Monday, October 04, 2010

HardDoor 2.0!

When I said last Friday that HardDoor was going dark for maintenance, I really did mean it, so to speak. ;)

Around two weeks ago, I completed "Blacks & Head Shots in Anime", a seven-part piece that had long been on my heart to do.  At the same time, its finish also symbolized end of HardDoor's old look, present ever since its inception over four years ago.  I have been dropping hints of this in previous posts and have planned and tested things out in a test blog, as it's been my aim to update HD for a good while now.  Though I liked the old look, the functionality of the blog was outgrowing it, and I was also looking to freshen it up.  While Blogger's new template designer was nice, I wasn't totally compelled to switch over from the Classic template, at least until they added more controls and bevy of new features over time.  Now that it had nearly everything I had envisioned for when I first started, the time finally came...

Simpler, easier to navigate & use, and attractive--but still reminiscent of the original--HardDoor's new look meets many of the criteria I had in mind for its redesign.  I initially thought it would take the whole weekend to do, but I got virtually everything done Saturday afternoon (with some twinking on Sunday).  I was originally aiming for a total black & white high-contrast style, but the end result seems to be a better fit (yet still close to what I had planned).  A few new things that I was happy to implement:

  • Dedicated pages.  I had no idea this feature existed until I transitioned, so this was a pleasant surprise.  The Directory has been moved to its own page (no more updating an old post), and now there's a nifty place to house links to things like Decade's Best.
  • Collapsible archive.  So wanted.
  • Label listing, finally.
  • Cleaner, brighter look.  The darker, more colorful former look was something I wanted to keep around, but the one here just feels more appealing.
  • Wider, but still cozy, layout.
  • "Older/Newer Posts".  This should have been in Blogger from the start, but very glad to see it here.  No more posts "lost to the ether"...
  • Integration with HD's Twitter page.  Perhaps the #1 most important objective I had and one of the top leading factors that led me to making the jump.  As I said in its introduction, it is a natural extension of the blog and a highly important part of it now.  Having it right in the blog itself and side-by-side with the posts only makes sense and is essential in delivering HD out in its fullest.  Likewise, the Twitter page's look has been updated to resemble the blog's--replete with a stylistic rendition of the new logo I made for HardDoor (a conjoined "H" and "D").
Don't be surprised if you see any additional tweaks and changes over time, as I get more acclimated to the new look.  It's a stark and bolder, but I think it looks (and works) pretty nice.  Hope you like!


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