Redesign Projects Over the Thanksgiving Break

November 26th, 2007 · No Comments · Category: Design · Design and Development · WordPress newHoliday breaks are a great time for getting personal projects done. I decided to redesign two of my personal sites. One is Film Tops, a film blog and the other is, my personal website that I converted into a blog for easier updating and maintenance. Both and Film Tops are hosted on one account with Lunarpages but have separate installations of WordPress. is the main domain and redirects to

I’ve been wanting to do these redesigns for a long time now. Let’s take a look at first. The two images on the side here are the old website (top) and the new blog (bottom). The goal here was to make updating easier especially considering I have so much going on right now and not time to waste fiddling around with code unnecessarily. I built origninally using PHP, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Most of the JavaScript is used for displaying pages from a click of a link in the top portion, blue area, to the dynamic load area on the bottom portion, white area. I used PHP to make it easier to load the navigations on the bottom right side in the white area since they vary given what page you’re on. Everything else is HTML and CSS. I had fun building this site originally a couple of years back when I started using PHP. I especially loved having the data for my “kemipedia” (random facts about me) and the links to my favorite websites dynamically imported from a database, which was also replaced with new facts and new links, respectively, whenever the page reloaded.

Film Tops originalBecause this was a quick redesign, sort of, I didn’t add these elements in the new site. I might add the “kemipedia” later on. I replaced the links from the database I created with a simple copy & paste piece of JavaScript from my account to show a tag cloud of all the tags used to bookmark websites using On the sidebar of you’ll see a section called “Del.icio.usLove” that displays the tag cloud.

Other than that, all the elements and pages in the original website were transferred and rearranged into the new blog, including the color scheme and logo. I used WP-Polaroid theme to redesign I liked the layout and simplicity.

Next up, Film Tops. Film Tops was more of a refresh than a redesign. The layout remained the same, the logo and the content was changed to refocus the blog on what I liked to blog most, lists and reviews.

I haven’t had much time to post at Film Tops and was looking to create a simpler film blog where only a couple of categories would require new material more frequently than others. Film Tops was originally created so I could just write “top lists” of whatever I could come up with that was film related. Then recently I decided I wanted also to feature reviews and star ratings for the reviews. I used the star rating plugin from Channel AI to create a revised reviews section, which replaced a “looking forward” section which displayed images of upcoming films I wanted to see (see pic). The “top lists” are still the main feature but the reviews are featured along side it. The cool thing about the star-rating plugin is that you can not only archive the reviews so that the title of the post and the overall rating (4 stars, 5 stars, etc.) show as an excerpt, but also, you can display a table of a certain number or all of the reviews posted. The table is sortable by title, rating and date. It’s a great plugin.

Film Tops newThe goal for redesigning Film Tops was to make it so it could be more “fresh” than it was. It was too much for me to keep blogging for various categories for numerous topics. There are already tons of film blogs that do this. Who needs another. Besides, I wanted the focus to be on what I originally started the blog for, the lists and the reviews. The previous sidebar was all over the place. Because I needed this blog to require lower maintenance and I want to refocus the blog on the lists and reviews, I moved the categories further down on the sidebar, placed the subscribe and searching areas prominently, and the rest of the sidebar is populated with dynamic content coming from other websites like box office info, links, DVD release and movie news feeds and even a dynamic calendar of movie releases provided by and Google Calendar.

I was also inspired to change the logo which is based on a logo I created some years ago for something else and was never used. I especially wanted the logo to be more distinct and strong. I believe this was achieved.

I plan on doing a bit more to this blog such as creating feed subscription options for the “top lists” and reviews specifically, adding more “notable quotables” and perhaps adding a navigation at the top in the black strip. This is the great thing about WordPress, you can start simple and build strong.

So, there you have it: What I did on my Thanksgiving break. School’s out.

back to top


Comments begin below:

0 responses so far ↓

  • There are no comments yet...Kick things off by filling out the form below.

Leave a Comment

back to top