Update: I wrote this at 5am, and that was a poor decision. I’ve rewritten this to be clearer and easier to understand.
On April 1, 2007, after a long bout of not understanding what I wanted to do in life, I decided that it might be fun to start a blog. I didn’t know anything about running a blog. I didn’t know any HTML or CSS, and my writing skills were mediocre at best. But I was excited to share my thoughts and my ideas and anything else that might pop into my head. That enthusiasm has now led me to write nearly every day for six years straight, a feat I never imagined happening. Currently, the site has three full-time writers and 5 part-time writers, all of which add so much value to the site. I trust the taste and opinions of these folks so much and I feel like they help to round out our content in so many ways. Without them the site wouldn’t be what it is, so a huge thanks to them.
I also need to say thanks to anyone who’s reading this. Running a website is hard work, especially when you have a day job like I do. But I’ve had the experience of meeting and interacting with so many rad people in the world because of this website, and for that I’m eternally grateful. Thank you so much for reading and supporting The Fox Is Black.
As with each anniversary I try and refine the site, making the experience better in subtle ways. With this “redesign” there are many style changes, like the texture in the background of the page, plus a lot of larger improvements that I’m really excited about. These were all made possible thanks to my friend Tim Mather, who you might know as one of the founders of the app Untappd. He did an amazing job of turing my design into beautifully functioning code.
Under the jump I’ve put a list of features that are new or updated on the site. This will be particularly interesting to design and web design lovers.
The site has been responsive for a while now but in it’s current incarnation it means serious business. Whether you’re viewing the site on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device you’re getting the optimal view. I read a lot of back and forth about how important responsive design is or isn’t, but for TFIB it’s a must, the content needs to read well on any sized device.
I’ve been concerned with the legibility of the site for a while now, but the touchability was a new factor I was really interested in. This post by Luke Wroblewski does a good job of summing up a lot of the thoughts around touchability. Essentially with the rise of tablets and hybrid devices like touchscreen laptops it’s important to have large hit areas. So the size of the main nav has been increased to accomodate for fingers and the Older/Newer buttons are chunky, being larger than 44px x 44px, the web standard.
A problem that the site faced was that readers were often confused by who wrote which post. The info was always there, but it was obviously not large enough for readers to find it. Now we’ve got a nice big block of author information, making it clear not only who wrote the post but having the ability to read more posts from that author.
For years now I’ve played with the idea of adding a footer to the site. The footer is a powerful tool for helping readers find more content, to give them something to do when they hit the bottom of the page. I was also really inspired by the footer on It’s Nice That, which I always felt did a good job of sharing lots of information in a clean and uniform way. So I went for it and created a big footer with lots of info. There’s a big block of categories, you can view the site by month, you can get in touch with me, read the posts of a certain writer, or search the site. Lots of opportunities down there.
Pagination Is Back
A complaint I heard every now and then is that it was hard for readers to get to older content. Now with pagination back I think it’ll be a lot easier. You can always change the page number in the URL or use the month by month navigation in the footer.
Again, thanks for all the support from readers, artists, designers, and anyone else who’s helped me along the way. We still have a few more tricks we’re going to be rolling out in the next few days, one of which I think is pretty awesome. I’ll be sure to write about it once it goes into effect.