Redesigning Author Buzz UK

Progress
1

Author Buzz UK is to get a whole new look.

I posted recently about creating a WordPress Theme Framework. The idea is that it should be something that can be used as a foundation to build author-centric themes for WordPress.

As I said in my last post, I am not a natural designer. This design lark is hard for me. However, let me talk you through what we have planned.

Community first approach.

Our current design, attractive though it is, presents the main blog first and hides the community on other pages. With our new design, the news feed will be front and centre. That means that the things you say and do and share will become our new front page content.

Hopefully, this will increase traffic and attention for our members. It will do this in two ways.

First, visitors to the site will see what you are sharing when they first arrive. That means it will be faster and easier to find things that interest you. If your content is interesting to the site’s visitors then your content is what they will go and look at. That was always what we wanted, so this is something we are quite excited about.

Second, by putting your content front and centre search engines, like Google, will find your content and your profile more easily. This should result in your profiles and your blog posts benefiting from search traffic. Of course, your content still needs to be interesting and relevant but we will have done our part by getting out of the way and letting your work speak for itself.

Built for reading.

We will be taking the best practices established by far smarter people than me and applying it to the readability of the site. That means focusing on the words per line, line height, font choices, and other factors that impact readability ion different screens.

If we get things right, and I am doing my best to make that happen, Author Buzz will be easy to read and easy to use.

Built for speed.

The new look will be crafted from our new framework to be as fast as humanly possible. That means creating a theme that is good only for the main site. By doing that we can reduce the amount of work the theme has to do to work out what it needs to know.

Normally, a theme starts by making no assumptions about the blog it will be presenting. What we can do in this case, is make a lot of safe assumptions because we know exactly what it is presenting and how. that simplifies a lot of the page presentation process which can be optimised for the cache system right out of the gate.

Furthermore, we can plan a lot more “static” content which, again, will be faster.

A bit of a headache for me.

If you were wondering why all of the blogs I write for have had fewer posts, this new update is why.

It turns out that designing a whole theme framework is hard enough but taking the responsibility for making sure so many moving parts move together, well, that is a lot of work. Don’t get me wrong, as a development geek I am enjoying this work but it is far from quick to get done.

I am sure our beta testers will report a whole new collection of fun bugs for me to squash when we are ready to transition over.

I better get back to it.

Might be an idea (if you haven’t thought about it already) to put a ‘try our new beta site’ link on the main page when you think it’s ready for public consumption

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