July 5, 2009

Blog

Welcome to The Art of Manliness Redesign

I’m sure many of you noticed that The Art of Manliness was down for maintenance this weekend. In between scarfing down burgers and watching fireworks, we were busy rolling out the redesign of the site. Welcome to AoM 2.o.

I’ve been wanting to redesign the site for awhile now. When I first started AoM back in 2008, I did the design myself. I thought it was pretty good for a law student who had a few months of HTML under his belt, but I knew it could have been better. So I decided to call in long time AoM reader and bad-a web designer, Eric Granata to help me give Art of Manliness a facelift. Eric did a fantastic job. He’s a talented and smart designer who had the ethos and feel of Art of Manliness down pat and was able to deliver us a redesign that knocked our socks off. If you’re looking for a graphic/web designer, definitely check out Eric. I wholeheartedly recommend him. Thanks, Eric!

So, what’s new?  Here’s a quick rundown:

  • Simplified layout. We tried to make things simpler and cleaner looking.  We got rid of the magazine style layout and replaced it with a simple chronological layout like you see on most blogs. At the top we put a featured post rotator where we can put some of our favorite posts front and center. Underneath that you’ll find a list of posts in chronological order. Much easier on the eyes, if I do say so myself. We’ve also moved to just one sidebar column instead of two to further clean up the design.
  • Better Navigation. We’ve done some things to improve navigation on the site. At the top we’ve added a nav bar with all our main categories. If you’re just interested in a particular subject, just click on a corresponding link at the top and enjoy the archives from that category. We’ve also included a tab box in the sidebar where you can easily see our most popular and most recent articles. Finally, on each individual post, we’ve included links at the bottom that  easily let you navigate to the previous or next post and also related posts.
  • Vintage design. Art of Manliness is known for it’s old timey manliness vibe. We upped it a bit with some nice visual flourishes like the manly wood paneling on the sides and top and the cool vintage engravings in the sidebar.
  • Barbershop Locator and Community Buttons. We wanted to make our famous Barbershop locator easier to find, so we had Eric whip up a cool looking button for the sidebar. Also, he made a nice looking button for our manly community section on the site. Just one click and you’re interacting with thousands of men who are interested in manning up.
  • Featured Video. We’ve been doing more how-to videos, and we wanted a place where readers could have easy access to them, so we made a featured video square in the sidebar. Anytime we put out a new video, look for it there.
  • Gravatars in the comments. These were added to give more of a community feel to the comments.  Basically, it’s just a little photo or picture next to each comment. You can go to Gravatar.com to sign up for a free account (you just give them your email, not anything personal) and add a simple photo. You don’t have to sign up for a Gravatar in order to leave a comment. If you leave a comment without a gravatar, a default John Sullivan icon will be left.

For those of you who blog, we’re now using the Thesis WordPress Theme. Check it out. Very easy to use and customize and it’s great for SEO.

That’s pretty much it. We’ll be tweaking stuff over the next few days and adding some finishing touches. Let us know what you think!


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