Farewell to Version 11.3, onto 11.4 and beyond



When you consider the age of No. 0, having turned eight in February, the fact that there have been 11 visual redesigns doesn't speak well of my aesthetic consistency. That's over one redesign per year (technically 1.375), and before 2012, when version 11 was introduced, the rate was an abysmal 2.2. Well, in retrospect, some themes were just plain bad, and were deservedly scrapped as soon as I realised it. Others were better, but failed to achieve any longevity or lacked the versatility I needed of them.

Consequently, it's a testament to my 11th vision for No. 0 that, by and large, it hasn't changed in three years. Back in 2012, I hoped to simplify the front page:

My goal for the home page will be to capture the whole of it within the screen, without you needing to scroll anywhere. Here, I will use two sidebars to fit in all the information I need, but once you click a post, the first time you will see anything that isn't content will be at the bottom of the page. It will be white-heavy, with special features on the left, the most recent post in the middle, and miscellanea on the right.

Mostly, that hasn't changed. Where I will be diverging is in the functionality of the right sidebar, whose fate I'm still internally debating because unlike its left counterpart, it's a bit all over the place—although one thing I'll definitely be doing is abandoning Alfa Slab One as a typeface (except as the bit of flair below posts). It looks too sports team logo-ish, and is the only design decision with which I've been truly dissatisfied for a while. So if it isn't outright removed, at least half of the right sidebar will look different. A few side effects of Alfa Slab One's abandonment will also include headings in articles (specifically h2 headings) and the navbar (see image above for comparison).

Previously, headings were quite stark and stood out from the content. I liked that a lot, but again, sports team logo. The obvious alternative is to simply go with a different but equally thick typeface, or even succumb to the latest trend of using a thin sans-serif to stand out from serifed content. I certainly won't be doing the latter, but merely replacing Alfa Slab One doesn't speak to me, either. Currently, Georgia is used for headings, because that's No. 0's default serif, which brings up a second question: whether to replace Georgia as the typeface. One of my favourite typefaces is Linux Libertine. It's what I use for the PDFs accompanying some articles (e.g. the HP filter failed tutorial), so using it here as well has crossed my mind before. For now, it's just a consideration, but it's also why I'm taking the lazy route with headings.

Meanwhile, the biggest change is already visible: the old navbar has been replaced by a noisier one. This is another case of a nice feature lacking versatility, as well as potentially being too unintuitive. So, while the "improved" navbar is a move away from my stated goal of keeping No. 0 minimalist, we're swapping freedom for aesthetics, and unfortunately have to comprise some simplicity for what I want the navbar to achieve (which is to serve as a better hub of related links and information).

All in all, I'm happy enough with version 11 that all it really needs is to be more mobile-friendly. If you've visited the site on a tablet or phone, you might have noticed that I'm slowly getting there; No. 0 should fit on all devices, but the sidebars aren't very pretty on thin screens. Besides that, 11 is about as close to what I presently want as time makes possible. It's all about tweaking at this point, and writing a long post about said tweaks. Thanks for reading.

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