19 September 2011

Parent Hacks redesign! Prettier! Easier to browse! Better search! Come see!

Parent Hacks has a new look! Given that the original design was a pre-fab TypePad template I hacked together during my kids' holiday break in 2005, it's about time, don't you think?

I've hemmed and hawed about redesigning Parent Hacks for years. But, in the end, I decided to keep it simple and to highlight what makes Parent Hacks special: the content and the conversation.

Easier browsing

Browse hacks by topic or age range Parent Hacks sits on top of a gold mine of wisdom: the thousands of hacks you've contributed over the last almost-six years. But they were hidden behind a sloppy archive structure, so were almost impossible to browse.

I've streamlined the categories and made them easier to find so you can "thumb through" hacks by topic or by age.

Better search

Better site search The old site search sucked needed improvement. I've beefed up the search function, made it easier to go through the results, and am adding search keywords to every post (A big job I'm chipping away at gradually, as the site has thousands of hacks).

Cleaner design

My hope was for the design to reflect what I love about Parent Hacks: it's friendly, it's useful, it's no-nonsense. My priorities were page speed, readability, navigability, and a feeling of openness and ease. I hope that comes across.

Now for the thank you speech. I've been "mocking up" this design on paper for the last two years, but my friend, designer Chrissey Trainello, turned my motley sketches into an actual Photoshop file.

From there, Brianna, a designer on TypePad's Custom Design Team, turned the file into a set of working templates. The finished design came about through months of collaboration and tweaking, and Brianna's (and project manager Laura's) endless patience with my niggly CSS and TypePad questions was amazing.

TypeKit: Ronnia Web

A big thank you to font service Typekit for access to the Ronnia font that I think pulls everything together. Parent Hacks is more about text than pictures, so font choice was a biggie for me.

The logo hasn't changed a bit since Bryan Bell designed it in 2006, and I love it as much today as I did then. I decided to give it a big, fat spotlight in this new design.

As always, the fine folks at Federated Media were behind me all the way, as was my husband Rael, who got to hear all about things like "pagination" and "template syntax" in the middle of the night.

I am so proud of the work we've done, and couldn't be happier with the results. Thank you to everyone who has helped me think this through over the years.

Feedback? Bugs?

There are bound to be glitches. If you see something weird or broken with the function, the look, or the font, would you please let me know? Send me email (asha at parenthacks dot com) with the subject line REDESIGN.

Be sure to tell me:

  • which platform you use (Windows, Mac, mobile, etc.)
  • which browser (Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, etc.)
  • and which browser version

Thank you all! I can't wait to hear what you think!

Your comments

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It was a complete pleasure working with you on this design and seeing the finished product come to life from our combined efforts. A lot of fun was had on my part, taking your vision and using it to develop new ways in which to show off what TypePad can do.

I wish you many more years of successful blogging and close community with your readers. We're always around to help, so reach out if you hit a wall and need us to look at, or work on, anything else. :)

Just got an email from a Win/IE8 user that there are some weird things with alignment. Would LOVE to hear from other Windows users (of any browser) as I am on a Mac. Cross-browser stuff is always tricky!

Windows, Firefox, most current version-----headings aren't crisp and look like a draft printing

rest of type is fine

I love the new design. In fact, I had never paid attention to the logo before but it's hard to miss it now and looks really great. Love the font, too!

Asha, it is gorgeous and really smart. Just like you! Congrats!

Deb: Thanks for the feedback -- will look into that.

Cooper: :) Thank you, my friend!

Now this is easier to browse. I liked the new design. two thumbs up for you!


I've been a Parent Hacker for several years and this update is awesome! Love the updated search functionality and the fresh, clean look. You achieved your objectives. . .

Lovely. Clean. Search is brilliant.

IE looks fine. IE Tab plugin in Firefox has alignment issues, but the font looks fine. Firefox doesn't have alignment issues, but the font looks very choppy and unrefined. Windows platform.

Couldn't add a comment on the Top Ten tips for shopping post --
Getting various error messages (Page not found, trouble connecting to data base)??

Using Firefox on windows xp platform.

Susanor: problems with comments on the post at Babble? The post here had no place to leave comments -- just a pointer there.

Yes, the problem was at Babble. But wanted you to know.

I think the post is good for us.
a Parent Hacker for several years and this update is awesome!

Generally, I like the update, but I have one small issue. I subscribe to the RSS feed using Firefox Live Bookmarks (Windows 7, Firefox 6.0.2) and the RSS feed has been truncated to only show the three most recent posts. Previously, it displayed ten or fifteen, which was much better because it made it easy to see what the new posts were without much danger of missing some just because you didn't look for a day or two. Currently, if it's a busy posting day, you might miss new posts unless you check the Live Bookmark multiple times a day, which seems like a lot to ask of readers. :)

I love your blog! You will be in our prayers and thoughts! Nice and informative post on this topic thanks for sharing with us. Thank you!

First came here, they are so good that you will often see, the article. Thank you for sharing!...lol.....

Very thoughtful and informative article!Thanks for taking time to share your great experience here with us..

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