Out with the Old, In with the New

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You might have noticed a slight(!) change to this site. Just to refresh - here’s the before and after pictures.

I built this site myself, using Drupal, and I’ve enjoyed and hope to continue enjoying playing around with this CMS - adding features (GoodReads lists, MailChimp sign-ups), removing features (polls, forums).

Mostly this is a site refresh. I built it originally with the Dark Elegant free theme from Devsaran. I modified the CSS a lot, and made a few small changes to templates. I also added a stunning image from NASA as the background.

This thumbnail does not do the image just. You'll just have to trust me that it is beautiful in its full glory.

I liked the site, but became unhappy with a few specific issues. First, my lovely image was too damned big, took too long to load, but optimizing it degraded the image too much. If the image remained, my site would forever be a very slow loading site. It had to go. I briefly put in the tiled background that the site came with, but that was never aesthetically pleasing to me (and I am by far the site’s most frequent viewer).

My second problem was that the site broke on mobile. Frankly, it sucked, was unusable. My Google Analytics showed that almost a third of visitors (excluding me) were visiting from small screens. I tried two different work-arounds, both based on swapping in mobile themes when a mobile browser was detected, but neither really worked.

So I went looking for another free theme, one that I would like, even if it meant excluding the space imagery. A couple of days ago I found the Professional Responsive free theme from Zymphonies. I’ve been toying with it on my development site and have just set it here on the live version. It’s still not perfect on the iPhone, but it’s much more legible (and free, so who’s to complain?).

I hope you like the new site. Any feedback is welcome, if you find a problem, notification of that is appreciated.