Today I mocked up some ideas for my next personal site design (and eventually my third Wordpress theme), which I'm tentatively calling Tigris (following my penchant for naming these things after really old stuff). This is nothing like what it started out as, but I'm fairly pleased with the result. It's not quite as original looking as I hoped, but my early more crazy ideas gave way to the need to actually display content and not get in the way of that content. I'd like to give an overview of my thoughts on the design and ask for feedback and constructive criticism. First, take a look at the mockups (JPG, about 350-400k each, 1100x700; the actual site will be 900 pixels wide): Home page (blog) Sample blog post with comments Article Tech page What I was aiming for was several things: Separate metadata from the posts into a third column on the right, creating a pseudo-three-column look Create an easy flow of navigation A polished, modern look A mix of dark (like my first ground-up theme, Atlantis) and light (my site's current theme, Athens) elements to create a bold look with black and dramatic colors, but still leave the main content easily readable (dark text on light background) Here's a few little things I personally really like about this design so far; tell me if I'm off-base: The sunken "arrows" that overlap into the preceding column, indicating what belongs with what. Kind of a visual hierarchy. Notice in the "Tech" (green) screenshot is an example of the live search being used; note the sunken triangular arrow in the right column now pointing up to the search box, because that's what that content belongs with. If the user clears the search field, that arrow will disappear and the right column will return to displaying metadata about the "Clearing the Jewel" page. I love little things like that. Shininess, but not too much. At least I think so. Bold colors. I always try to make use of strong colors, presenting a different color "theme" for each major section of my site. Separation of metadata. This isn't as much a feature of this design as it is going to be a function when I write the theme. If you note the "Related Links" sections in the metadata column on a couple of the mockups...I plan on writing a function that will, via a regular expression, extract all the links from the post that are incorporated into the post itself and, using their "title" attribute, make a list of them in the metadata section. I plan on doing this because I have observed people using blogs and my blog in particular, and some of them, for some reason, have trouble finding links when you just randomly incorporate them into a paragraph, even if they're a bright color. So I figured having a list of links referred to by the post would be helpful. Here's what I'm not so sure of/not so proud of: As it evolved, I suddenly realized it looks a lot like an Apple interface, or at least parts of it do. It sort of ticks me off. I wasn't looking at anything as a reference when I designed it, but I guess the rounded corners on some elements and a couple other details really make it look Apple. I don't know if I'm sold on the navigation scheme. I want people to be able to easily go back up a level no matter where they are in the site. Take a look at the "Article" and "Tech" mockups to see the navigation system in action. Does it make sense? I'm thinking of doing a soft sliding effect when you click on the major sections as well. I like hierarchical breadcrumbs, but I can't find anywhere to put them. For example, on the "Article" sample, the breadcrumb would be "Home / Articles / ". I use that on my site now and you can click on any part of the breadcrumb to go back to that level. The problem with this design is that no matter where I put them they look out of place. If I put them above the main title, it ruins the balance and clean lines of the top black area. If I put them in the main content area (at the top of the white area), it looks cluttered up there. I think I may just have to forgo them. Sorry for the long post. I really like to talk things out. This is going to be absolutely hellacious to turn into XHTML/CSS and then a Wordpress theme, but I think I'm going to do it. Let me know what you think, thanks!