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28 December 2012 @ 01:16 pm
web design redux  
Most of you will probably not care about this. :)

I am told that the Genesis framework can support that two-column header that I want. I'm happy enough to buy the framework for somebody to work from, but I have accepted the brutal truth that I just don't want to be the one trying to make it work. In terms of things being set in stone for what I want, the two column header and the color scheme are the things not to mess with. With that in mind, the following:

My mockup for the basic shape I would like mizkit.com to have:

Mockup with column commentary:

This is fairly functional. It's not terribly pretty. I would *like* it to be prettier, ideally somehow thematically with me as a writer but anything with a sense of wonder/fun/something, I don't know. My old theme incorporated my Take A Chance comic's first splash image, and I liked that enough to keep it for years.

The body layout, which I like a lot, is borrowed from this theme, which is utterly beautiful but totally useless in terms of content delivery, with that huge flipping graphic there. I would like something like that body layout, though the focus for the above-the-fold right-hand navigation column would be like the one on CE Murphy.Net instead of recent posts, etc.

Bonus points to anybody who could incorporate my new sassy lady in an attractive and organic way.

My budget is limited. I'd like to keep it around $250, but I have no idea if that's reality-based. I mean, several people have volunteered to do it for free, but I don't know if this is within anybody's free skill set :), so should I end up *hiring* someone, I don't know how badly I'm off-mark. (Probably miles, because I know what design work cost back when I was doing it, and that was a long time ago. OTOH, I really can't help my budget, so we'll see.)

What's anybody think?
Bryantbryant on December 28th, 2012 01:28 pm (UTC)
Ugh, I wish I had spare time, but I'm being honest with myself about that this year...

I feel like Column B needs something to set it off from Column A. The two columns aren't balanced vertically. Or horizontally, come to think of it. Possibly using the sassy lady as the column separator would work?

Nitpicking: that typeface is a bit busy for blurb text.
kitmizkit on December 28th, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
Hah. I must be too or I'd still be trying to do this myself. :}

I agree, it is a bit busy, but I haven't found one I like enough to replace it with yet. They all look so thin and boring, or something.

Also, on consideration, it may be that having a very broad header and a narrower body area, like it's currently cut and pasted as, might actually be better than making content area as wide as the header, because while I agree the two colums are lopsided, I really *don't* want a very broad second column in the content area, and it might be less distracting if the whole page narrows. Thanks for the observation!

Edited at 2012-12-28 02:03 pm (UTC)
hegemony hedgehogagrimony on December 28th, 2012 02:27 pm (UTC)
I like the idea of your sassy lady in the middle of the two header sections, especially as that makes it look like her attention is being grabbed by the header on the right with her currently demonstrated orientation.
Kate Kirbykirbyk on December 28th, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
Needs more headless women.
The Green Knight: Decision Timegreen_knight on December 28th, 2012 03:01 pm (UTC)
I know that people volunteer, and that's wonderful for you... but if you're using this as a career tool, and you expect to improve your income with it, please pay your designer, whoever you end up with. Or do something else for them.

Writers should not write for free. Web designers should not design for free. Yes, there are exceptions, but on the whole, I'd like a climate where people can make a living doing creative things... and that only works when we all are willing to pay for them.

(Nothing here looks like it is particularly complex, designwise, so this should be doable within your budget.)
Bryantbryant on December 28th, 2012 03:11 pm (UTC)
I can't speak for everyone who'd volunteer, but in my case I'd be offering because she's a close friend; I'm comfortable doing work for free for close friends. I tend to trust her not to take advantage of people, but I have the benefit of having known her a couple of decades. I can understand why someone who doesn't know her as well might make the wrong assumption.

Come to think of it, every time I've done a favor for her I've also wound up getting paid back one way or another, but that's mizkit for you.
Trent the Uncatchableknappenp on December 28th, 2012 03:28 pm (UTC)
I hate 'me too!' posts, but ... me too.
kitmizkit on December 28th, 2012 04:23 pm (UTC)
Okay, okay. Thank you all for having my back. :)

I'm sure green_knight didn't intend any offense. I suppose "people have volunteered but I don't know if this is within anybody's free skill set" could be interpreted "I don't intend to pay somebody if I can avoid it," though what I really meant was "If you're offering to work for free this may be beyond what you can easily do." I'm sure anybody who's been reading my blog as long as Green Knight has knows that it's not generally my style to expect something for nothing in creative endeavours. Or, I hope, in general...
Bryantbryant on December 28th, 2012 04:50 pm (UTC)
Sorry, green_knight!
Laura Anne Gilman: off topicsuricattus on December 28th, 2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
um, what part of "My budget is limited" did you miss? That doesn't mean "I'm not going to pay anyone for work being done" that means "I can't afford to pay much," and she goes on to acknowledge that she's probably not hitting the going rate, and fretting about it.

You may have meant well, but MY hackles went up at that, so I can only imagine how hurt Catie felt that you thought she'd take advantage of people. :-(

Edited at 2012-12-28 04:24 pm (UTC)
jamileigh17jamileigh17 on December 28th, 2012 04:33 pm (UTC)
That doesn't seem that hard to me... I'll do some graphics fiddling next week, see if I come up with anything pretty/useful. :)
Chrysoulachrysoula on December 28th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)
I absolutely love mini-slider, all half-width in the header. Also like the header double column being wider and off-balance with bottom double column.

_really_ love the mini-slider. It seems ideal for a writer with books to sell but mainly words to share. I'd pay double digits (but cannot afford more) myself, as a note to any designers reading who might be thinking of designing something new and putting it up for sale uncustomized. Or a child theme for Genesis or whatever. (I have paid for premade themes before. This is intended to establish there is a market for what Catie wants broader than Catie herself, rather than piggyback on her $250 budget.)

Not going to be able to stop thinking about mini sliders now for Dreamfarmer, even if I end up having to buy Genesis and sob over it myself. I think I had something in mind for the eventual Senyaza website, ( where I collect all the blog posts and extra material I've produced for (hollow laughing) promotional blog tours) that did work with the modern dumbass magazine style thing, although I have no idea what I expected to do for art. Sometimes I think graphic designers assume everybody is as visual and handy with a camera or other visual elements as themselves... So MANY picture-focused themes, and the 'plain text' ones are so boring and simple. I've had two different paid subscriptions to theme sites, lured in by pretty and realizing when considering implementation that I'd need a fricking portfolio of artwork to keep the pretty.

Sorry to whine and rant, I had a hard night and I still feel a little wild.
Laura Anne Gilmansuricattus on December 28th, 2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
oh yeah. We could totally pass the hat for someone to design an (easily) customizable generic....
kitmizkit on December 28th, 2012 08:48 pm (UTC)
The half-header is seriously the only way I can see that's practical for having easily customized "what's new!" information that doesn't take up half the fucking page.

It's not that graphic designers assume everyone is visual etc etc (tho they might) so much as there is *nobody* stopping them from focusing on the Super Super Pretty and making them focus on content delivery. You are utterly right: plain-text ones are almost all super boring, and as somebody who used to do this job, god damn it, I want it done Right. I want attractive and content-bearing. It shouldn't be that hard. It *isn't* that hard, except my skills are a rusty decade out of date.
Thirzahthirzah on December 29th, 2012 04:44 pm (UTC)
Um, finding time on my hands... I've put together a *very* plain child theme to twentytwelve (the wordpress default theme) with a split header and a scroller thingy for featured posts.

Note: seriously plain - but the scroller bit, at least, should be functional and could be easily tweaked by those that.. you know, do pretty stuff :)

Ellen Millionellenmillion on December 28th, 2012 06:32 pm (UTC)
I should really brush up my Wordpress/template skillz... this is tempting, and I know it's neither beyond my programming/design skills and wouldn't be out of reasonable budget - EXCEPT that I'm starting at such a groundlevel with Wordpress. I could even build this from scratch and bypass Wordpress, no trouble - the elements are just not that complex compared to what I deal with - but that really would be reinventing the wheel.

If you just want graphics... I HAD to play with your new sassy lady:


mikaela_l: pic#115610382mikaela_l on December 28th, 2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
Ooh. I like that Graphic, Ellen :).
anthony_lionanthony_lion on December 28th, 2012 07:29 pm (UTC)

That is... NICE!
That font is just SO right, especially together with the 'sassy lady'.

kitmizkit on December 28th, 2012 08:41 pm (UTC)
...that header is super, super sexy-hot. Holy crap. What font is that?
Ellen Millionellenmillion on December 28th, 2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
Andes! http://www.dafont.com/andes.font

One of my new favorites. :)
kit: xmen_sexxxaymizkit on December 28th, 2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
It goes SO WELL with the sassy lady. I was looking at keeping Not Sassure because it's kind of My Font for my byline on urban fantasy book titles, but SO SEXXXAY!
Thirzahthirzah on December 28th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
What do you anticipate will drive the quotes at the top? :)
kitmizkit on December 28th, 2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
Re: quotes
In previous iterations of my site, a PHP plugin with plain text lines. But there *must* be a widget out there now that does it.
Thirzahthirzah on December 29th, 2012 03:53 am (UTC)
Re: quotes
found one, posting link here to sound clever. Er, I mean, for the greater good of all :)
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on December 30th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)
Re: quotes
I added a message, but the LJ told me it would be marked as spam (maybe because I put links in it?) so you may have to go looking for it if it doesn't show up here. Sigh.
Bryantbryant on December 30th, 2012 06:23 am (UTC)
Re: quotes
I tested a couple -- Quotes Collection works well.
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on December 30th, 2012 02:42 am (UTC)
I worked a little with Annette AKA Jar O' Marbles, and she did a fabulous website for a friend of mine. You can contact her through http://jaromarbles.com/services.php and here is my friend's site, so you can see her work http://www.lisadidio.com/ I found her prices very reasonable and she is really fast and sweet.
kitmizkit on January 23rd, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
Belatedly, I actually agree with you regarding the sliders. I want something that somebody can click through to the next one on, or that will reload when the page reloads, but I have no wish for it to keep changing while a person stays on the page. Bligh.