On Friday, we went live with Mandala Journal‘s Issue X. At the time, I was in Gainesville, Florida, attending a THATCamp hosted by The University of Florida, and so unfortunately, I had to miss the launch. But I did not want to miss the chance to share about the updates and design work I did for this year’s issue and get back to blogging about my web work. Here it goes:
1. This year, I really wanted to work on cleaning up the code and transitioning the whole site to PHP. I have learned a scary amount this past year, so it was actually a little painful to look back at the clunky, redundant, and poorly-structured code. But cleaning it up, while monotonous, was refreshing.
2. Shifting to PHP made it much easier for me to make consistent edits to common page components like the header and footer. I developed a footer for the journal’s main pages and one for the contents (artwork, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry). I also implemented two local style sheets, one for the main pages and one for the contents.
3. I changed the masthead layout a bit this year, building it off of the archive page set-up. I like the consistency this move provided.
4. I love, love, love our table of contents this year. Our editor-in-chief, wanted a simple outline layout, and I had a great time creating such a modest, clean page.
5. We did a lot with watercolors last year, and Christine wanted to see if we could find a way to add a touch of them to this year’s issue. I developed a watercolor horizontal line that we feature throughout the issue.
I’m really happy with how the site looks. In a conversation at THATCamp about web design in the humanities, I talked about my experience working on Mandala. My collaboration with Christine has been a really productive one. What we’ve made is really a product of meetings, email conversations, ideas passed back and forth, her suggestions and my implementations. There is really no way to point to something in particular and say that was Christine’s idea or that was something I came up with. Instead, I believe the our combined efforts are more than the sum of our individual input. Together, we’ve built something really great.