This week marks the three year anniversary of my Microsoft blog, and to celebrate, I spent some time coming up with a new look; I hope you like it. The prior purple style—while unique to MSDN blogs—was starting to look a little tired. Okay...maybe a lot tired.
Before embarking on any redesign, I fiddle around with a lot of conceptual ideas in Photoshop. I visit other sites for inspiration, and I flip through the design books I keep on my shelves. After I've settled on a concept that I like, I spend time trying to implement it using CSS overrides. You see, the MSDN blog site has around 55 different themes that I can choose from, and frankly, you've probably seen all of them. I can't simply add a new template (like I could if I ran my own Community Server site), so I have to find a base theme that's close to what I'm looking for, then provide custom CSS overrides to achieve the look I'm after. It's a good bit of work. As an aside, our new Expression Web product has a fantastic CSS feature-set, and it made this redesign much easier than in the past.
I'm somewhat surprised that I chose the look that I did, if only because of those "Web 2.0" reflections I have up there in the new header. You know what I'm talking about...it seems like all Web 2.0 sites have a highly polished and reflective surface somewhere on the page. And thank goodness my name doesn't end with "er," or I'd have to drop the "e" and add a different colored "r" to the end of my name...like "Mikr Swanson" or something. Oh...and it'd have to be in beta. Nothing Web 2.0 ever comes out of beta. 🙂
Anyway, I hope the new design is a bit more "open," fresh, and readable. I switched to a serif typeface for the body text, because it can run for more than a few inches per line, especially if you have a widescreen monitor. I prefer sites that adapt to my browser width. I also moved the sidebar from the left to the right, updated my photo to something more current, and opened up the line spacing for increased readability.
Let me know what you think.