Join along with our Live Redesign

What’s this madness you ask? I am in the process of redesigning things around here and I thought it may be fun to do something a little different.

We’re all taught early on that we should never modify files that sit directly on the server. This is because if something goes wrong then it means downtime, and when your site is mission critical (like an ecommerce site) then it can also mean loss of earnings. Having a visitor come to your site and see a 404 or worse a 500 could even damage your reputation.

So why am I doing it

You may have noticed, but the design that we use on ValidateThis is the default WordPress theme ‘Twenty Eleven 1.3’, it’s nice but a little boring at the same time. I wanted to make the site a little more my own and in the process maybe write up something about chopping / WordPress theming.

I like creating front-end experiences through design and HTML/CSS/JS and I thought it would be nice to somehow share this process with everyone else.

What will we see

Can you remember when all sites had one of these?

Anyone that is visiting the site during the live redesign will see all the changes I am making as I am making them (or at least when I save the file).

Nothing has been chopped or CSS’d before hand so when I am creating the widgets for the sidebars you will essentially be able to see me building them up from just a div to the finished style. I’m hoping that anyone on the site will get a glimpse of the thought processes and will be able to see the new design take shape along the way.

If I am changing PHP behind the scenes or doing anything I deem technical then I will update the live blog to try and explain it as I go along. It would be great to get feedback from the community at these points to see if they would do anything different or where I could improve.

I am not putting any time frame on completing this task and I expect that I will be working on it for about a week as I will be doing it after working hours. I will try and answer any questions left in the comments so if you are unsure of why I did something, or think I have messed something up then let me know.

There are still some things that I have not fully decided on so I am also open to suggestions / feedback and critique.

So if you like checking out other people work in HTML / CSS or seeing how certain things are done in JS then you should enjoy this. I am also leaving some ‘Easter eggs’ around the site for like minded people, if you spot one then make sure you Tweet about it!


  • Can we see the design now
    Nope, you will see it come together as I am building it, more exciting this way
  • Will you be starting from fresh or building on top of Twenty Eleven
    I am undecided yet, know any good WordPress boilerplate themes?
  • When will work start
    Some time this Sunday 13th May after I have woken up and enjoyed an English breakfast
  • What technologies do you plan on using
    All of them!! The site will be built in HTML5 and I will utilize CSS3 where needed. jQuery will be used on the site but I am going to try and keep everything modular. I plan on using ajax calls, transitions, minifications, sprites etc…
  • What if the site breaks or looks funny
    This is bound to happen, just refresh as I will be working on that section
  • I have a question
    Just leave it in the comments and I will add it to this list

OK now you know the plan I am going to go back to my design and start planning ahead. Still think this is crazy? Spread the word with a tweet.

I hope to see you all on Sunday,