Welcome to the new version of A Dribble of Ink!

As you’ve likely noticed (and if you haven’t, refresh your browser!), A Dribble of Ink has a whole new look. I felt that the previous design (which had been around, in some form or another, since the start of the blog four-and-a-half years ago) was starting to look a little long in the tooth; so, it was time to re-launch A Dribble of Ink with a whole new look, an early celebration of its fifth birthday.

I coded the template myself from scratch using HTML5 and CSS3, which has a lot of benefits for you guys, my readers. It’s a heck of a lot faster (this template is 50% the size of the previous template and relies on far fewer image files), it’s easier for search engines to find content (semantic coding and streamlined structure), and, overall, the design and ‘look’ of the site is simpler and cleaner, allowing the content itself to shine.

If you want to experience all the new fun stuff, and have A Dribble of Ink look its best, make sure you’re using a modern browser like Chrome or Firefox. It’ll work just fine in Internet Explorer, but Microsoft are a little behind the curve in integrating the new HTML5 and CSS3 features.

In addition to this, I’ve switched away from my previous webhost (GoDaddy *shudder*) to a new host that is more friendly with WordPress, meaning general performance of A Dribble of Ink should improve immensely. I was aware of the lagginess and slow load-times of the site in recent months and have worked hard to fix this.

Feel free (and encouraged) to leave your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section here. I hope you like the new design!

  • Mihai A. March 19, 2012 at 1:52 am

    Looks great, Aidan! And indeed it seems to work faster. Still, I more looking forward to your posts ;)

  • Martin March 19, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Great news as your site has always taken an absolute age to load in the past. I’m not entirely keen on the cursive headline font though – it is a bit Reece’s Pieces.

  • Ken March 19, 2012 at 2:12 am

    Cool, I like the font choice but I think the links on the left hand side could use a darker shade of grey to make them standout more.

  • Natasa March 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Looks awesome! Good job on the coding :) I agree with Martin and Ken though. Also maybe the orange color should be changed for the hover link on the responses button? The orange-on-grey seems to clash.

  • Justin March 19, 2012 at 4:52 am

    It’s clean and neat, much better font. The orange is a bit… abrupt? But I don’t dislike it — it reminds me of a baseball card from the 1980s.

  • Rob B March 19, 2012 at 5:43 am

    In general, it’s clean and pops and I like the design. I don’t like the font, though. It isn’t easy on my eyes ata ll.

  • YetiStomper March 19, 2012 at 5:46 am

    It’s clean but I agree with Ken that the grey on the sidebar is too light. I don’t have as much of a problem with the orange but I liked the color scheme of the old ADoI.

  • D. D. Syrdal March 19, 2012 at 6:06 am

    I’m in awe of you doing the coding. I know a little html but never got into CSS.

    I have to agree, the orange is a little…erm…bright. Maybe a more reddish-orange? I like the clean look of the design though. Who’s your new host? I have a blog on Bluehost, but I’m probably going to be shutting that one down. No terrible probs with them, just can’t keep up with another blog.

  • The Literary Omnivore March 19, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I like the retro styling and the orange/grey combo—I think warm colors and grey go wonderful together. I’d ask for a darker shade of grey on the left sidebar; they do sort of fade.

  • Carl V. March 19, 2012 at 6:15 am

    Nice and clean! And orange is a favorite color so no complaints there.

  • Kendall March 19, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Groovy (though yes, a bit, um, orange…but so is my employer’s web site), but one suggestion:

    The “__ responses” link at the top uses the full URL instead of just linking to #comments, so the whole page reloads (at least in my browser, and I think this is how it would work in most or all). Links to anchors in a page should omit the full URL, IMHO.

  • Kendall March 19, 2012 at 7:36 am

    P.S. Um, I mean, of course, “Links to anchors on the same page…” ;-).

  • Diana March 19, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Lol, all those comments about orange, Edmonton and Irish comes to mind! Also wonder if commentors realize that their names are also in orange! Nice job Aidan! For old people the light grey sidebar could be a problem.

  • Paul March 19, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I dig! Love the orange, blue, and gray color scheme, too.

  • Carl Duzett March 19, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Side links are too gray, and the orange is too orange, and the names of the commenters is in too block-ish of a font.

    I like the style and direction, though. Feels like a diner for some reason.

  • ediFanoB March 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

    It is clean and neat. For me the grey on the sidebar is too light. Orange is not ma favorite color. I prefer the blue you see when you move the cursor over the header. Anyway the orange will not hinder me to visit your blog.

  • Aidan Moher March 19, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Thanks for all the feedback, people! For the most part, it seems like the change is a positive one!

    Of the changes suggested, there’s a clear consensus on the colour of the sidebar links, so I’ve gone ahead and changed those to a darker grey. They should be easier to read now. Refresh/clear your cache to see the difference.

    For those that don’t like the orange, stay turned. I have another feature coming down the pipeline that you might like.

    @Martin — I know, it was frustrating for me, too. Let me know if you see an improvement now. It should be noticeable.

    @Natasa — I also implemented a colour-change here. Let me know if you like it.

    @YetiStomper — Always living in the past, aren’t you? ;)

    @D. D. Syrdal — Thanks! I moonlight as a Web Developer, so it stands to reason that I *should* be able to do the coding myself! It’s quite rewarding.

    @Martin, Justin, The Literary Omnivore, and Carl — That’s the feel I was going for. Clean and retro. It might not be the most ‘SF/F’ choice, but I don’t feel like pigeon holing myself by using something that’s too ‘genre.’ I figured the font choice would be divisive.

    @Kendall — Good thinking. I’ll see what I can do there.

    @Paul — Thanks! That’s an extra special compliment coming from an artist like yourself.

    @Carl — The commenters names are in the same font as the body text. I plan on making some adjustments there, though.

    Glad you all (for the most part) like the new design! I’m very happy with it, but also plan on spending some time refining and adjusting it fluidly, to make sure your experience is as great as it can be.

  • Bryce March 19, 2012 at 9:56 am

    I really wanted to dislike it, I’m a curmudgeon at heart, but I have to say I’m convinced. I like it a lot. I really noticed the faster load as well, nice work.

  • Carl V. March 19, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Just wanted to point out that I think you responded to me based on something someone else said. No biggie other than to shift the comment to the person who did comment on font style. :)

  • Aidan Moher March 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Oops, two Carls! I was responding to D, not V.


    @Bryce — Thanks! If I can win over the curmudgeons, I’m sure I can win over anyone!

  • Jesse March 19, 2012 at 11:34 am

    I like the new design, but I gotta say it doesn’t really feel very “sci-fi/fantasy” to me. It feels more “americana diner” or something like that.

  • Gabriele March 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Very nice. Loads faster than the old version, too.

  • Dan Goodman March 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Just have to catch up with you now, eh Moher? I’m not a very good coder, so the design process is moving slowly, but hopefully I can get it up and running soon! As for the new design, I like it! Secondary orange on neutral gray. Transcendant, chic, and unique.

    By the way, how long did this take you?

  • Dan Goodman March 19, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    Sorry, I meant *transcendent.

  • Aidan Moher March 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Great to hear, Gabriele! Page-load speed was one of my priorities. The template itself uses almost exclusively HTML and CSS for design (no more having to load a 100+kb header image), so that is a big part of what you’re seeing.

    Thanks, Dan! Took me about two weeks of off-and-on work. 25 hours, maybe?

  • Bastard (@BastardBooks) March 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I really like the theme. It’s fun and a good balance between readability and spectacle. Personally, I like the orange.

  • Joel March 19, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    This might just be me but I hate it when clicking on the banner doesn’t take you back to the homepage. It breaks “The Laws of Usability” in my mind. What is the banner there for otherwise? (You can still keep the “Back to ADOI” link; redundancy never hurts.)

  • Aidan Moher March 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    That’s on the short list of upcoming features, Joel. Just had a last minute styling conflict that held it up.

  • Miles March 19, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Aw, man. I mean, don’t get me wrong – I love the fact the site loads faster now. The old blog, though, had this artsy ‘classic bookshop’ feel to it. This feels almost too modern!

  • Stefan (Far Beyond Reality) March 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Looks great, Aidan. The new look is crisp and clean, and loads a lot faster than the old one. It think it’s a huge improvement.

  • Kevin March 20, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I think the header throbs too much when a visitor hovers their cursor over the top, especially with the contrast of bright orange and gunmetal gray. Every element at the top of the page changes color and flashes; the effect makes me hesitate to move my mouse anywhere on the site lest I trip up a lightshow.

  • Chris M March 20, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Liking the new direction Aidan; very clean and unique (though I liked the previous template as well!). The orange banner does remind me of a confectionery store though haha. Good work!

  • Aidan Moher March 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    @Kevin — You know what, I kind of agree. I’ll be toning some of that down in the next update. Thanks!

    @Chris — Cheers! I like the confectionary store analogy. :)

  • Eli March 21, 2012 at 6:56 am

    That title font – ouch! I find it very hard to read.

  • Mike March 21, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Love the new design! I love the snazzy CSS3 color transform on the blog title and I do really enjoy the @font-family property. I don’t think Lobster works as great for names in the comments; the letters blur together a bit. Others have pointed out that the gray on gray can be a bit difficult on the eyes.

  • Aidan Moher March 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    Thanks, Mike! Kind words from someone who understands the tech behind some of these changes. :)

    @Everyone — I’ve gone ahead and implemented some of the suggested changes, all of which have helped with the overall usability and readability of the site.

    Some of which are:

    • ‘A Dribble of Ink’ is now clickable in the header, bringing you back to the top level of the blog.
    • The ‘Of Fantasy and Science Fiction…’ no longer has any rollover properties.
    • Post titles are the same font, but are now easier to read.
    • Added an RSS subscription button to sidebar

    So, thanks!

  • Raphael March 22, 2012 at 4:05 am

    I have to agree with Jesse. The old theme had a scribbly (ink-dribbly?) charm that is gone now. The new theme is fine, it is just nothing … special. Maybe you can get some of the feeling back with a header image?

    More performance is great, loading the site took quite a while at times.