I’ve been thinking about Good Web Design of late, and wondering if Gadgetophile doesn’t need a bit of a makeover. It was only recently that I hacked the latest design together from another WordPress template, but I can’t help feeling that it’s a little bit cluttered.

I’ve embraced advertising since the last redesign, and the constant battle between keeping some decent space for content, and getting the ads ‘above the fold’ is wearing thin. I don’t love the ads, but they certainly help to cover the bandwidth bills, so I’ll be keeping them around. I’d really love to get a bit more white space and a more modern ‘feel’. Any comments or suggestions on layout are more than welcome.

Working from examples is a good start, so here are some things that I like:

  • is nice and clean, but maybe not really good for a blog? Perhaps the support page?
  • A Small Orange (my current, highly recommended hosts) have a nice clean layout. Too sparse?
  • 9Rules seems to be a reasonable example of how to make a ‘busy’ site look clean.
  • Kleber is a bit more left-field, but very clean nonetheless.

The interesting thing is that all of the above are fixed-width designs. I wanted to get away from fixed-width with the current layout, because it looks crap under lower resolutions, but who am I kidding? Does anyone run less than 800×600 these days? 1024? I guess fixed-width gives a lot more control over layout, which is important when creating a clean, professional look. So that’s the first decision: back to fixed-width. Two-column too probably. Bigger fonts are on the cards, as is more space between/around posts, and between posts and sidebars.

I’m going to delve into a bit of a stream-of-conciousness here… two columns means dropping some content from the sidebar. What should stay, and in what order? I think the syndication stuff is fairly important, so I’ll keep that first. RSS feed and contact details. Validation link can go. Recent comments seems to spike discussion so I might keep that. Ads probably have to come next to keep them ‘above the fold’. Might experiment with an adsense banner and/or inter-post adsense instead of skyscraper, and keep blogads on the one sidebar. Older posts and blogroll are fluff – they can go. Drop category list and search, and any other ‘utility’ stuff at the bottom.

Keep an eye out. I think this will be an iterative thing, with frequent changes and mods until I get things looking slick. Comments welcome.

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