After 5 years, The Fox Is Black gets an upgrade

After 5 years, The Fox Is Black gets an upgrade

Yesterday The Fox Is Black turned five years old, a somewhat unbelievable milestone. If you asked me five years ago if I’d be here, doing what I do, having experienced the things I’ve done, I don’t think I would have believed you… but I would have thought it was pretty cool. Because of this anniversary I figure I should change the site up a bit.

TFIB has been running off of the same WordPress theme for the lat 5 years, so it was certainly in need of a change. The idea behind the shift was to simplify and to modernize the theme. The site has been stripped down to a sidebar with navigation elements and a main column. That’s it. This is what I like to call the Pokemon evolution of a site, from an adorable Charmeander into a ferocious Charizard. Thanks an amazing team I’m now working with, this is what we’ve been able to accomplish.

Share More, Share Better

The big thing for me was creating a structure that would allow me to post more ideas. The old way put each post into it’s own box, which meant if I wanted to share an image and a couple of sentences it would look awkward, or at least I thought it did. Now the main column is more of a stream, with new ideas flowing in constantly. You may want to check the site a bit more frequently now, as I’ll be posting larger and smaller posts throughout the day.

Responsively Designed

In the near future, every website will be responsive. This is currently a buzzword which is passed around a lot, but we figured it was something we needed to tackle. So what does responsive mean? Well, resize your browser. Make it bigger, make it smaller. The images and video now stretches and shapes to whatever device you’re using. Try it on your mobile phone and your tablet, you’re going to get a design that was made specifically for it. We’re pretty proud of this little feature, as I can’t think of many sites, let alone design blogs, that are doing this.

Comments Are Dead, Long Live Feedback

I’ve ripped out the comments from the site. 98% of comments are unnecessary, like correcting a spelling error I made or saying “That’s cool!” Neither of those comments really add to the overall story or conversation, and a lot of times there’s no conversation to be had. There’s also the rise of social networks in which you can comment to your own networks if something is cool or not. If you hate or love a post, write something on your Twitter/Facebook/Tumblr and tell your friends about it. Sharing is caring.

My Type of Font

I’ve been wanting to do something fun with a new font on the site, try to make things feel more contemporary. I decided to go with a little typeface called Uma by Ariel Di Lisio. Here’s how Ariel describes the font:

The typography is fresh, informal and friendly at first glance, but the constructive architecture makes it elegant and modern. It works equally as well in large or small sizes, and the combination between the two weights is very interesting to work with.

I think this sums up Uma perfectly. It feels fun and modern and it has some interesting design quirks to it. It’s also really legible, especially at smaller sizes, which is really the most important factor.

You’ll also notice the site has no pages, you simply scroll forever and ever. I’ve totally seen readers hit the very last pages of the site, so now I’ve made it easy, you just keep scrolling. There are lots more little details, but overall I’m extremely happy with how the redesign has turned out. We’re still fixing up some things, and there are still some bugs here and there, so please bear with us as we get the kinks sorted out. Thanks for the support over the years, and here’s to another five.

April 2, 2012