Vincent Ritter

A few tweaks to the site

The last few weeks I started two new client projects, one short term (Website & CMS integration) and the other long term (React Native App - and I’m really super excited about this one). However, last night I was a bit burned out from not being able to do any of my own stuff.

Quickly remedied that problem by making a few minor cosmetic and wording changes to this very site. I thought I’ll write about it so I can look back at it one day and just think to myself: “What was I thinking??? That’s so ‘19s!”. Also, as I like writing about stuff like this, I think it’s important for me to express my motivations behind my decisions (more like a thought exercise).

Better dark and light modes

I used to set a default theme of “midnight” on my site when you first loaded it. However, now I’ve decided that I first check what mode you prefer for your UI. I’m a huge fan of the OS (macOS, iOS, iPadOS) switching themes automatically and I think content should also switch to what you prefer. However, there was one thing that bugged me. What if you like a dark interface but like to read on a light background. Or, perhaps you just want to see what it could look like with a light theme.

Whilst I already had a theme switcher in the sidebar, I took it to the next level… well, I guess only for me - because no one will probably use it. Now, if you come to the site and toggle the theme it will remain on that as long as you are on the website (I don’t set a cookie!) - if your OS changes the UI colour at the same time, it will keep the theme you manually selected. I guess it’s just a bit of a toy for me.

The code was pretty much the same as I had it with a few extra checks for dark/light mode changes.

Nicer sidebar, with a splash of colour

The sidebar really bugged me. It was drawing a lot of attention to itself with all the extra background colour and borders. It really separated the site from navigation to main content. However I really wanted to make it way more subtle whilst also drawing a bit more attention to the navigation (“Hey, there is more”). In my eyes, the sidebar was visual clutter and didn’t sit well with my “simple” ideals.

So, I removed the background colour, border and shadow on it. It's now is part of the page and I think it really looks great. Certainly better than before. It’s cleaner. It’s less of a mess even though the content is the same.

It really looks great with a light theme:

You can see the extra bit of colour I’m using in the navigation items now. I’m still undecided on the actual colours, but this is something I wanted to try and I really love it. I’m basically taking the main navigation colour and adding opacity to it.

Also looks good with dark mode:

I'm still undecided if the colours look correct here, but I think it’s better than not having any. Also in dark mode you will have the usual star scape to the left. I made that way subtler though as it didn’t look so great any other way. Just a little detail that probably not a lot of people notice, but it’s there anyway (for me). A bit of movement on the site is nice. Something I want to practice a bit more for other projects.

The sidebar also has a nice hover effect for the navigation items. It’s always been there but, I think, with the background colours it really makes it pop even more. On hover, all the other sub items fade out a little and the item you're over comes out at you. I’m also applying a bit of shadow as you do that.

General other tweaks

There’s a lot I changed in many subtle ways. My consulting page has been reworded somewhat and I also tweaked the “services” I offer. They now pop out a little bit, which is much nicer than before.

Other pages have changed a tiny bit too like my Apps page, I have a main app and also some “other” apps. This section will need a major rewrite anyway as I’m going to included all my other things I’ve worked on and launched, like Simple Schedule. Just going to make it my showcase for my personal stuff. The idea here is to consolidate the “Ventures” and “Sites” pages into one.

There is going to be a “Showcase” page at some stage where I’ll show off some of the client work - but that will probably come next year because I don’t have time just yet. No rush. At least I know who my clients are, and they are happy with what I do!

I’m also planning to launch a “Tools” page. That will list all the services I use for my freelance/independent lifestyle. I’ll probably throw in referral links here. Every little helps.

I’d love to have time to re-do everything, but that’s not going to happen any time soon.