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    January 03, 2008

    A new look for a new year

    Posted by: Chris

    Bettybeforeafter After 15 months on the blogosphere as Citizen Crain, I thought it was long past time for a makeover. The old design was adequate, borrowing some patriotic-ish colors from the TypePad template. But the new one puts my own "stamp" on the blog.

    This new design actually pre-dates the old TypePad design. When I first prepared to launch the blog in October '06, I used Apple's iWeb software to create a design that played off of the newspaper "Citizen Kane" idea as well as a spy theme, since the blog name also brings that to mind.

    After hours playing with the design and preparing to launch, I discovered that as good as iWeb was for design, it pretty much sucked as blog management software: no comments (!) or many of the other basic blog elements that we've all come to know and love.  Apple may have improved iWeb since, but I ditched it off the bat and headed to TypePad.

    When I thought about a redesign, I looked around at the blogs I thought had the coolest look, among them the gay blog Scott-o-rama. (He has since done another redesign that I'm less crazy about.)  I checked out the designer responsible, Lisa Sabin-Wilson from E Webscapes Design, and was very impressed with the other blog designs she had done.

    So I signed up with Lisa, and showed her my old iWeb design template.  She souped it up and improved it considerably and now you see the results. My thanks to Lisa for all her hard work and patience with me. We still have some tweaks in the works, so feel free to offer up your suggestions -- as some of you have already done in response to the last post I had up under the old design.

    There will be some adjustment, of course.  I still remember when we launched the redesign of the Washington Blade in early 2002, the paper's first new look in more than a decade. You would have thought we went ex-gay.  But within weeks, readers adjusted and the response we got was overwhelmingly positive (and it's still in use today).

    As for the blog redesign, I don't expect to please all of the people even some of the time, but I'm excited to take the new look public.  And stay tuned -- there are more changes at the blog still to come!



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    1. Citizen Crain on Jan 3, 2008 12:11:12 PM:

      A few thoughts in response to comments about the redesign from folks...

      Double T, I agree that it's a bit "busy" at the top. I'm going to drop the ad above the top ad post. I think that will help a lot. Other than that, there really aren't any new elements and the old design was very "beginner blogger".... ;)

      David, the quote is actually a mistake! I ran the Margaret Mead quote for a long time but switched to Rita Mae Brown's. My designer grabbed the old quote so we're working on that replacement. I like Rita Mae's better because she is gay and she expresses so well the gist of our message -- and even uses the word 'citizen' in doing so!

      Thanks for the heads up about the 'Preview' bug. Will definitely be sorting that out.

    1. Randy on Jan 3, 2008 1:59:42 PM:

      Just wanted to say that I was once a client of Lisa's (my first blog) and she is a fantastic designer! I think the new style for your blog looks really good.

      Now about that content ... :)

    1. North Dallas Thirty on Jan 3, 2008 9:16:41 PM:

      This looks fine in Safari and Explorer, but Firefox....uh.....Buenos Aires, we have a problem....

    1. Michael Crawford on Jan 4, 2008 9:46:34 AM:


      The new design is fantastic! It makes your blog much easier to read and is much easier on the eye.

      I am definitely having blog envy as I am stuck with my beginner blogger design template.

      I wish you continued success.

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