My final new WordPress site design…really

So, I freshened up the site a bit this weekend. Why? The previous design just felt too heavy, dense and modular for my taste. I think the new design is much lighter and more aesthetically pleasing. I thinned some fonts, balanced out the colors, and added some organic shapes. It’s not perfect, but I think it looks and feels better. I also toned down some of the overt Apple imagery and dropped the Apple Dock metaphor. I created what I feel is a subtler logo, with subtler supporting art. The design still sports an Apple logo, but it’s a warped and blended into the clouds. I like it. I had fun.

I hope to keep this basic design, even if I decide to drop WordPress. And I am planning to drop WordPress. Next week, I’m turning back to a long-neglected topic promised in a previous post: the long-awaited WordPress vs RapidWeaver comparison. They are both wonderful tools. I’ve come to know them both well (in addition to this WordPress site, I’ve developed several RapidWeaver sites for friends and clients).

Still, I’ve concluded to go with neither WordPress or RapidWeaver when I next update this site. I’ve decided to turn to a new CMS on the block called ModX. I see it as a nice hybrid of the two that is full of promise and potential. It offers the flexibility I seek.

That’s not to say that I don’t like WordPress or RapidWeaver. Each has strengths. And each has weaknesses. I’m going to explore my view on both of these tools in the upcoming week. After that, I plan to steer towards a wider discussion about Content Management Systems, leading to my current infatuation with ModX.

Back in November, I said that I’d create a WordPress and RapidWeaver mock up of this site and offer it to anyone who wants it. I still intend to do this. The WordPress version is just about ready. I’m now tweaking it to ensure the CSS and XHTML validates. I also intend to develop a RapidWeaver template, simply because I really like this application and want to create a RW template!

Stay tuned.


  1. Hi, just wanted to say that I found your site design so beautiful that I tried to find out what kind of theme it was. But now I am reading that that you have designed it on your own. Congratulations! I haven’t heard of MODx before either and have started to take a look. The downsite of changing the CMS is that old URLs may no longer work, though

  2. Whoa, how have I not heard of ModX before? Mootools out of the box? Keyword-driven template code? The admin area even looks pretty humane and understandable.

    This is very intriguing. Do you have any experience yet with ModX’s stability? I saw it’s sub-1.0, but that sometimes means next to nothing with open source software. I’m personally hard-core into WordPress for my own sites, but I’m always on the lookout for easy-to-use CMSes for clients.

    Also, I really like your new design; I wasn’t much a fan of the blocky dock at the top of the old one, either; this one is a lot more open and inviting.

  3. Hi Ian – I’ve got ModX installed locally via MAMP and it’s been very stable. It’s quite easy to use. Conceptually, ModX templating is similar to RapidWeaver. The admin area is pretty good. I’ve been looking for a good CMS that offers more flexibility than WordPress for quite a while now. I’ve loaded up and tested Joomla, Drupal, CMS Made Simple, and ModX, and think I like the latter the best. I think it is operating on a different paradigm than the others – my sense is that it’s the first of a new breed of CMS that (I hope) points to the future. I’m banking on that…

    Thanks for the kind words about the new site design. I think it’s surely better, but I’m obviously not a graphic designer. It’s amazing to me: I know instantly what I like and don’t like when it comes to the designs of others, but I often get so married to design ideas in my head that I fail to see the forest for the trees on my own site! If nothing else, this site has been a great trial-and-error learning tool for me.

  4. Hi nomad: thanks, but the post you’re referring to is from the LAST site I designed which was from made from scratch. I just changed it a week or so ago to this one, and I think you’re referring to this current theme. If so, if you look at the style sheet of this site design, you’ll see that it’s a heavily modified version of
    “>Light by Elad Domb. I did all the mods, but the basic structure is from Domb’s Light. If you use Firefox with the plugin called the ‘Web Developer Toolbar’ you can easily view CSS style sheets for any site to see their origins, or at least glean some useful info. I haven’t actually decided if I’m keeping this theme yet. It’s still a work in progress. I will likely keep tweaking it until it is wholly unique, or I might ditch it for something new. I probably won’t migrate from WP anytime, as I once thought I would. I think it’s really a great platform and there are so many talented people out there making great themes. And I’ve invested enough time learning how to manipulate it, that I don’t see myself moving on. Still want to try ModX, though. By the way, the tabbed content on the sidebar is a free“ rel=”nofollow”>DHTML script from Dynamic Drive.

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