For most of you, loading up SDavis Media to find a new design is totally normal. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a redesign addict… mainly because I never like anything I produce for more than 72 hours.
There’s something different about this redesign, though. Unlike other times, this wasn’t about how the site looks. This redesign was focused on purpose. What exactly did I want to accomplish with every single page of the site? What were my goals?
In finding answers to these questions, the new design shaped itself. All I had to do was pick the colors. Seriously.
Pages That Serve A Purpose
The first thing you’ll notice is the new homepage. No longer is it sporting the blog feed. Why? Because SDavis Media is more than just a blog.
This is a company website serving as the hub for everything I do online. That means the Volatyl Framework and any of my other projects are every bit a part of the site as the blog is.
Likewise, blogs are almost expected these days. So bringing special attention to the blog no longer makes sense to me. As a result:
- The homepage now highlights every “SDavis Media Project” displayed like a pricing/features table.
- The blog is represented by a simple link in the main menu. I think it will be searched for whether I highlight it or not.
Plus, when someone visits this site, I would rather them check out the Volatyl Framework than read my latest blog post. Being honest with myself about that completely changed my homepage approach.
I have always kept my internal pages to a minimum. Besides your typical “contact,” “about,” and “subscribe” pages, I only have a few more that are specific to my design/developer profession.
What I did, though, was strip these pages of almost all site elements except for the header and footer. Each of them rocks a bold headline clearly stating its purpose and then gets right into the copy. As a result:
- No one page is clouded by the details of another page or goal of the site.
- The design of each page could be built based on the page content itself without the influence of a site-wide structure.
The simple truth is that if I’m going to have a “Contact” link in my menu, I want the chances of you contacting me to be very high when you visit that page. Otherwise, I’m just wasting space.
Believe it or not, the blog and its templates are the only places you’ll see the actual structure of my WordPress theme on this site. Everything else is custom and purpose-driven.
The blog, however, is designed to look like a blog. That means something to visitors. Whether I call it a blog or not, when you see a list of linked article titles accompanied by an image, an excerpt, and a link to read more, you know what to expect.
There’s no reason for me to confuse you there. It is a blog so I want you to want to read the articles.
Purpose still matters, though. This is where I decided to switch things up a bit.
No Sidebars on the Blog
When you visit the main blog feed, I want you to read something… period. Your opportunity to subscribe, get in contact, see what SDavis Media is all about, or learn about the bald guy is established elsewhere. As a result:
- Besides the header and footer, you have nothing to look at but my articles.
- You will not be faced with another decision to make until you finish reading an entire article.
To get this kind of focus out of a visitor, sidebars had to go. I had to be honest with myself and accept the fact that you’re not going to subscribe, share, or do anything else for me until you trust me or my content.
Again, any attempt call you to action before then is a waste of space. As a result:
- The content is centered since most of you are centered on your computer screens (crazy… I know).
- Contrast is high. Unlike the internal pages, the blog articles do not imply an obvious task. You must read first. So making the content easily readable was key. Typography, contrast, and minimal distractions was the focus from the top to the bottom of every article.
If you make your way to the bottom of the article, you’ll see how simple things are once again. Why do I need a big presentation on why to share my content? It’s 2013. Most everyone knows what social media buttons mean, right? Of course.
So I want you to do two things here and one needs to come before the other because one forces you to leave the page while the other doesn’t.
- Share the article that you’ve already read (crazy again, huh?) with your network.
- Subscribe to my blog for updates like the one you just read.
Notice that I didn’t tell you about myself with an author box. Is that bad practice? Not really. But is it my goal to tell you who I am and link you to other things once you’ve finished reading my article? Not at all.
I also left out promotions. I have an entire WordPress framework to promote. I left it out because that won’t always be a logical call to action after an article. If it needs to be the call to action for an article, it will be in the article.
The only thing you can do outside of share my article or leave a comment is subscribe.
If article content is focused and the related calls to action are in the content, the aforementioned actions are the only remaining moves that make sense after a read.
They get the spotlight in a straight-forward manner.
What else is there to do on SDavis Media?
Really, what more can I ask of my visitors? Go to the page you need to perform a specific action or read the blog and let me request an action from you.
With this way of thinking, sidebars just didn’t make sense anymore. In fact, drop down menus didn’t make sense either.
The focus of the site is so sharp that only a few pages were required, removing the need to bundle them up into drop-down menus.
This approach won’t be for everyone. It’s not a foreign concept, though. Even some default WordPress themes have implied this thinking.
It may be a while before most web publishers and designers start thinking this way but I definitely think the day will come.
One page equals one goal. That’s all there is to it. What are your thoughts?