On April 1st, 2012 it will have been been 3 years since I started “I Backpack Canada”. Since then there’s been a lot of changes to the layout, design, and flow of the website. I still laugh at how brutal the original design and layout was on ‘Blogger’. But you live and learn from those mistakes. Having gone to school for web & graphic design truly helped lay down the foundations to making this travel blog easy on the eyes. While I was a big fan of the last design, and received countless comments on it, it was time for a bit of a change. After spending over a month and a bit on this design, I figured I’d finally launch it and go through some of the changes here.
Fully Responsive Travel Blog
Yes, the new “I Backpack Canada” is a fully responsive website; which allows for the website to look good at all screen resolutions and across all devices. See for yourself at Responsive.is or take a peek at the site on your iPhone or iPad. Or if you’re feeling crazy adventurous, click and drag the bottom right corner of your browser inwards and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll notice subtle changes for each device, but ultimately the overall flow of the layout and design will ensure maximum legibility, and maximum awesomeness. Goodbye WPtouch, hello beautiful responsive site.
New Tagline – True North Strong & Awesome
Might seem like a pointless change. But I legitimately pondered over this for weeks. Going back and forth before coming to the conclusion that “this is me in a nutshell”. The old tagline was “A Backpacker’s Guide to Canada“, which while it suited it’s purpose for a couple years, I never truly felt like I guide, just a guy writing about his own take on Canada and hoping to encourage a few other people to saddle up their backpacks and wander through this magnificent country. “True North Strong & Awesome“defines this country, this blog, and is something you could potentially hear come out of my mouth if you’re ever having a beer with me.
Yup, this too had to go. That old logo always looked too proud to me. Too puffed up in bulk. It never struck me as fun, and when I think of backpacking Canada, I think of excitement, fun, friendship, and quirky individuals and locations. I felt by adding that cursive typeface the design received a “hand made” feel to the design and kind of helps show that there’s a real person behind all this writing.
Large Slider & Banner
Canada is a beautiful country. I felt it was necessary to showcase the beauty using large photos and captions that encourage readers to have a gander. The homepage of I Backpack Canada now sports a beautiful responsive slider. As well, if you go into any of the category pages you’ll notice a large banner for each category. The same applies for when you pop into a single post to read the entire article. This large banner I feel ads a Magazine / Newspaper type feel to the overall design, and makes for a more professional way to showcase my photography on Canada.
A Cleaner Sidebar
Travel Blogs tend to have the ugliest sidebars on the internet. Look around and you’ll see what I mean. I didn’t want that at all. So I cleaned mine up as much as I could, while adding some playful ribbons to the headers. (Note: if you’re on an old barfy browser you might not see the ribbons, in which case go upgrade and you’ll see them). The sidebar is such a crucial piece to a travel blog as that’s where most of the money comes in from advertising. While it might not be much money, it keeps all the hamster wheels turning and ensures this website stays online. So I wanted it to be easy for readers to find more more information on this travel blog, and also showcase my sponsors a little better.
So what did I keep?
Kind of a combination of lots, and a little. The colours and overall feeling is very similar the the old design, but just tweaked. The content is still there. All of it! Didn’t touch a thing. I had to tweak a few minor things within a few posts in order for everything to behave responsively and not explode should you see it on your iPhone.
While I’m sure I’ll be squashing bugs for the next week or two, I felt that sitting on a finished design was counter intuitive, and it was time to get this out in the wild. If you have any questions or comments about the layout I’d love to hear from you. Same goes if you catch a weird glitch or a post doing something strange, don’t hesitate to let me know.