The Diva Wakes Up: A Redesign

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.”

– Mary Oliver

I love the Web.

I’m so very lucky it happened along when it did. It could so easily have been otherwise.

When I discovered it, one dreary day in February, 1994, I was a 42-year old librarian. That day I unpacked NCSA’s now mostly-forgotten Mosaic browser and I tumbled into Oz.

I’d become a librarian because I loved sharing information. Given that orientation, it took only a split second to see implications of the Web. In other words, I went head-over-heels. I dove in, learning to code for my fellow librarians and have never, ever regretted it.

To the contrary. My wonder grows each year.

This year, when I’m fortunate to have retired and have more time, I stumbled into a goal of expressing through code my celebration of and gratitude for this astonishing medium. It gives me such happiness. And I hope it does you too.

With this latest redesign, I wish to honor the merging of the rapidly-evolving Web and healthy, life-affirming spiritual growth — what I think of as the Awakening Web. It’s my geeky paean to the wonder and beauty and possibility of the Web.

In particular, I’ve aspired to capture this spirit in the code, layout, and design of a new accessible WordPress theme. The three most important pieces (the things that made a full redesign mandatory) are:

  • Playing with the golden ratio. Some say it the bee’s knees for design. Others scoff. Me — I’m just a librarian. What do I know? I’m just trying it on for size — thanks to Susy. You should be able to see this “golden” proportion on a computer (as long as your browser is set at a normal size), on a tablet in landscape mode, or on a mobile phone in portrait mode. One thing I’ve figured out already about the golden ratio and the Web: there’s an awkward adolescent size between about 500 and 800 pixels where the golden ratio isn’t possible for all orientations. For those sizes, I eyeballed it.
  • Using the most simple, elegant, modern code I can. In particular, I’ve minimized the use of JavaScript and maximized the use of Sass and SVG. More on this in later posts.
  • Longing for a look-and-feel that inspired me to blog more. For whatever reasons, I care deeply about the beauty of websites — in particular their colors and whitespace. My previous themes were fine, some even good when they first came out, but they weren’t responsive — and that’s mandatory nowadays. My most recent actually was responsive, but it was only a patch to tide me through. It was adequate — and I wanted more than that.
  • Finally, a little secret to share…. I also love to write. That’s why I wanted a site design that drew me in.

I’m pretty rusty at writing. But… drum roll… November is a writing month. I’ve committed to doing at least one blog post per week through the 30th. If writing feels as good as it used to, then I expect I’ll keep it up.

For writing too is just another grand experiment in this medium I love… more playing in a glorious, seemingly-infinite sandbox.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life…
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

– Mary Oliver

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