, I took the easy way out and applied dashings of pink to a more stable design. It's no accident that this iteration bears a lot of similarity to it's predecessor; realign is once again the word of the month.
I'm not sure how successful this design is yet. I guess it's still a bit fresh for me to make an objective decision. However, despite the rush job, I'm reasonably pleased with how it turned out. Whether I'll keep this look post-October, or whether I revert back or even redesign again is still an open question but for now I'm happy I managed to go live with it. And with that done, I'm off to bed.
- Though fortunately, I had sketched out what I'd planned to do beforehand and worked on a couple of the major assets such as the header. [back]
- Which was not helped by the fact that I also ended spending a good 8 hours on the road. What is it with rain and traffic? [back]
- Actually, I missed it by about half an hour but I'm ruling it in via use of a technicality as this site is hosted in the US:) [back]
- I did give it a quick test across IE6, FF1.5, Safari, and Opera 9 [back]