You may have noticed that the design of this site has changed a bit (mainly on desktop, though a few of the changes filter out to those of you who read from a narrower port of view). My main motivation is to make the site look a bit more punchy.

As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past: I am not a designer. I really don’t know what I’m doing, other than making stuff “look nice” to my eyes, turning it into CSS, and rolling it out and hoping for the best.

But I figured I would run a few things by you, the reader, since pleasing your eyes matters more than mine. Also: I very rarely ever mention design changes when we make them. This sometimes leads people to mail in reporting things as broken.

Update

Thanks for all the feedback on this. Since the majority of you prefer the disco gradient I’ve replaced the orange header with it.

So, I need to settle on a colour treatment for the masthead (the giant block the site logo sits on) and I need to feel okay with it (or I get lost down the rabbit hole of trying a million things and never settling). Here are the three main ideas (click an image to view it larger, then arrow through to see the others):

Orange is how the site looks atm, but a couple of you have already mentioned you miss the “disco gradient” (above, center; used since our 2019-ish revamp), so I’m open to bringing it back.

Personally, I like the orange, but not to the extent that I can ignore people saying it’s dull/drab/generic. Uncertain, I then decided to come up a completely different design for contrast, hence the light masthead (above, right) which uses orange as a subtle accent colour in the logo bubble.

Do you have a preference? Let me know in the comments (I’d embed a poll like the olden days, but I can’t afford the price CrowdSignal (formerly Poll Daddy) now costs.

Design vs Reality

The choice of masthead colour isn’t the only design change I’ve made.

A few weeks ago I ditched the “wave” divider (which split the header from the main page) introduced back in April. Here’s my original mockup for the look using an imaginary Android blog (I find it easier to design using not-my-actual-brand):

The wave slider effect on the Android blog I never made

The waves give the site a cool vibe BUT the effect is only truly noticeable when the site is being viewed on widescreen monitors.

On a regular screen, or a browser run windowed, it looks like this — a letdown:

Not so wavey now

But why have a silly masthead colour at all, you ask?

I originally intended to switch omg! to a light grey design with a traditional ‘boxed’ header, like this:

This is the name of our staging site because yes: I’m immature

However, when I scouted opinion on this via Twitter (as I often do) the feedback I got was clear: boxed header is dull/drab/generic, especially with that grey. Folks feel the “overlap” (or ‘lip’ as I call it) is a bit off-the-wall but it’s distinctive — and thus it’s more “omg” (which I think is a compliment 😆).

I recently replaced the pod slider (see the Android Loop mockup a few rungs above) with a banner slideshow on the homepage.

Long-time readers of omg! may find this familiar as this site used a banner slideshow from 2011 to 2018. Pod or Slideshow; the element is used the same, namely to showcase especially interesting posts once they move off of reverse-chronological section of the homepage.

The pod slider is just a toggle switch away, so I may swap/cycle/rotate between featured styles whenever I feel like it — though truth be told I’ll probably do what I always do when I can’t decide: create another alternative to dilute the confusion.

Making the homepage more interesting

Above the fold designs aside, there are some other things I may (anxiety dependant) ask for some opinion on in the next few weeks (I’d like to get the refresh all settled before the new year).

I also plan to add some new modules to the homepage. These will highlight updated posts that are still useful and relevant. These will (mostly) be based around themes, e.g., “eye candy essentials”, “latest distro releases”, “beginner’s guides”, etc.

However, I’m not about to do a Zuck on you. The reverse chronological list of “recent posts” will aways be present on the homepage (and is the only layout we show on page 2, 3, 4 etc). Most of you come here to see what’s new so I’m not going to mess with that by making it harder for your eyes to land on the vey very latest posts.

Btw, don’t pay any attention to the titles, thumbnails, headlines etc in any mockups I share. I type or copy/paste random stuff as filler text when designing. Depending on my caffeine levels those pretend articles can get really odd. Similarly, spacing/fonts/margins/colours are not pixel perfect in mockups because that stuff gets ironed out in implementation.

Editorial site stuff