Behold! The New SYEL Design and Why I Changed It

by | Last updated Apr 21, 2017 | SYEL Site News | 11 comments

Screenshot of the new look and feel of SYEL

As you can probably see, I made some big changes to the look and feel of the site this weekend.

I didn't hate the old design, in fact, I am still quite proud of it. It was really the first website I have ever done all of the design work (CSS “coding” & layout) myself from top to bottom.

It was a labor of love — and one that I spent way too much time tweaking!

I learned a ton in the process. So, even though I probably should have spent more of my time writing posts for the website, I can't say I regret any of it.

But, it's been a couple years now, and we are all accessing the internet in new and different ways. We aren't always surfing on a nice big laptop or desktop screen anymore. Now it's smart phones and tablets, and my website always needs to grow and adapt to the ways in which you would like to access it.

Revamp Begins

So at the beginning of this year, I began working on a completely “re-thought out” design. Which means I went and spent a whole lot more time tweaking again. (sigh)

Here's an example of the mess that was flowing through my head for the past 10 months:

Curtis, should this font size for this header text be 23 points or 24 points? I dunno. Hmm. Oh nice. A dropshadow looks really good on this text. I wonder what color gray I should make it? Hex code (color) #ABABAB or #BABABA?

And it was also a lot of thinking about how I wanted to present the information on my site. I wanted a completely new layout.

Screenshot of the old look and feel of Scan Your Entire Life's Home Page

SYEL's previous Home Page look and feel.

Screenshot of Scan Your Entire Life's new improved Home Page look and feel

SYEL's new and improved design.

As you can see in my original design, I had high hopes of having my homepage present a lot of information in more of a “magazine” style. Lots of different types of information in columns and boxes.

But, over time, I realized two things:

  1. Quantity: I spend more of my time producing quality posts than quantity. I just haven't been able to pump out enough quantity to really utilize a magazine-style formatted home page like big news outlet sites can.
  2. Paralysis: Even if I could produce enough information, it would just be too much for me to expect you to regularly process. It's just too much “noise” to consume.

Less Is the New More

Aftermath of my birthday cake candles

The aftermath of my 40th Birthday party.

I just turned the big 40 this month.

Yup, you're thinking what I'm thinking — I am no longer allowed to shop at Abercrombie & Fitch — it's just stretch pants from Banana Republic from here on out!

This new design is sort of a Birthday present to me. It was my goal to have the new design running this month — and check it out…it is!

And you know, as I have gotten older, the more and more I appreciate simplicity.

I like things clean. I like things organized.

I don't want to see the forest through the trees. I just want to see the forest — without any trees.

So, in this new design, I simply got rid of all the trees.

Yeah I know, I didn't use that expression correctly did I. Gimme a break — I'm old now.

White space is my new friend.

And I will admit, it took me quite some time to get used to this dramatically different layout. The old one was very personal to me considering how much time I had put into it.

But, this new one has really grown on me. I'm in love with it.

New SYEL Tagline

Next to my logo, now sits a new tagline:

Create That Photo Collection You've Always Wanted

Before it was – “Helping Everyday People Scan, Restore, Organize, Preserve and Share Your Photographs.

I think in the past, I was so worried that you would visit my site and not grasp the big picture of what I was going to show and teach you. So, instead what you got was a tagline that was as wide as a steakhouse salad bar buffet.

With the new 40-year-old me, I've relaxed a little bit. I trust that a tighter, more efficient tagline will speak volumes on its own.

Site Improvements

And with a new design comes additional benefits. There are a lot of improvements that I've already made in the back end or will be making soon.

First off the site should load a lot faster for you. Not only did I build the new design on the latest and faster running version of Headway (my WordPress “theme framework”), but my hosting company Zippykid recently made a bunch of hardware and software improvements to the server(s) my site is running from.

Secondly, now that I am upgraded, I can now begin to roll out more features on this site. So, don't be surprised if you see incremental changes and improvements happening on almost a daily basis!

And please, let me know what you think.

Err…maybe just positive feedback though — i've had a tough 6 weeks recently at my “real job”. I'm not sure I currently would hold up to any intense criticism.


So how does she look? Can you think of a better tagline for my website?

If you have any thoughts, can you do me a favor and let me know in the comments below or on my contact page?  :)

Thanks so much for reading this, and please enjoy the new and hopefully improved tree-less Scan Your Entire Life!


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