I have always had a passion for visual design. I love the fact that you can use space, colours, fonts and other design elements to enhance your message. When it came to my Coetail blog, I have to admit, I was a bit frustrated with the theme options we had available when we started the course. I like clean, easy to navigate blogs that at the same time offer the reader different entry points to the content. Before starting Coetail, I already had my personal blog, so it was a little difficult to switch to another theme that was not necessarily similar to the one I had in my own blog.
Before I settled into the theme I used for the most part of Courses 1 and 2, I experimented with a few others, including one that had a huge header with a photograph I love of one of the ancient canals of Suzhou, the city I live in. As a matter of fact, that was the image I selected to show as my blog identity in web browsers and which remained there until now. Unfortunately, I do not have a screenshot of what the homepage used to look like back then. I do, however, have a screenshot of the last theme I had before this new revamp.
That theme was basic and allowed me to customize the colour of the background of the sidebar, which I liked because it just gave it the right amount of oompah. As you can see, the blog only had one sidebar that linked to the most recent posts and comments, and had a word cloud with the tags and a search bar.
I decided to use Divi as I wanted to see if this builder would offer new alternatives. One of the first things I did was to split the sidebar and the menu to facilitate navigation of the blog. I left the menu on the left, which unlike the one in the previous theme, it is white, but changes colour once you start scrolling down. I also decided to add a logo with my initials which I created with Canva. The menu only has links to the different courses and my introductory post, as I wanted to keep that area clean, yet helpful to the reader.
On the sidebar, which is now on the right, I have the same information I had in the previous theme (recent posts and comments), but I reorganized the blocks, moving the tags to the bottom of the sidebar. My previous theme created a word cloud with all my tags which used larger fonts for the tags that were used multiple times. I am yet to be able to do something similar in Divi. At the moment, all the options just show a list of tags, so I will have to continue exploring to see if I can make the tag cloud happen. The last difference is in the way the blog posts are presented on the homepage. In the previous theme, the full content of the blog posts were shown in ascending order starting with the latest post. Now, the list of posts only includes the feature image and an excerpt, so in one scroll the reader has easy access to the different posts. I definitely want to continue exploring all the tools that Divi has and the different layouts, especially for the homepage of my blog, but right now I think I have achieved a clean, yet appealing look. What do you think?