This has been quite the week. Just after I finished my keynote at WDS, I started getting emails from French people in Montreal. Quite a few French people in Montreal. It turned out that La Presse, a big French language paper in Canada, had profiled Legal Nomads just as I was getting onstage. It’s a great pleasure to welcome new Facebook fans and blog readers from my hometown, and my high school French teacher, Mme Benyekhlef, wrote to say hello. And to round out a terrific week, the blog redesign I’ve been working on for months is finally ready. Welcome to the new Legal Nomads!
There are quite a few changes.
I did like the Arras theme but it’s quite boxy and didn’t focus sufficiently on my photography, which has become more and more important as I continued with my travels. Though I love narrative writing and truly enjoy sharing all the stories and fun, quirky moments that make travel so fascinating, photos speak for themselves and I’ve been using more of them as the years have passed.
The design came about haphazardly. I was looking to redo the site for quite some time and had very specific ideas of what I wanted. However, I’m not a website designer or developer, so how to implement them? Enter Brian and Bridgid, a lovely couple from Seattle who I met in Chiang Mai and who happened to be available for a new project. I think they’ve done a fantastic job and I would highly recommend them to anyone, though I know they’ve got a full plate for the next few months.
New Logo, New Slogan
The old site had no logo, but it did have a slogan: proving that even lawyers can have fun. While I truly believe that’s the case (just ask my Thrillable Hours interviewees!), it did not represent what I look for in my wanderings, nor what I truly love to learn about. The new slogan – where culture, food and travel intersect – is how I see Legal Nomads (minus the birdcrap of course) and how I see my focus when I travel.
Thumbnails, the smaller-sized photos that we use to identify a post or a category, are just fine. But why use thumbnails when you can use handnails? This is a made-up word (my friends have rolled their eyes at my enthusiasm for handnails), but I love them. Wider, bolder photos to accompany the post. When it’s a featured image, it should be featured, no? So: the new Legal Nomads has lots of handnails.
As I said when I announced this upcoming redesign, I was wistful for a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean colour scheme, with contrasts of bright colours. The blue, saffron, black and white was exactly the scheme I had in mind, and when I was in Jordan in early May I saw a plate of delicious knafe that put all those colours in practice. The blue in the new site is darker than on the plate below, but the colour scheme is the same, and it’s precisely what I wanted.
Categories on the Sidebar
Instead of a tag cloud, I’ve now got categories on the sidebar, as well as a destinations list as a dropdown menu below them. The highlighted categories are ones that are near and dear to me, encapsulating the chaos of what makes my travels in Asia and elsewhere so much fun. Adventures in transportation and food each figure prominently in my wanderings, and now have their very own categories. I’ve added ‘personal musings’ as a category as well, since I’ve moved away from the pure destination-posts and also interspersed some general thoughts on what travel does for me (and what it doesn’t do). And in the spirit of trying to become a better photographer, I’ve started a photography category, linking to the longer form photo stories I’ve posted here.
The icons use my photos and Lobster Font, with mouseover effect. Definitely a fan of Lobster Font.
Shiny Connect with Me Buttons
I love shiny buttons. My new shiny buttons not only have the colours I wanted, but the ones on the sidebar have a mouseover. In Lobster Font. Buttons + Lobster Font = WIN.
Photo View and Text View
One of the more exciting aspects of the new design is the ability to toggle between photo view and text view. As you can see in the screenshot below, the photo view sets out the handnails in a graph form, with a lovely mouseover with the meta information from each post. We’ve put in “click here for photo view/text view” icons, but the food and photoessay categories will go straight to handnail-form because the focus is photography for each.
New Share Buttons
In lieu of the Shareaholic toolbar, there’s a big “share” (in Lobster font, no less) and the basics of Facebook, Stumble, Twitter and the +1 button from the Google.
Hope you enjoy the new Legal Nomads as much as I do!