The Page Is Equal to Its Content

When I first (re)started this blog I wanted to create a custom theme. I wanted it to be personal and a space of my own that reflected who I was and what I was writing about. I didn’t have the urge to do this for the sake of designing something. It is true that I didn’t want my blog, which I am very proud to say is running on Octopress, to use the same old default Octopress theme that everyone using Octopress either never changes or only tweaks the colors for.

But why is that? At first it was a gut feeling but today, after reading a few blogs that had the feeling I wanted mine to have, I am able to articulate it. The reason I need a custom theme is not to show off as a designer or to stand out. It’s because I realized that the content and the page its on have a special relationship to each other and when a well designed page meets the right content, your message gains credibility.

Right now my blog does not have that feeling I’m going for. I realize that the content is all mashed together and nothing has any room to breathe. I get that the sidebar is distracting. I’m aware of all the flaws that this blog’s design has. But that’s okay because I plan to iterate. I built the theme, which I call Spartn, in just 3 days and at the time I was clueless as to how Octopress themes worked. Right now it takes a lot of effort to read through an entire post. The page does not equal the content. In this case the content is too good for the page.

When you write, particularly a blog, how people perceive you is directly impacted by the content that isn’t the main attraction. I’m talking about widgets and sidebars and such. If your page has a ton of distracting sidebar content you’re basically telling your visitors {“ Don’t let this blog post distract you from my sidebars and widgets. ”} You’re in danger of coming off as trying to sell people something which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but often leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths.

Going forward I’m going to take the time to turn Spart’n, this Octopress theme, into a series of pages worthy of the content they’ll hold. I’m not anybody special but I do have a lot of value to share with people and while I’m not one of those Internet-famous people whose blogs are linked to everywhere and spout off as if they’re the final authority on XYZ what I write does deserve a page worthy of its content because the content is good.

Others out there have equally compelling content and they deserve the same great page. That’s why I’ll be keeping Spart’n open source and on GitHub and I’ll continue to use the latest test version right here on this blog until it is complete.

A design lends credibility and a sense of permanence. I want this blog to read like a timless work. Okay, that’s a little hyperbolic but you know what I mean. The words should have weight even when the text conveys a joke. I’m serious about this whole blogging thing and when I do something, I do it right.

Design, Thoughts

« The Self-Taught Developer's Guide to Getting Paid In Need of Recharging »