Finally… after almost two years of its existence, Inspiration Bit gets a long deserved makeover. It’s still far from being complete, there are still lots of lose ends that I have to work on. I’ve changed quite a bit in the overall information structure, so now I have 248 posts to go through, add custom image fields, excerpts, drop cap styling.

I will be dedicating a separate post describing my design process, share with you a few wordpress tricks that I’ve implemented here. For now I’ll just give you a brief overview of what had happened here in a quick guide tour:

  • Taking a different approach

    I’ve wanted to design something different, if not completely new, but at least something that you don’t often see on other sites, so I aligned the entire page to the right, kept it under 800px and added a big fixed background image, which gets revealed more when you increase the size of your browser’s window. Another reason behind using that big background image is the convenience of changing it anytime I have an interesting image to add. For now I’ve used one of my old drawings in hopes of motivating myself to get back to drawing.

  • Purple and Green should always be seen

    Purple and green colour combination has been my long time favourite so the decision to go with it for this blog was the easiest one to make. Later I will show the image that served as inspiration for my purple & green theme.

  • Grid and lots of it

    I have a confession to make: this is my first design that’s been completely based on a heavy grid structure. At times I was thinking that I’m back to taking my Math classes, that’s how often I was catching myself with a calculator and numbers on the paper. I don’t even have a Photoshop mockup to show you, since I’ve done there very little and quickly switched to coding the entire site with HTML & CSS.

  • some PHP magic

    I’ve always wanted to customize more of what’s possible with WordPress by adding some custom PHP code. As a result you can see PHP working its magic with displaying the months of the three most recent posts in the header in Roman numerals instead of the standard Arabic ones. You can also see some custom PHP in displaying the article headlines in two iBit’s signature colours: purple and green.

  • Reviving the old bits

    It’s been my long time goal to bring back some of my old posts from collecting dust in archives, so I’ve put together Selected Bits section, where I hand-pick and randomly feature some of the popular, recommended and favourite posts (as usual keeping them all under 8 bits each).

  • Getting more social

    I’ve always wanted to spread more link love, so now I’ve got a blogroll here with a couple of dozen links that randomly change with every reload, so in the end only 8 of the links show up at once. I’ve also started an Asides section, though I’ll most probably be changing the way I’m currently incorporating it. And lastly, I’ve added my social networking profiles here, so if any of you feel like stalking me on Twitter, last.fm or facebook, feel free to do so.

As I mentioned, there are still many things on my to do list for Inspiration Bit: I’ll be changing the sitemap page structure, styling the Contact page, updating my about profile and presenting my portfolio. I have yet to work on iBit’s new logo. What you see right now in the header is just a temporary font and styling.

One of my favourite writers, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, once said

You know you’ve achieved perfection in design, not when you have nothing more to add, but when you have nothing more to take away.

I wonder when, if ever, will I get that feeling with Inspiration Bit’s design, how long will I be adding and removing things until I get to that perfect balance? Only time will tell. One thing I can tell now is that I’m feeling soooooo relieved that after such a long time and so many promises I managed to complete this new design. You can’t even imagine how dreadful I was, I couldn’t wait to find time and launch this new look, I couldn’t even make myself to post anything because I couldn’t stand looking at the old iBit any more (how could I keep writing about beautiful design if my own site is lacking one). So hopefully, you will forgive my longest silence ever on this blog and will click away from your RSS readers to check out iBit’s new look.

Even though I know this new design is far from being perfect and complete, but I got my wings back and can’t wait to get back to blogging, completing and publishing the numerous drafts that I’ve managed to accumulate. So stay tuned, lots of interesting and inspiring stuff is coming up on Inspiration Bit.

Ok, have your say now. What do you think of iBit’s makeover? What do you like and dislike? What would you like to see here that I haven’t thought of? Since this design is still under construction, I’d love to hear your constructive criticism so that I can incorporate it with all the upcoming changes.

And last, but not least I’d like to thank Jon Tan for building a site that was constantly open in my Tabs whenever I was working on iBit’s re-design. His SILO was an invaluable resource for calculating my font-sizes and line heights in CSS. Thank you, Jon.
There were many other sites and articles that helped me a great deal and I’ll be mentioning them all in an upcoming post on Inspiration Bit’s design process.

Recent Bits
Related Bits
Visual Design Essentials
DOs and DON’Ts – Colour
Signature Colours
Design Critique: Klepas
Be Careful Who You Link To And What You Write About
And the Winner is…
Two More Contest Winners
5th Contest Winner
Comment Bits

36 Insightful Bits in response to “Inspiration Bit goes Green and Purple”

  1. Looks great Vivien! Very clean and much brighter than the previous design (though I’ll miss that one too). The Selected Bits at the bottom of the page should prove to work out well — highlighting some useful stuff that would otherwise be buried with time.

  2. Good to see this.

    Overall, I think the new look is pretty cool. It is unique and speaks about your personality. The colors in particular are something that I think make this stand out. The way certain things are worded here “Your sharp-witted bit on this subject matter is most welcome here” is pretty nifty. The footer is neat in that it exposes people to some of the classics.

    There are a few minor points I might make regarding a few navigational elements but overall I think this is a fairly positive redesign.

    Congrats! It’s a lot of work to transition a site with a lot of content like this.

    PS: The favicon is still the same I believe. Any plans to rework that?

  3. I love it! Very cool! I like the listing of posts below everything, and the picture of you on your About page is very nice.
    FYI, this comment text area is not working correctly for me in FF3. It goes on past where the window ends and I can’t
    see what I’ve typed once I’ve gotten beyond the visible part of the area. Also, The links in the footer, light green on dark
    are difficult to read.
    Wonderful design though, congratulations!

  4. I didn’t know what to expect; this is something very different and very cool.

    What I like most is that it has the feeling of being full of lots of contents, like there is a lot to discover. I think this design will get you more hits on more posts, especially the older ones.

    Sterling work!

  5. Thanks a lot for your kind words, everyone. I’m very relieved to hear that you find the new design to be heading in the right direction.

    Brian, that was one of the most important goals I had for this re-design, to bring back some of the better bits.
    Btw, what do you think of collaborating with me: showcasing some of your photography work here (as a big background)? Of course, I’ll be giving you a full credit and link to your site, etc. :) To start, if you have anything interesting in purple-green hues, I’d love to feature them here (I remember you were once taking photos in certain single hues, forgot if you had any purple/green ones there?)

    Btw, this question applies to any other avid photographers amongst my readers. I know about Andrew’s passion for photography, so if you’re interested in this, I most certainly am.

    Chris, would love to hear your comments about some of the navigational issues. I had information architecture built first and then designed around it. So I’m very curious to read how others find the architecture of this site?
    Ah, favicon, yes it is too on my to do list. I’ll put it the new one as soon as I finalize new ibit’s logo design. :)

    Randa, thanks so much for bringing my attention to the comment box. I don’t even know how I missed that. Hope it works now. Let me know, please if you (and others) will find any other bugs here.

    Andrew, I was very interested in finding out what you’ll think of my new design. I’m so happy to hear that you liked it!

  6. Wow! I love the new design. Besides the fact that purple is my favorite color, I appreciate a lot your care for details. Even tiny elements look good. It surely looks like the blog of an artist :)

  7. A subtle changes, Vivien. The colour does not work for me, but it’s a subtle change.

    Congratz!

  8. Wow! What a transformation. I like it; love that tree “sketch”, and the excerpts at the bottom. Congratulations, Vivien. great job.

  9. Very lovely and what a excellent footer! Why should footer be at the bottom of the page? :-p

    I lik this design is much better than your last and easier to read too and you really nails the colours too – thats a daring choice but you really pull it off.

  10. Echoing what everyone else has said, very impressed, Vivien. Worth the wait. ;)

  11. Simply wonderful! I very much like the new design, every detail has a thought behind it. Congratulations!

    I like the way you’ve incorporated the images in the posts, with the small white border. Gives the image a boost. For some reason I don’t find the italic headers in the articles just as good. Maby setting them in strong italic it powers out more as a header in the article.

    Is the text on the right side (excerpt) and the body text the same type?

    I like the header in the posts, just clean and crisp. But at the homepage there is a link to 3 latest article above and below the logo. I find it a bit confusing.

    Simply love the footer, and I believe that your logo is great with the bodoni type style, it fits the design. The only thing is that the lines are a bit too thin, you might want to consider thicken them.

    Overall, I love the new design! Great job!

  12. Vivien – well done on getting the redesign done – definitely the right thing to do first!

    I really like it – the influence of Mr Tan is evident, and that’s a very good thing. The Palatino (on Windows, I guess you Mac people get Baskerville) especially – very imaginative when used for blockquotes as well as headings.

    The different types faces add some great texture, and the footer is something I am going to steal :)

    The Wimbledon colour scheme is interesting, but I must admit it clashes for me. And the body copy is a little small for my taste. I think the grid also makes things a little cramped? The header is full of great ideas, but it’s a bit busy perhaps…

    Making the main part of the page 800px and viewable to everyone without horizontal scrolling is great, and the sketch is an ingenuous solution to the empty space problem.

    And well done for getting the drop cap just perfect. I’m looking for a way to get this done using :first-letter, any ideas?

    Really great, well done!

  13. Yay! I was just thinking the other day about your redesign and wondering how it was coming along.

    Just some observations and please do with them as you will. Starting from the top:

    - love the colors! Purple and green have always been a favorite part of a triad for me (would a bit of orange be amiss in your design?)

    - Perhaps there is a different color for the field labels and your author comments? The lime green just doesn’t seem to fit with all the other shades here. And one thing on the author comment (very cool, btw), it doesn’t show when there is no color in the bar, but when there is, your name is right on the edge of that color block, creating tension. Can you pad it 3-5 px?

    - gorgeous background texture and color

    - sidebar: not sure the top article highlight (is it random?) should be right aligned; nothing else in the sidebar is right aligned and it makes for difficult tracking from line to line, especially with a long block of text.

    - on my end there is some funny stuff going on with the top sidebar article, especially on the Codex Transportica post. The link is divided in half or something… not sure.

    - Glad you are putting previous/next bits in there. Perhaps it would be better to divide up the links into a Previous Bit and Next Bit (with subheads)? And list them again at the bottom of the post?

    - love the reasons behind the image to the left.

    - having the whole site right aligned is something I will have to get used to. On first glance, it has some visual tension to it for me. I prefer center aligned, especially as I’m on a widescreen monitor (there’s about 200px gap between image and content). I think what could improve the tension of a right aligned site is more padding on the right side.

    - perhaps most of the metadata in the comments should be on the right? The numbers look out of place by themselves. Alignment should be consistent as well. I prefer left aligned myself.

    - the sharing links at the bottom are great (the comments number is off though… like feed flare at the bottom of feedburner feeds, seems to never count more than 10 comments).

    - love the generous use of rules of varying weights throughout. Very simple and elegant way to separate content.

    - big numbers in the footer are confusing. I know now that it’s the number of comments, but is it necessary to show that info? Maybe it makes sense for popular bits, but not the others. I like the categories of posts you chose for the footer. Very nice way to draw people in to the site.

    - I’ve always admired how you work “Bit” into things, and I’m happy to see you’ve worked it up even more with “Insightful Bits,” “sharp-witted bits,” “Birdy bits” (hehe! Cute!) and of course all the bits in the sidebar and footer.

    - I agree with Sander about the home page. The layout is a little confusing. The images at the top don’t quite fit (I know that they are from the last few posts, but will new visitors know that?). I personally like the navigation and header to remain consistent throughout.

    - I do very much like how you’ve pulled out the latest “Featured Bit” on the homepage. The image is inviting as is the excerpt.

    I hope these are constructive for you Vivien. I don’t mean to criticize everything that you have done. Over all, the redesign is gorgeous! These are just some fine tuning points :)

    P.S. Comment box working fine on FF3, Windows Vista.

  14. I too enjoy how you’ve kept the ‘bit’ theme running through your headers. Ties things together nicely. (Had to stop by again today to take another look. Really like it.)

  15. I had to visit again too (at work on nasty IE6, just to see!). Everything holds up quite well and it looks much better on a standard sized screen, as opposed to widescreen. I like how the content column is actually nearly centered and there is plenty of padding on the right side with the 4:3 aspect ratio.

    Ah! And did you right align the numbers in the comments? Or was FF3 just rendering things differently than IE6?

  16. It’s about time Viv! :-) The overall first impression is much positive. I love having the background image on the left side visible depending on the screen resolution. The downside could have been ending up having all the content closed in 800px but hey, I don’t see this problem here—everything is in its place, and there is enough white-space to make the page breath. (+)

    I like the layout very much. I can hardly imagine the amount of work you’ve put into overlaying the content on the grid—it always seem to be easy, but it’s not and we both know that by now. (+)

    I like the small details. I believe I haven’t discovered all of them yet, but inverting the colours on title’s mouse-over? Well done. (+)

    And while we’re at it. I’m not a big fan of the colour palette you chose. I believe these are the remains of the previous version of IBit. Firstly, they don’t go with the background texture and—secondly—create rather unfortunate mishmash when used together in the footer. I’d try experimenting with other textures as well. (-)

    List of the links to your pages on other social networking sites might be styled differently. I’d add cursor:pointer to all clickable elements that are not links (Submit Comment and Search inputs). Home pages header’s structure is rather confusing, there’s too much stuff going on in there. I’d start removing the images. (-)

    As for the “first version”, design on its way to perfection, it’s a good starting point Viv! I look forward to seeing your work evolving.

    :-)

  17. First of all, thanks everyone for taking time and commenting on my new design, for the compliments and more so for such a valuable constructive criticism.

    Your critique just reinforced all the things that I’ve noticed myself, but failed to work them out properly.

    The colour scheme would probably always be a matter of personal preference. I agree with Piotr on the PersonalBits footer. I’ve spent quite some time there, experimenting with the colours, and I’ll definitely be spending some more.
    So for the time being green & purple colour scheme will stay here, but I’ll be re-thinking some of the shades.

    I’m not sure about adding orange, Lauren. I like that colour in combination with other hues, but not so much with green and purple. I actually like yellow with purple, but I think it won’t work as good on the screen as it does on paper. For now I’ve added a bit of brown for the headings in posts, but not too happy with that particular hue either.

    A bit upset that not everyone liked the header. I completely agree with you—it does look rather busy. But I desperately wanted it to work. Later I’ll show you a newspaper layout that served as inspiration for my new design’s layout, and I “stole” that idea of having article images and headlines above and below the logo from that newspaper. But I guess it looks good in print, and not so on screen, plus they didn’t have a navigational menu above.

    I’ll still try experimenting with the header some more, and if nothing works out, then I’ll forgo the top three article images like Piotr and Lauren suggested.

    Regarding SelectedBits footer: I drew inspiration for styling them that way from several magazines that I regularly read. I really liked how they style the Contents section with big numbers for page numbers and article headlines with excerpts. Since there is no concept of “page numbers” on Web, I decided to use comment numbers instead, not at all for bragging but because the only other numbers I have left are the date, which I didn’t want to use because I can’t just display the day of the month without the month. So once again, this footer styling stays, though I will keep fine-tuning it.

    Last night I did some tune ups after reading your comments:
    - re-styled the SelectedBits footer a bit with increased font-size for numbers and positioning the topics (popularBits, recommendedBits, favouriteBits) right above the post titles and excerpts, thus eliminating the zigzag alignment pattern I had before.

    - thanks to Lauren’s comments, I added padding to the author’s comments (I’ve added that styling at the last minute, so I’ll still be re-thinking the styling there as well), and aligned the comment numbers to the right.

    - also aligned the topics (recentBits, relatedBits) to the right, which I think added more balance to that area. Lauren, I like your idea for splitting the Next and Previous Bits, though I’m not sure if it will look good when you’re reading the latest post and there’s nothing Next. Don’t want to have an empty space below that headline. So I have to see if I there is a WP function that I can use to return True/False on whether the Next post is empty, then I won’t have to display Next Bits heading with a blank space below.

    - I changed the link colour for credits in the footer (thanks Randa), and I will add the cursor pointers (thank Piotr).

    - oh, and I added more padding to the left and right of the entire page. I was thinking about it, but Lauren made me to finally take action ;)

    Simonne, thanks for the encouraging “blog of an artist” remark ;)

    EFTU, you don’t like purples and greens, or just the shades that I chose here?

    John, really glad you liked it. Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with a more suitable drawing for iBit. I recently bought more black ink and a new sketching set of nibs, now just need to find some time to do the actual drawing.

    Esben, I agree—it’s not fair at all to have such a footer at the bottom. But that’s why I display only a short excerpt of the latest article on the home page ;)

    David, it’s so sweet of you to come back again and admire the new design, made my day (actually night) ;)

    Sander, thanks so much for your helpful critique. The article excerpt at the top and the body text are different (Baskerville/Palatino vs. Georgia)
    hmm… maybe if I change the hue (pick a stronger shade) of italic headers in the article, it would work better, will also experiment with the weight.
    What lines did you talk about in “The only thing is that the lines are a bit too thin”? The font lines in the logo, or…?

    Leon, you caught me off guard with the Wimbledon remark, it never came to my mind when I decided on purple & green ;)
    Thanks so much for complimenting on drop caps. Would you believe I spent almost four hours on getting them right (still not too happy, would’ve liked the bottom part to be aligned with the text baseline a bit better, but I found impossible to get it perfect throughout all browsers). At first I too tried styling it with :first-letter, it worked ok with the smaller drop cap (spanning on two lines only) but gave me a headache to getting it look the same in all browsers when spanning on three lines. I wanted a bigger drop cap.

    Lauren, I owe you a big time for such a long comment with so many helpful notes. Would you mind emailing me the screenshot of the Codex Transportica page, it shows up fine for me?
    Thanks for checking the site in IE and on both big and small screens. (How can you work with a maximized browser window on a huge screen?! Even on my 15″ laptop my browser window always takes 3/4 of the screen, and even smaller when I work with the big iMac screen)

    Piotr, thanks to you too for constructive feedback. I’ll definitely be fine-tuning the design, including the background texture and colour shades, so keep on checking. Glad you noticed some small details like inverting the title colours ;)

    P.S. Did anyone notice the absence of the feed count here? I decided to experiment and not to display it, at least for a time being. What do you think of it? Or you’re fine either way? ;)

  18. Hi Vivien,
    Hi Vivien,

    Although I haven’t read your whole article or comments (still in major backlog from my 2 week holiday) I would like to say that the design is looking great!

    I have had a look through some of the pages and played around in your site and I’ve come to say that I have never seen another blog like it!

    I hope you don’t mind me critiquing it with my own opinions… Here is the only main ‘negative’ things that I would change (which is quite low considering how many things you could change so kudos!)

    The drawing image on the left is way too distracting and takes away from the clean grid design. Maybe a washout version would do?

    The popular, recommendeded, favourite bits… not sure if you need the description of each article there. I found it a bit distracting. A headline should describe the whole article.

    Anyway those were the only 2 things I could mention straight up that I would change, other than that bravo, a job well done.

    Jacob Cass

  19. I didn’t notice the absence of your feedcount, Vivien. It’d be very interesting to see how your change of design affects the sign-up rate (although I realise you’ve been working on other things recently, as opposed to blogging).

    I like how you separate your own comments from those of your readers. It’s subtle, yet can be seen clearly when scrolling through the comment section. If it’s possible, I think you should add a little left padding to your name (in your comment header bar) and right padding to the date / time. A very small point, obviously.

    As for yellow and purple, I love those complementary colours too, but as you mention, online is different from print. I guess it depends on what colours are coming into contact with the yellow. For instance, if it’s yellow beside a light background, perhaps not, but yellow surrounded by the purple, maybe. Hard to pull off I reckon, but it’ll always remind me of a Cadbury Twirl.

  20. Wow, Vivien!

    The layout is simply great! I mean it’s clean, tidy and very readable, three qualities that every layout should strive to have: it’s crystal clear that you’ve done an amazing job with grids.

    I totally love the way that articles are presented. Again, they’re a pleasure to read, really (I think I’m in love with that big list in this article). Great work with the sidebar on the right, too.

    Concerning the usability and information architecture point of view, I love the fact that once you’re done reading an article, there’s plenty of links to go to other content you’ve published. The footer, for example, and the “Selected Bits” portion of the page, offer different reading paths, which is always good. You’ve done an amazing work there, too!

    By the way, I would try to do some fine tuning on your “Selected Bits” section: perhaps a little more spacing, and better visible list markers. Information is a little too cluttered, for my taste, there. But still, those are little details ;-)

    One other special mention goes to the background, that adds a nice little touch, no matter what the window size. Brilliant.

    Finally, two more things: I would change the favicon too, although I’m sure you already thought about that, and personally I’m not sure about the color palette, but I think that’s a subjective feeling.

    So, keep us posted Viv, you’ve done a great work here! Many compliments! :-)

  21. hmm…I have no sharp-witted things to say, but I do like this new look, so fresh. And what’s the drawing on the left?

  22. MP

    Top notch Vivien!

    I as well went through a redesign, on both my portfolio and blog. I’m pleased with both. I just have one question: What about the Favicon, are you going to change that to match? It still works, just curious.

    -MP

  23. Great work, Vivien. I also like the purple green combo. If you do “invert colours” on your screen, the purple and green bits should switch :D It’s also the colour combo of Citizens Bank, which I love.

  24. Vivien, good calls on the changes so far. Heh, glad I could help (and I’m glad that you are sticking with design decisions you made that you definitely want to keep). I always worry when giving my opinions that people will feel make the changes and then hate it and just be resentful that their idea wasn’t well-liked. I’m glad you didn’t do that!

    That extra smidge of padding for your name in the comments is perfect.

    I know what you mean about the Selected Bits and their relation to TOC styling. I can totally see it now. I guess it’s just confusing to me styling things on the web like you would for print when certain aspects just don’t exist (like page numbers, as you noted). I do like the style, just not sure it fits for web. But I’m glad you are sticking to what you want your blog to look like :)

    I think the “weird styling” on the Codex Transportica article was the two lines of the link that were different colors. I’ve never seen that before! I get it now ;)

    I’m sure there’s a way to test if current post is most recent post and if so, don’t display “next post.” Take a look at how Sandbox has coded that (what my theme is based on). The Next/Previous posts appear both at the top and bottom of the current post. Sandbox actually has a ton of really nice features like this out of the box (especially in comment styling).

    Brown is dark orange, so that works! I don’t think a bright, ING-esque orange would work here, certainly not!

    As to working full screen, I hate seeing my cluttered desktop when I’m browsing. Sometimes though, especially with fluid layouts, I do have to resize because I just can’t track such long lines of text! I have two monitors at home, so sometimes I put the browser on my normal ratio monitor.

    Every time I come back, I like the design and style more and more (actually I think your design–meaning layout and hierarchy–has been near perfect from the beginning). Still think the bright mint green doesn’t quite fit with the overall color scheme; it’s too… silly/playful to me, where the rest of the colors are more sophisticated. What about the shade you’ve used for comment numbers? It’s more muted (or is it the same and it just looks different in a big block of color?).

    I hope you’re quite proud of your new design, Vivien. You did an awesome job (and what a beautiful photo of you on the About page!)

    P.S. I liked the feed count cuz I like to see how much your blog is growing! Maybe you can style it like mine (or iLT’s) to fit with your blog theme instead of the Feedburner chicklet. It’s a plugin.

  25. Vivien, congrats on the new design. With the other design in comparison, this is very refreshing. Great choice of colors and I like how you twin them without overdoing it.

    Some other bits:
    1) Don’t forget the favicon!
    2) I agree with Jacob C about the image on the left but I admit that it’s only us large-screen users that are so privileged with the full distraction (in both senses). However, everyone else may be frustrated by not being able to see the whole thing.
    3) The background beige is soft on the eyes like a well-worn book. Nice touch!

  26. Jacob, thanks for your suggestions. I would prefer to keep the brief excerpts along with the post title in the Selected Bits, because as I mentioned before I wanted it to look more like a Table of Content in magazines than just a list of links like on most blogs. I will however still work on fine tuning it, like Andrea suggested.
    As for the image on the left, it is temporary, until I come up or find a more suitable replacement, but I will be keeping an image there, as it’s a foundation of my new design: right aligned page that reveals a background image.

    David, looks like we have a similar taste in colours and chocolate ;) I think I’ll experiment with not displaying the feed count on iBit for a month, and see how it affects the subscription, and then I’ll put it back on the site.

    Andrea Many thanks for your compliments. Yes, a colour palette is usually always subjective. What is your personal favourite when it comes to a colour scheme?
    Favicon, of course I’ll be changing it, as soon as I finalize my new logo for iBit.

    Kriz Cpec, glad you liked the new look. You can find the original drawing here, just a drawing of a tree in a forest that I did many years ago (black ink on grey coloured paper, with a bit of acrylic paint dabs).

    Michael (MP), congratulations with launching a new site and updating the old one. I do like the clean minimalistic look on both.

    Peter, glad you liked it. I went with the opposite green & purple just for you, so you can still see them as purple & green on your inverted screen ;)
    (Peter finds that reading a dark text on a light background tires his eyes more than light on dark, so he inverts the colours on his screen, not just for browsers but for all his applications).

    Lauren, I’m glad that you’re liking this new design more and more with every visit. It was the same with me. When I first designed a draft version of it, I wasn’t sure what to think about it, then after a few days I got back and thought that I quite liked it, and started fine tuning it.
    I will still be fine tuning it, including all the colour shades and spacing.
    I think later in November I’ll bring back the feed count. I’ve read on how to display it as a text not as a chicklet, but not sure yet if I want to integrate it with the rest of the design. Maybe I’ll just place it as a simple text link in the footer, so that people like you can still follow the growth, while others won’t even notice it’s there ;)

    Jacob, thank you and no, I won’t forget about changing the favicon ;)
    As for the background image, that’s why I picked a tree, because it’s something nice to look not only in full view, but when it’s partially hidden. It’s just a tree, you’re not really missing out on anything by not seeing a few branches. And for very curious ones there’s always right-click View Background image ;)

  27. I will have to come back for the fine tuning of the bottom articles but I am sure it will work out fine!

    As for the image, I think an image will definitely work however I think maybe not full black… it is very distracting but the effect is great, don’t get me wrong.

    Look forward to your small tweaks after you dissect everyone’s suggestions.

  28. Hey Vivien, you’re certainly welcome to make use of my photos — everything I publish on Flickr is under the Creative Commons, so the photos are free to use non-commercially so long as they’re not altered and attribution is given.

    I dug through my collection and I found a few with both green and purple together:

    http://flickr.com/photos/brianauer/2606942921/
    http://flickr.com/photos/brianauer/467643981/
    http://flickr.com/photos/brianauer/2302667023/
    http://flickr.com/photos/brianauer/2302665329/

    If you’re looking for green OR purple, you could search my Flickr stream for those keywords.

    ALSO… you should check out this site I found a little while back:

    http://labs.ideeinc.com/multicolr

    It searches the Creative Commons on Flickr based on the actual colors found in the photo, rather than tags or descriptions. You can also do multiple colors, so you could find images with both of your colors together:

    http://labs.ideeinc.com/multic.....a4c,742db8;

    LOL, it looks like most of the images for purple and green are flowers… go figure.

  29. @Brian, I’ve seen that Multicolr Search Lab before, too. Good stuff! I love your picture of the Purple Hyacinth! It’s beautiful!

  30. Brian, sorry for having your comment queued for moderation (due to the links). Thanks so much for linking to your pictures and Multicolr Lab. I haven’t seen it before, it’s great! I usually search Flickr by putting colour keywords and using PicLens to display the results, but it returns all images, not just the one under CC.

    And like Lauren, I love your purple Hyacinth photo. Do you think you could find it in your files in bigger size, so that I can use it on iBit as a background image on the left? Currently you have it on Flickr as 399 x 600, and I need it to be something like 600x800px? If you could email it to me, or post on Flickr, that would be great. Thanks so much.

  31. Wow Vivien, what a transformation! Love the light texture background and the purple and green is very refreshing!
    Looks great, well done!

  32. you are, without a doubt, one of the top ten web designers i know. maybe top 5. the design is beautiful, exquisitely elegant, interesting and flows perfectly.

    i personally am not a fan of the new wave of putting just about everything on the first page – too busy for me – that’s my only complaint.

    sorry it took me so long to say something!

  33. Lucinda, thanks so much for the compliments.

    Isabella, I hope you’ll find out why Akismet ‘loves’ you so much that eats most of your comments.
    Thanks a lot for the praise.

    As for the business on the home page: from one side I wanted to give more pointers to the readers, especially the new ones, and encourage them to read some of the old posts and explore more of what was published on Inspiration Bit. From the other side, I don’t want to overwhelm them with too much information, so I’m constantly tweaking this site and think of the ways to improve its usability. (I’m not displaying archives, or list of categories here, just some selected posts…)

    I just changed the number of selected posts on the home page from 8 to 4. Initially, I wanted to stick to as many ‘eights’ as possible, but looks like I’ll have to compromise on that number once in a while.
    So there are only 12 selected bits now ( 4 posts per section) on the home page, however I’ve kept 8 posts per section on all other pages.
    I’ve also increased spacing between the selected posts, changed the number’s alignment, and slightly reduced the excerpt’s font-size, but kept a big size for the title.

    Let me know, please, if it makes the homepage look less busy?

  34. It’s beautiful!!!

    I haven’t read my feeds for a couple of weeks and look what happens! I was looking for a post I know I’ve seen somewhere and I wasn’t sure if I was in the right place.

    (Apologies to all the comments before mine that I didn’t read. I hate commenting and running, but gotta do it this morning.)

    Great work Vivien!

  35. Thanks a lot, Kristarella. Apologies for the late reply, swamped with work and deadlines.
    Did you find the post you were looking for?

  36. Hey, no worries! Umm, I don’t think it was on your blog in the end, but I can’t remember what it was now anyway!

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Hi, I'm Vivien. Thanks for visiting my Inspiration Bit. I often find myself scouring the internet looking for either answers to many questions I have or websites that inspire me, sites that I can learn from. On what topics you might ask — any topics that interest me, anything from web design to typography and art, from blogging to entrepreneurship, from programming to open source.
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When I'm not blogging, I design web sites, teach, play with my daughter and try to balance family, work, friends and a somewhat active social life on