A beautiful and fast travel blog
Duze Podroze is a Polish travel blog written by my fiancee, Aleksandra Boguslawska. We’ve been working on it together, and I was pretty excited about the potential freedom to do something interesting.
In March 2015 I began working on a full redesign of a more basic theme I previously put together.
- Visual Design
- User Experience Design
- Front-end Implementationt
- Custom WordPress Theme
- Ongoing Testing & Optimisation
A distinct logotype
In early 2014 I worked on a branding project the blog. The challenge I faced was that there’s very little lettering done with non-english characters. Any reference I found was only vaguely relevant or approriate. After experimenting for a while, I came up with a simple balanced design that had the desired feel.
Designing the blog
Inspired by minimal and striking aeshtetics of big publishing sites like Medium.com and Adventure.com, I set out to design something that will build on great photography and provide a great reading experience.
As a first step, we compiled a wishlist of what a perfect blog would be like. It included: pleasant reading experience, focus on photography, a split between trips and categories, deep mailchimp integration, ability to 'like' posts and much much more.
Since we have so many great photos at our disposal, I wanted the design to be very bold, with large typography overlaid over photos. As with all my other projects, the site was styled from mobile up, meaning that it every bit of it is fully optimised for absolutely every screen size.
Posts on the blog are usually pretty long, and feature a lot of photographs, so the experience of reading them had to be perfect. Starting with a large header, I implemented some delicate animations that add a bit of character and immersion to the, otherwise static, posts.
Averaging at over 20 photos per entry, I explored ways of displaying images that were both beautiful and compact. I implemented the ability to create intricate photographic grids, which also function as a responsive lightbox gallery.
As Wordpress is known for being slow and unsecure - in fact, the site is under a constant automated hacker attack - I had to seriously work on security and performance. Ever since the attacks began, we’ve experienced the whole site going offline randomly. This was fortunately easily solved by installing and configuring a firewall and additionally protecting the login page with a password.
The bigger issue at hand was performance. WordPress will, by default, serve all the assets in a very inefficient manner. This will block actual content from loading until everything else is unnecessarily downloaded. The end result is the user being stuck on a blank screen for 3-5 seconds.
I compiled all asset files from over 40 into just 2 files. Styles are loaded first and scripts are loaded last, after page content. This simple procedure sped up the blog more than 4 times.
See the project live: duze-podroze.pl
Thanks for reading. Have a project you'd like to chat about? I'm available for consulting and more on select projects! Send me an email