New theme design for Freewaregenius


As you can see all around, we’ve changed the design of the site. The reason: I wanted something simply cooler and more attractive, and something that can showcase the content that we put up in a better way.

Although I liked our old theme, which was a slightly modified version of the Genesis News theme,I wanted something more visually appealing and – perhaps – more user friendly.

Also, with the eight articles per page showcased on the older theme, it did seem that any article which fell off to the second page was more or less forgotten, and I wanted a theme that could keep last week’s content alive and appealing.

Freewaregenius Blink Theme3

One thing I wanted to do is integrate Twitter into the site in a way that might facilitate an ongoing conversation with readers, which is why I put the Twitter widget right in the middle of the main page. Things may change though and over the coming weeks I will experiment with a number of different ideas. I am also looking at another theme that is very similar to this one, and depending on how things work out may change the theme again. One thing that worries me is slower site speed that may be caused by more images being loaded per page. We’ll see.

I am still wedded to the Genesis framework though, which I find to be both powerful and easy to work with. The new theme is based on the Blink Genesis theme from Themedy.

Let me know what you think about the new look.

  • Peter

    It’s a pity that
    – the article zone is still that small
    – my wide screen is only used for half of its width when I read articles on freewaregenius

    • Samer Kurdi

      @ Peter: it’s designed to fit into a 1024 pixel resolution, is why.

      • Duckeenie

        Maybe you could center the content instead of left justify that way we won’t have this horrible white-space on the right?

      • Peter

        I understand the technical reason. Nevertheless, it looks old-fashioned and even unprofessional on wide screens (which I consider as mainstream nowadays).
        Have a thourough look on how other websites intelligently use that extra space.
        For the rest: go ahead bringing good content! And thanks for doing that.

  • Jim

    Think you’ll ever implement Disqus?

    • Samer Kurdi

      I’ve been thinking about it. I did try to implement it once but the process was error prone and broke down midway. We’ll see.

      • Duckeenie

        Another vote for Disqus (so hard to deliberately spell things wrongly, and the red squiggly line gives me an O.C.D. attack).

        • TQ

          A vote down here for Disqus. I use it, but I hate it. The only benefit (or biggest detriment?): I’m too lazy to switch to something else; Disqus promotes my laziness.

          • Duckeenie

            So right now you’re sat on your ass complaining that Discus makes you lazy. Really?

  • Anon

    Two columns works okay, as Facebook has demonstrated to some extent with timeline. At my screen resolution I’m getting four — which to be honest is a bit of a mess. It’s more a newspaper than a webpage. One of the advantages of big screens is having reasonable margins and allowing things to look less busy.

  • sendhil

    nice theme, impressive update

  • As others have said on widescreen you get four columns on main page and unfortunately, once you get past the first row, it gets a little chaotic.

  • kalm-man

    The home page (4 columns on 1650x) is acceptable as design, for my tastes is too magazine like but is trendy if that is what you liked to accomplish, and tastes are not discussed 🙂

    But the individual article pages are horror like 1995-2000 designed for 800×600 resolution, you can better, we all know you can better so please try, I would say from scratch 😀 thank you for your hard work that worth more than this current design.

  • bolgwrad

    Sorry, no like so far. White on grey and a skinny font – looks kind of overexposed. And what is the rationale of the 3 columns? – without headings it looks random, especially since you’ve got at least three fonts going on there. Needs work.

  • Anonymous

    If it is any help, the response time was fine for me, loading practically instantly. Despite everything else having run particularly sluggishly all night. Plus, connecting to the internet via radio does make my basic speed pretty low (albeit about 10 x dial-up rates).

    • Samer Kurdi

      Thanks for reporting this. It’s good to know that the site is not particularly slow.

  • bolgwrad

    Oh, I get it with the variable columns, but looks even more random

  • I like it! The dynamic columns are great and the sidebar of topics seems like it will be very useful.

  • Borhan

    Looks nice but need bigger font for the articles.

    • Samer Kurdi

      I enlarged the font, removed the right sidebar, and made the content area wider. Thanks for your feedback.

  • Anonymous

    I miss the bit on opening that has some kind of ‘slide-by” changing show of the latest things and popular articles, also the lightness is a bit – bare? It was more readable before somehow.

  • Anonymous

    i mean the bit where it always used to show you ’30 next best things… etc”

    • Samer Kurdi

      Yes, I get what you’re saying. Will consider adding a featured slider, if not in this design then the next.

  • Few minutes spend on updating my style for freewaregenius and the page looks similar to what I had before – just plain article without the sidebars and all unnecessary items. Sorry, but I getting the new articles trough RSS channel and then I just need to see the article. 🙂

  • michel

    I’m sorry, I don’t like it. It’s harder to read, too busy and a poor layout which jumps around when I re-size. It’s also quite ugly.

  • TQ

    Hot damn! It’s fancy!

  • Wim

    Like it . The first website with a new design, where they don’t decide to:
    a) make characters twice the size
    b) add white space everywhere
    c) increase the line distance even more then needed for a) and b).

    The fact that they say it is too busy is aka for saying you have overview and get used to it.

    Thanks for not following the new “mordern” style of websites.

    • Peter

      >> Thanks for not following the new “mordern” style of websites.
      If that means “not using half of my wide screen for pages containing a single article” I strongly disagree

  • Paul

    Afraid I have to agree with the negatives about the appearance on a wide screen and there is not enough contrast between the background to the articles/comments and the main background.
    I have large, bright, empty areas (about 40%) on my screen as I am typing this.

  • toni

    I think the newe design is an improvement. Much easier to read. On my widescreen it is also a bit to the left, but that doesn’t bother me. I feel the empty space creates some calmness which is hard to find on the internet and feels like a more quiet spot while surfing. The lightgrey background is not to straining on my eyes (like Paul says), but I think that is because my screen is adjusted not to be too bright. By the way, widescreen may be the standard these days, that is only if you don’t consider how it looks on a tablet.
    I like the newspaper-style homepage, giving you a quick glance at all the new articles. Some may find it a bit chaotic, but for me it isn’t that chaotic.

    • Samer Kurdi

      Thanks for the input Toni.

    • Peter

      >> By the way, widescreen may be the standard these days, that is only if you don’t consider how it looks on a tablet.
      My favourite freeware site looks good on my widescreen as well as on my iPad. So, it is definitely possible…

  • fran

    Nice, clean and functional design. Very readable. I notice it take less time to load too. Maybe the comments take too much space because of the wide separation between them (perhaps ‘reply’ button could be somewhat smaller too) but of course this objection is a mere trifle.

  • Arun

    Better design.. easier on the eye. It’s definitely an improvement. Keep up the good work.

  • John M


  • Sreedhar

    Good theme! Will give access to more posts on home page.

    Thank you

  • – Speed: OK.
    – Colours: fine.
    – Lay-out: too chaotic.

    As a long-time reader of Freeware Genius, I must say I really do no appreciate the new, chaotic lay-out. I would like to be able to chronologically read all the articles, most recent one on top, going down into the past. Functional regression should be prevented at all costs when you change something. This doesn’t look very neat:

    One other thing: I would really like to see the author with each snippet on the home page, as before. Now I can’t see who wrote what unless I open the article (and scroll all the way down).

    Have you considered a lay-out like Techdirt? You can “roll out” each individual article (by clicking on the “read more” button), so that you don’t need to load a different page when you want to go from the list of snippets to a full article: the best kind of lay-out I have seen so far on a weblog.

  • WJ

    Not sure if I came in late on this discussion and you’ve made some changes, but I am a looong time reader and I absolutely love the redesign. Great job!!

  • Samer Kurdi

    Thanks guys for all of your feedback, The site is going to have another design update soon. I summarized all of your feedback in a post entitled What I learned after my recent site redesign

  • bruno

    Hello Samer,

    After experiencing your design for a few weeks, I would like to make the following comments:
    – Somehow, I like chronological articles from top to bottom, most recent first. I don’t like the 3 column articles, it makes things confusing.
    – The height of articles being different makes it not so much palatable to my eyes. Maybe I am too square 🙂
    – I like the title first (before the pictures). So, the order title, picture, text, better matches with my preference.
    – Lifehacker has always been a model of efficient design to me, with a design well thought for each type of device.
    Looking forward to your new redesign. In the end, I will still continue to visit your site, because the content is so valuable, regardless of the look and feel of the site.

  • I LOVE your content – even linked to it from mine on a number of occasions, but:
    1. I have to agree that on a wide screen it feels a bit awkward leaning to the left to read. That is why I kept my own one center-page.
    2. Disqus would be a good idea, since it allows users to comment on various sites around the web with one universal login of their choice, ie: Disqus itself, Facebook, etc. Furthermore, Disqus will allow you to gain more readers via their “link exchange” and also generate revenue via PayPal.
    3. Your add revenue will drop if you have no Adsense above the fold on your landing page, nor any monetized search results.
    Just my 10 cents worth.

  • justin ward

    Yes! Much better now 🙂