Design Spotlight: Pro Blog Design (Again)

I’ve reviewed Pro Blog Design‘s theme at least once before, probably twice. Now that Michael Martin’s design blog is entering its third year, it has received yet another redesign.

Pro Blog Design 2009 Redesign

The new color scheme is bolder, the revamped logo is eye-catching, and the new background is subtly attractive. The header looks good, with it’s prominent icons for following the site’s updates, and it’s interesting navigation. The huge tabs certainly are unusual, but they seem to work quite well. The categorical navigation is good.

I like the box that appears at the end of posts, with the bio and links to share the post on social media sites. It’s uncluttered and it looks good.

PBD Bio and Social Media Links

The dropdown blogroll is nice (something I’ve been considering adding here), especially since there’s a link to Webmaster-Source in it… ;) I also like the interesting comment styling. The way box with the username subtly overlaps the Gravatar is especially nice.

Overall the design is very good. There are just a couple things about it that bother me. The first is the way the hover tooltips that appear on some links (such as those in the header) sometimes appear half-offscreen if the link you’re hovering over is near the edge. This might be possible to fix with some collision-detecting AI. The second is that the image-replacement script makes it impossible to select the article headline, though it does make them look nice. Using something like sIFR might improve things. All in all, though, it’s a good design.

  • Muhammad Siyab

    I like the new design. It's clean, modern, and, most important of all, usable.

    I agree with you on the image-replacement issue though. A simple, usual, non-image headline would do much better.

  • Michael Martin

    Thanks for the review Matt, glad to see it was mostly positive :D

    I agree about the tool tips. They were a last minute addition (literally added them the morning of the post!) and clearly just a bad idea now :(

    You could well be right about the text replacement as well. Cufon (The script I'm using) was simple to set up and worked quite well. You can actually select the text, it just doesn't have a hover/select effect so it's impossible to know unless someone tells you (From the script's site, they have a solution for selecting on every browser bar Opera and they want it to work everywhere before they implement :( )

    The big fail for me with is that it doesn't suppor word-spacing so I couldn't use the font I wanted. If I can find an alternative like SIFr that does support that, I'll definitely swap! :)

    • redwall_hp

      There are plenty of sifr alternatives, though I'm not sure which (if any) have all of the features you need. But as long as there's a solution coming *sometime* it's not so bad. :)

      I wonder why the Cufon selection fix doesn't work in Opera…

      • Michael Martin

        Me too, it's not often you hear of Opera holding things back. Strange to think they even have a fix for IE6 but not Opera! :D