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Matt Mullenweg Gets New Clothes

The talk of the blogging town is that Matt Mullenweg’s blog, Photomatt, is wearing new clothes.

Here are a few things you might notice so far: related posts on entry pages, recent entries shown in the sidebar on entries older than 2 weeks, when a blog is from the same day as a photo album random photos from that day are shown at the bottom, and likewise a photo will show when there’s a post that day.

The main goals of the photo integration were to enable a little more serendipity. There are a lot of other little Easter eggs, but those will remain an exercise for the reader.

It’s colorful, fun, and definitely more upbeat than the old photomatt.net design. I like the colors. It definitely reflects Matt’s personality, the goal of a well-designed personal blog.

The links on the oversized header are within an image map, making the coffee stains and other graphics appear on the links, a great look. I’m thrilled that he (and his designer, Nicolò Volpato) took care to make sure that the header links still meet web accessibility standards. Good work on that! Though, I’d recommend that the whole center graphic of the header be clickable to “home”, so the user doesn’t have to scroll so far up to get to the small “home” link.

I also like the addition of related and recent entries, though I’m not sure I like the the two week limit as there might have been something he just wrote about and this article might be a follow-up. Hopefully, he will stay conscious of that and include a link back to the related article, something you should consider if you use this technique. Matt has been very prolific, so I’m sorry to see only a few articles in the list. I’d love to see a few more to help expose the vast content on his site.

What I HATE about all of his designs is the lack of a search. I can’t tell you how many times a question came up in the WordPress Forums, Codex, on my blog, or in random discussions and I knew I had read the answer in Matt’s blog. Unless I entered his site through Google or another search engine, setting it to specifically search Matt’s blog, I couldn’t easily find the answer. Working on an article for the , he asked me to go through his blog to look up references he’d made to articles written by others about WordPress – I swear I lost weight, sleep, and some hair digging through his blog without a built-in search. It’s a serious pain and I’ve been bitching about it for two years. End of rant.

I have always felt that Matt’s blog should set the standard for what is possible on WordPress as well as be reflective of his life. Not that it should include everything WordPress can do, but since the majority of his blog posts are about his work and business, I think it should appropriately reflect the pride he has in his products and services. The design is definitely a tremendous improvement, bringing the site to life in many ways.

Great job on the WordPress emperor’s new clothes! Congrats, Matt and Nicolò. I’m eager to discover which tweaks and coding used under the hood. I’m sure you’ll share with all soon.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network

Member of the 9Rules Blogging Network

7 Comments

  1. Posted November 14, 2006 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Google is your friend, just type this in:
    super duper wordpress stuff +site:photomatt.net

  2. Posted November 14, 2006 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    When I need to search my site I just type ?s= and the term. Thanks for the comments! I’ll try to tweak the CSS to get more of the header clickable, I kinda cheated with how I’m positioning the links. I’m going to try to make them “pop out” to tell you where you are and I think I’ll have to move things around quite a bit to get that to work.

  3. Posted November 14, 2006 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Yup, whenever I’ve needed to search for something on Matt’s site, I’ve just manually added ‘?s=my+search+terms’ to the URL. Still, fer shame not having a visible search box ;)

  4. Posted November 14, 2006 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    So sad when you have to use geek search to search a geeks site. ;-) Thank goodness, I have a thing for nerds, so I tend to forgive most of their idiosyncrasies.

    I’m looking forward to seeing it evolve, though.

  5. Posted November 14, 2006 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Looks good, very sharp. I like it!

  6. Not Me
    Posted November 14, 2006 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Fails the validator though :(

  7. Posted November 14, 2006 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Of course. They are still working on it. Such is the life of a new design. ;-)


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] La notizia, ripresa oggi anche da LorelleOnWordpress, è che a realizzarlo è stato un web designer di Rimini, Nicolò Volpato : insieme al fratello (se non sbaglio) ha un proprio studio di webdesign, GNV&Partners. [...]

  2. […] Matt Mullenweg Gets New Clothes […]

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