Alright over the past couple days (well today and yesterday) I’ve been tinkering around with a new layout here for Tyler Ingram dot Com. It’s not an entirely new layout, but right off the bat you probably have noticed the various changes I implemented.
Why Change the Layout?
Some people fear change, I love change (well for the most part). I wanted a new layout that would give more emphasis on my Photography. After all, I seem to do more blog posts on Photography than anything else really.
Some of you know about http://www.tyleringramphotos.com. It was a photoblog that I ran somewhat separately from this site, but I found over time, I would be just repeating a lot of the same photos. I tried to make the photoblog more of a portfolio site, but decided to just let it go and concentrate my photo efforts here.
I also wanted to change it up before our trip down to Costa Rica. My camera is coming with me and I will be sure to post magnificent photos of the area we will be in, and thought increasing the space for photos here would be a good idea.
I pushed the navigation menu up above the entire site. I thought it was a nice way of getting it out of the way.
I expanded the width of the site to 1000 pixels wide. This will help accommodate the size of the photos I wish to display which will be 800 pixel wide. This also eliminates the need for using the Lightbox that the 500 pixel wide photos currently use. According to Flickr’s ToS, the use of the lightbox technically takes away from the experience of using Flickr, so I guess that is a bad thing.
The header image is still pulled from my Flickr stream at random. I increased the length to the full 1000 pixels wide and increased the height to 250 pixels. this gives a much larger header image. Because my photos are typically 800 pixels wide on Flickr, I did use PHP’s GD Library to increase the size of the photo. There is small loss of quality of course, but I still think it looks really cool.
You will notice a “Featured Post’ slideshow. It is Ajax based and loads with both Firefox and IE (why are you using IE still anyway). I haven’t had time to play in the other browsers, but according to the place I got it from, it’s supposedly compatible. Let me know if you experience issues with it. I think it’s cool and have always wanted one.
I got rid of my Sidebar. Yup, I started hating it anyway. I’ve moved the Categories, Recent Posts and Recent Comments to the footer of the site. This keeps the main focus hopefully on my big beautiful photos. Right?
The main content will accommodate my 800 pixel wide photos, with room to spare. After all, since I love Photography so much, I thought it would be best to share the photos in a nice, large way. Such as this photo:
Isn’t that beautiful? The rising sun off the beaches of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. If you have to scroll to see that photo, you really need to upgrade your monitor. Though technically you should still be able to see most of it on a 1024×768 resolution, but I don’t know why you’re running your resolution that low to begin with.
Added some cute little Social Media icons near the header. No need to show how many people follow me right?
The main page (index page) will show up to 5 posts with excerpts along with a 500 pixel wide photo. The excerpt code is custom, which includes a custom call to the WordPress database (MySQL) so strips out any HTML it sees. It works better than the default WordPress function the_excerpt(), or at least I think so. I also have a function that pulls the first image from the post and uses it as a 500 pixel wide thumbnail, same as before but that was 100 pixel wide. I also tweaked it a bit to load quicker (hopefully).
I guess that is about it. There have been some little tweaks to the code here and there. Primarily to the code that handles the recreation of images for the various locations on my site.
I’m sure I’ll tweak things as I find them. If you notice anything out of place, don’t hesitate to tell me here via Comments, Twitter or even contact me via my Contact me page.
I will be writing a small WordPress plugin to deal with my contact form. Currently I use cFormsII but it is just too much and always gets stuck in my spam filter. I will look at creating a small, simple (or minimalist) contact form.
I might look at creating a WordPress plugin to better handle the “Featured Post” Slide show. For now it is changed manually (via HTML).
What do you think?
I’m alright with criticism. If you like it, what do you like about it? If you don’t like it, what part(s) and what would you do to make it better? Let me know via the comments section!