14 Mar 2014

Flat and Responsive - The all new cirroNIX

It seems like ages since I blogged and looking at the last post date it would seem it is, four months in fact, shameful. In my defence it's been a busy time with plenty going on and a steady stream of project development, the latest of which has been a push into AWS OpsWorks (with superb results) however more on that later. To get the ball rolling again I thought I'd kick off 2014 by steering you toward the newly remodelled cirroNIX website and branding (the more alert of you may have noticed the new blog header design). So, here we go......


How's that for a front page...! Not bad yes? I've been chasing this flat/slick look from the very start and have been through far too may website redesigns to mention (I look back through them sometimes to amuse myself, and cringe).

Moving to responsive delivery was the main kicker this time and I was almost ready to publish a Wordpress based revision I'd been working on for a few weeks but it just didn't do it for me. Wordpress is great for certain end use cases, no doubts there, but I just find it too inflexible from a design perspective. Unless you're a PHP guru you're more or less stuck with the look and layout of a theme. I prefer more control so decided to look about and see what HTML based options I could find, and that's when I dropped into the world of Bootstrap. Wow.

Bootstrap was/is an internal Twitter project developed by Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton freely distributed as open source since 2011. In 2012 it became the most popular project on GitHub. It is a collection of tools (code, HTML & CSS, scripts & extensions) created to smoothly and quickly deliver standardised front end frameworks for creating websites and web applications, and it's pretty awesome. More information about Bootstrap, including downloads, can be found HERE and HERE.

I'd had no experience of Bootstrap so didn't really appreciate what I was paying for when I found and downloaded the template theme, all I knew was that I loved the look and as it was responsive it ticked the boxes. Once I loaded it all up into Coda and started to play around things really took off and I totally 'got it', so much so that the full site only took me three days from start to publishing it in it's current incarnation (by the time you read this it may have been tweaked, although possibly not that much), and a large section of that time was soaked up by looking for the right front page header image and working out how to apply a desaturated colour mask (I think it was worth the time, I love that image).

With the new look came a new avatar icon and the square cX design just sort of happened. The finished result is only a second incarnation (addition of a grey circle) so not too lengthy a process there either. Not sure if I'm getting a better eye or just had a good day (This is the guy who could become a nervous wreck deliberating over pixel depth for a drop shadow).

Anyway, it's up, click the above grab or HERE to visit.

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