Design Meta

New Blog Design

It is now official get out of your RSS reader day. Take a few minutes to check out the new and browse around a bit. This is, I believe, the fifth major iteration of the design here but it’s the first one since 2003. When I last freshened the paint around here it got a link from Zeldman saying “lucky in redesign” and I figured I would never be able to top that, so I left the design the same for years. The only major change was the introduction of Asides in 2004.

Well I couldn’t top the last design, but Nicolò Volpato had no trouble creating something beautiful I started coding up earlier this weekend. Nicolò is still working on mocking up a few of the pages, and in the meantime I’ve been working on a little additional functionality around the site, particularly with photos.

Here are a few things you might notice so far: related posts on entry pages, recent entries shown in the sidebar on entries older than 2 weeks, when a blog is from the same day as a photo album random photos from that day are shown at the bottom, and likewise a photo will show when there’s a post that day.

The main goals of the photo integration were to enable a little more serendipity. There are a lot of other little Easter eggs, but those will remain an exercise for the reader.

154 replies on “New Blog Design”

I can actually say that I saw this design before it was coded, over some of Mr. Boren’s luscious steak. This is a great leap forward from your last design, and it really keeps your personality around for the trip.

You’re giving this de-uglifier a run for his money. Nicolo has a lot to be proud of.

A good redesign Matt. The colors are great and the photos integration is subtle. The only thing that I did not like so much was the big header. Though it looks classy, it consumes more than half the screen. Otherwise it is very vibrant, will pull me more often out of feedreaders 🙂

I noticed the redesign earlier today and for a minute, thought I stumbled onto the wrong site until I realized that hey, it says “Photo Matt”, has the same tagline, and your face is on the layout. Very nice change, although I keep forgetting about the “Home” tab and thinking that clicking on the site name will bring me back to the homepage…

Great new look. Definitely more vibrant and alive than the previous design. I’m still looking through some of the different pages. So far so good. Can’t wait to see what other pages are being mocked-up. The masthead collage is great, I need to get me one of those WordPress stickers to plaster on to something in real life.

Absolutely beautiful design.
Navigation is pure logic – breezy!

One small problem seems to be that the really wonderful header takes its time to load. For a ( short ) while the upper part of the page is empty ( apart from the background ). It also means, we’ll have to wait for the navigational system.

Congratulations and do keep this beauty, at least for a while 😉

Major improvement. The header graphic is great. Wakes up the reader but doesn’t induce a headache – which red can do if it isn’t used as subtly as here! Much better than the old look.

I really like your redesign, except that the header is way too big, it loads rather slow; which again might cause that people turn images of to view your site, but then they sit without any navigation.

Have you considered doing a image map instead of using the header image as a css background property?

Wow!! The new design is fantastic!! I love the “then” and “now” pictures – a nice blend of where you’ve been, and what’s coming!
…I have to give you my first thought, though, on seeing the new header for the first time: “Well, that’s definately not his writing!” 🙂 Miss you and hugs, C.

Very nice rework!
But consider saving the haeder-image with Photoshop’s save for web feature, it saves a lot of kb.
I did an its more comfortable for my (not so much readers), because some of them and me too are not using broadband internet.

Looks grrrrrrrrrreat. I love it. One suggestion with the header would be to leave it that big on your entrance page but shrink it down to maybe 1/3rd that height on all interior pages. I don’t even so much have a problem with how it loads, but rather that on a non maximized 1024×768 screen, when you click a navigation button it doesn’t look like you’ve gone to a new page because all of the content is below the fold.

Great work though… it’s v. nice.

[…] Matt’s redesign is stunning.  he’s improved clarity while adding information and graphic detailing in every area.  Figure-ground relationships are 100% better than the previous version.  I can only hope that this wakes up the rest of the ‘web 2.0′ from the minimalist haze that’s buried everyone in gradients and blank white backgrounds. […]

matt, you’re an inspiration. i’ve never spent this much time on, reading or going through a blog before. ths design is well-thought out, serene and inviting. i used to be a programmer many years ago. how long ago? can you say ‘assembly language’? yep! that long. google it.

so, now, i’m gonna get my feet wet, again, and start designing some wp themes.

look out world, here comes, vanchisel.

Wow, that is a BIG CLUNKY header. More visible header per no content in my normally sized browser window. Ick. Do I come to photomatt to look at the header? no, the content. Yuck.

Very nice Matt! I’d say it is definitely eclectic in a weird sort of Tudor meets Victorian meets Americana sort of way. Considering your level of European travel lately, I’d say that has made an influence. BTW, I need stickers!

Lots of nice touches, Matt: the coffee stain, the piece of tape, the copyright message (or did I just not notice that before?). Good to see a photo of you prominently on the site. Insert something insightful about being able to see what the writer of a weblog looks like here. But one thing I find hard to believe: do you really code PHP with pen and paper in your notebook?

Regardless, Matt, great design. Red is the new pink!

Looks great! Did you design the wallpaper pattern yourself or did you found it somewhere in the web? I’ve been trying to search similar copyright free pattern myself – with poor luck 🙁

I like it. It’s straight outta 2004 with the wallpaper background and serifs and grungy bits, but it’s all the better for that. Aside from the fact that nobody in their right mind would have implemented a 150kb header back then (it’s a bit doubtful now, but there’s no point trying to explain to Americans that not everyone in the world has TV-sized monitors and broadband. And I’m always prepared to allow people a bit more leeway on personal sites, where they’re entitled to pick and choose their audience.)

Your beautiful website loaded quickly out here in the woods of New hampshire, with a top dial up speed of 31.2 bps.
And that is always appreciated. 99 percent of the time I duck out of loading anything that appears stuck.
I just switched to WordPress from whatever, and was looking for you to thank you for that ridiculous plug in that makes me smile when I see it. Hello Dolly.
You have great creativity in this world of code…

I really enjoy seeing a new blog design that is well done and beautiful. Unfortunately I have poor theme-choosing skills and I sometimes become a little jealous.
I’m currently green and not happy with my current color scheme or list-style choice , I blame you!

[…] But in the meantime, I can’t resist moving from Filmmaking to Netflix, while keeping in the Agile space. Especially given the serendipitous bloglike way I got to the Netflix story. I was reading Chris Messina, one of my regular reads, when I came across his post on Photo Matt’s new look. That in turn led me to this story on The Freedom of Fast Iterations, a Joshua Porter post on If you have the time, it’s worth wandering over to Joshua’s blog, Bokardo, where he looks at social web design and related issues. […]

It is a great looking header page, but yeah, try and browse through your photo gallery. On every page, we’re forced to scroll down to look at the picture in question, and then you hit next, and WHAM! “” you’re back looking at that big ol header image again, and then you scroll down, and then you hit next, and then WHAM! “” you’re back looking at that big ol header image again, and then you scroll down, and then you hit next, and then WHAM! “” you’re back looking at that big ol header image again, and then you scroll down, and then you hit next, and then WHAM! “” you’re back looking at that big ol header image again, and then you scroll down, and then you hit next, and then…oh, sorry.

[…] Ich hab mich bissle von dem neuen Design von Matt inspirieren lassen bin selbst mal wieder kreativ geworden. Für ein komplettes Theme hat es leider nicht gereicht, außerdem bin ich mit dem K2 Theme und seinen Features mehr als nur zufriesen. Mit dem Aktuellen notizBlog Scheme für K2 habe ich versucht das ursprüngliche notizBlog Design weitestgehend umzusetzen, ich hoffe es ist mir gelungen. Wenn ich mal wieder bissle Zeit habe, werde ich mich mal mit nem richtigen Design beschäftigen. …das kann aber noch bissle dauern… […]

Hi. This has probably already been mentioned times without number. My input is not about the physical dimensions of the header itself or the design but the fact that even on my 8MB broadband connection the header loads much later than the rest of the page leaving a void at the top probably due to its weight. In comparison the older design loaded literally in an instant. I’ve no doubt that Photomatt knows better.

[…] We have been making do with the default header than defines the ‘k2’ WordPress theme (the techie stuff that powers the Indigo blog) for far too long. This purple block is getting a little dull to say the least and I have been inspired by the collage design over at Matt Mullenweg’s blog. The two images above are the part of the result of half an hour spent throwing embroidery, print and catalogue samples under the scanner. This is so AJ at Asterostudio, the talented young guy (he is only 16) behind the design of Devlounge and a number of popular WordPress templates, can work his magic with his HTML editor and Photoshop to create a far more interesting header than we currently have. Watch that purple space! Social bookmark this:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. […]

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