The occasion of a little makeover for good old Clayfox (thanks Jai in New Delhi!) has me thinking back over all its incarnations, most of which have been slightly hideous. Without WordPress and its myriad of free themes, I hate to think of the garish rags that might be tricking out these musings.
The maturation of the web means that those of us who have no business attempting layouts, who agonize endlessly over colors and fonts, who last stumbled around CSS (and last opened Dreamweaver) sometime back in the first Bush II era — well, we can grab our look and feel from the rack and save our energies for, I don’t know, wondering if connectivity is impoverishing.
You may not care for this current incarnation — you may find it distracting or commercial-feeling (yet not a single thing to buy!) — but I like how it surfaces a little more of the content piled up around here. I’m also a little intrigued by the view/popular metrics, all of which started from scratch after the May Day theme switchover. It’s been my firm belief that only a select few check in with this site; now I’ll get a sense of what those few are looking at without bothering with the likes of Google Analytics.
Since nothing is quite as self-indulgent as a blogger blogging about his blog, indulge me further, rare and wonderful reader, in a little amble through the Wayback….
Clayfox 2004-5— Making up for previous wretched excesses (see below), I was going for a clean look in the last days of hand-coding the whole site. A fritzed-out fox carried over earlier iconography, but otherwise this was demur signaling indeed:
Clayfox 2002-3–Oh the Wayback Machine is pitiless; even if it can’t quite capture every tiled iteration of gradient, it still grabs enough of the Clayfox home page at this awkward stage to recall its crazy insouciance, its Fireworks firewords. Streaks evoke an even earlier atrocity, the months when the home page actually had snowflakes trickling across it.
Clayfox 1998-2000–And finally on our nostalgia tour, we see a little infant site that really didn’t have a home page to speak of, just a series of handmade course webpages, hand-coded. We see electric blue text against a darker blue background, oh yes. I was actually proud of the fox/navigation in the header: like browser buttons, you see, except they were in the webpage! Each one had to be linked to a ‘next’ and ‘back’ page.
I think we can agree that the years between 1998 and now have been kind to Clayfox, or at least have helped make it into something more presentable. The design sins you see before you in this look back persist in some fashion, doubtlessly, on the site. Clayfox wouldn’t be itself, somehow, without some awkward badinage of simplicity, flashiness, and underengaged interactive widgets. There’s strange fun in all that–I can’t explain it to myself, but the site has been intermittently compelling enough to keep alive all these years. Just wait until it hits puberty.