I spent the morning making significant updates to rizzn.com today. It started out as a slight problem I had with the ReadBurner widget (I had to take it down – there were some uncharacteristic issues with the load time, and I expect to have it back up once they’re addressed). But what started out as a minor update to the templates ended up with me working for five hours on the graphics, layout, and mechanics of the site.

Most of the changes were cosmetic:

  • Sub-header graphics for all the sections. Link blog, blog posts, Mashable posts, community posts.
  • Created a masthead style graphic. I decided to resurrect the “studio.rizzn” name. I thought about getting silly and resurrecting my “rizzo’s e-zine” name from this site in 1996, but I just couldn’t do it with a straight face.
  • Created a Contact Me graphic. This site has been lacking information on ways to contact me for over a year. Since just about everyone and their mother’s PR agent now has my info, I don’t figure there’s any harm in adding it back to the site. I am, however, leaving my street address off for now.
  • RSS Subscribe banner. I found these tight little grunge RSS icons, and figured I should use them.
  • Minor table and CSS rendering issues. Things will generally look more balance now.

Some of the changes were behind the scenes:

  • Enhanced Community Features. I made VERY prominent on the front page the last comments section. I want to build community here, and there will be further evidence of that down the road. For now, being prominently linked from the front page will be a good start, I hope.
  • Joined Disqus Forums. The Disqus forum for the linkblog and the main blog were separate.  The linkblog threads have been pretty quiet so far, so I figured it wouldn’t do any harm to join them.  It certainly makes coding the JS on the various pages a lot easier.. if the linkblog becomes a hopping forum for discussion, I might separate them then. Until that point, it stays how it is.
  • Better Comment Visibility. A side effect of joining the forums will be that you’ll see comment counts on EVERY page now.
  • Added Native Widgetry. If you check out any post-level page, you’ll see I’ve added some Spry widgetry. It saves space, and packs in useless but interesting information in that blank space where the Readburner widget used to be.  Also, helps a bit with search engine discovery.

In general, the site should just look and feel a bit better from now on (or at least as good as a greyscale website can possibly feel).

Come browse around and let me know your thoughts on the new design.