If anyone needs me, I’ll be staring at my awesome new blog design

The new look! It’s here! If you’re reading this on a feed reader, click through to see it. (Ha, ha. Just a little dry humor there. If you follow me on a feed reader, you’re not seeing this at all and you thought that I quietly shut down my blog weeks ago, since having an RSS feed doesn’t appear to be part of God’s plan for my life.)

John Flynn, the best web designer in the galaxy, has been working all summer on this new look. I told him I wanted something that was simple, light, and fun. I secretly suspected that I might have requested the impossible when I wrote that I hoped for a design that was “minimalist” but also “has a distinctive style,” but he made it happen. It’s that kind of thing that makes him the best designer in the galaxy. (Evidently he inherited some kind of gene for artistic awesomeness. Have you read his dad’s books? They’re great.)

I note for the record that it was originally John’s idea to have a picture of me in the header. When I wrote the design specs I didn’t say, “An integral part of the design should be MY OWN HEAD. I want to see lots of it, right at the top of the page.” However, he pointed out that readers like to know immediately whom they’re hearing from, and I noticed that I like it when other bloggers incorporate pictures of themselves to the design.

What pushed me over the edge, though, is that I keep seeing incoming links to my site in social media and forums that say, “Check out this post – but BE WARNED, it’s a CATHOLIC SITE.” Like, I come across something like that at least once a week. People share my blog posts to their friends the way you might talk to someone about a lovely swimming hole that happens to be infested with crocodiles — you want to let them know about a couple of the nice spots, but can’t recommend that they stay for more than a quick dip because of the man-eating beasts.

So I thought it might help to allow people to “meet” me right away. I found a picture that Joe took with my phone the last time we were at El Monumento, which I thought made me look not entirely like a crazed Catholic fundamentalist — or, at the very least, conveyed a vibe of, I put the FUN in ‘crazed Catholic fundamentalist’! So I told John to go ahead and use it.

orig-header-image

Anyway, I’m thrilled to have a fresh new design. What do you think? (John Flynn is going to enter the witness protection program if I request any more changes, so go ahead and tell me you like it.)

Happy three-day weekend!

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Comments

  1. says

    On a slightly-unrelated note, I read you on a feed reader and it normally takes a while for posts to show up, but this actually showed up right away! So maybe new design = end of RSS woes?

    • Elizabeth says

      Your feed shows up in my reader as well. I don’t think I’ve missed any posts and I haven’t noticed a delay in delivery. For what it’s worth, I use a private feed reader that my brother built when Google Reader went away, but I’m not technical enough to know if that makes any difference whatsoever.

  2. says

    Looks great! And you definitely put the FUN in crazed Catholic fundamentalist! Do you have a link to your writing at NCR? That’s the one thing I looked for but couldn’t find.

  3. Rebecca says

    Looks great! Also, I follow you on Feedly and have never (to my knowledge) missed a post.

  4. Claire C says

    Love the new design. Your photo is friendly and welcoming, in addition to being pretty. Great job!!

  5. says

    Well you must understand, Mrs. Fulwiler, that all Catholics are terrifying creatures to be avoided at all costs unless they happen to write something funny…but only for that funny thing should you be remotely near their site or you might catch the evil. :) (/sarcasm)

    Love the new look. You keep doing what you’re doing. :)

  6. says

    but where are the scorpions? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Great design, kudos to your design guy and you have a great weekend as well!

  7. says

    Yup, my reader is working, too. And believe me – I’d notice. I think I use Feedly on my laptop and Newsify on my phone.

  8. says

    I love it.
    It’s nice and bright and easy to read and comfy!
    <3
    Great job designer guy.
    Hugs Jen, Have a happy HOT weekend.
    Is there anything else here in Texas?

    Em

  9. says

    Love it. Nice, fresh look. I am hopeful someday I can take the time, money, and brain power to develop and switch up my blog site too. You’ve inspired me, though, that it’s never too late to make changes.

  10. Sharon says

    The site is awesome! I really like the fresh, simplified look! As far as John Flynn’s father, yes, I do know of him and I have his book, 7 Secrets of the Eucharist. Coincidentally, I came across books by a Vince Flynn who was a fiction author, and I had been trying to find out if they were the same person. I can see now that they are not, but they have a devotion to the Catholic faith in common. Vince Flynn wrote several best-selling thrillers after beginning his career by self-publishing. Unfortunately I learned that he died of cancer just this past June. He was only in his 40’s. I’m sure a quick prayer for his soul would be appreciated, which is why I bothered to write about this side matter. :) Congrats on the new website!

  11. says

    Hey! All I see on my iPad is “Conversion Diary by Jennifer Fulwiler” no picture, no coffe stains! I, um, like your font choice though!

  12. says

    This is great! Very clean, easy on the eyes, not too busy. I have a hard time with visual clutter today, which you can imagine as a mother of four children, who does not enjoy cleaning, can be a bit stressful. I appreciate uncluttered blogs. Enjoy your new design!

  13. says

    Hahaha I’m one of those who might refer your blog to someone with some kind of “but she’s Catholic” addendum! In all fairness, I feel like every time I do a 7 quick takes, I should also start with a disclaimer that I’m not Catholic–I mean, I don’t want to mislead ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think my foot in both worlds stems from attending college at St. Mary’s in San Antonio. I was (heavily) involved in campus ministry, for heaven’s sake. I should just convert already…;-p

    • Catherine says

      I agree ~ you should convert! Come on in, Sarah, the water’s warm and we’d love to have you! Besides, there are no 7′ tall Gators or…..(gasp!) Scorpions in the water or out! ๐Ÿ˜€

  14. says

    In the words of the beloved Outkast, it is ‘so fresh and so clean clean’! I love it!

    Also, my husband demanded that I tell you that he has been reading your posts through his reader, feedly, and it works just fine. Also, mine is working fine, but he really wanted me to let you know that his is working.

  15. lehall says

    I like the blog design. The Bright purple and pink munstrual cup ad is a bit distracting, but the actual site design is right on. I read your blog through feedly, and as far as I know I have not missed anything in a long while.

  16. says

    I LOVE it! It’s beautiful. And I love the picture you are using. It is so cute and I think much better than your last one that you had professionally taken. This is much more relaxed and pretty and I love your hair. Can’t wait to poke around – even if it IS a CATHOLIC site :)

  17. says

    I love it! Clean and crisp, even with the coffee stains. It seems like the appropriate level of playful. :) And also – I frequently experienced a delay loading your page with its old design. This one popped up right away!

  18. Susan says

    Love the new design! But there is a quirk that is driving me crazy. The page seems to be “blinking” at me? I’m not sure how else to describe it. It’s as though the screen goes blank for a quarter of a second and then comes back to normal. Like a flash on a camera except it goes darker instead of brighter? I’m reading this on the bloglovin frame and the frame at the top and the menu bar isn’t doing this, just your page so I’m guessing that my computer is fine…

    Other than the irritating “blinking”, the new design is great!

  19. Lynne says

    Oh you definitely put the “fun” in crazed Catholic fundamentalist, and also the “mental”! Which is why it is so perfect that you mention “Gumby” and “gansta rap” and “Houston rodeo” and “clotting” and “coding” all in one succinct intro!

    I love your new picture and the overall look, but mostly I love that each page loads instantly. For some reason, the other format always came up very dark and unreadable for a few moments before finally snapping-to.

  20. elizabethe says

    I love it!

    I’m not sure if I’m disappointed or relieved that there is not a scorpion prominently pictured, though.

    I’m going to go with relieved.

    But look, sorry to put John in Witness Protection, but you should definitely ad one of those computer code thingys that will make a scorpion image crawl across any posts about scorpions (you know how you can have snow falling or bugs — this is a thing right? I use the internet, I’ve seen this before!).

    JOHN FLYNN, SHE NEEDS THAT FEATURE!!!!!

    I will personally mail you a crisp 20 dollar bill to offset the cost of making that happen.

  21. says

    AWWWW YEAH!! Jen, I absolutely LOVE this new look you got goin on! I love the brightness, the lightness, and the great photo of you at the top. A huge change from the earlier design! And that coffee stain up in the corner?? That’s so perfect. Yeah – light, bright, fun, imperfect perfection:)And the Blog Intro is really funny. I mean, how do you even make a blood clotting disorder sound so hilarious?! I don’t know, but you did it, lady!! High fives:)

  22. says

    This is terrific! It’s funny how you come to associate a person with her blog design and then you see a new version and think, ‘no, THIS is you!” It’s very welcoming and informal. John’s a major hero of my web design world and he’s created something perfect for you. Congratulations!

  23. Catherine says

    Love to see you right on top of the Nav Bar, Jennifer! ๐Ÿ˜€ I have but one suggestion…… I really think that YAYA is her own category! Do you know what I mean? She’s good under “On A Lighter Note”, with the “Scorpions”; but really, I think she deserves her own Category, Button, Section…..I know you will get my drift! LOL! Congrats on the clean & refreshing new design! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Bonnie says

      I was thinking the same thing about Yaya. You don’t want your occasional visitors to miss that delightfully eccentric character!

  24. Bonnie says

    I really do like it, and I’m not just saying that to be nice. I like the simpler look and the font appears easier to read, and I like that there are more entries to be seen per screen page. I like that I don’t have to scroll so much to go to prior posts that I may be looking for, or to see if there are posts I’ve missed. Also, the photo at the top of the page is very inviting and friendly looking. You look normal.
    Sorry being a Catholic makes you a pariah in some circles, but someday the stigma will die off and go away, because all lies eventually die off and go away. Anyway, it’s the least we can suffer for the One who suffered so much for us. God bless.

  25. says

    Well as long as you ( and everybody else!) loves it that’s the main thing! I don’t love it- I think it’s a bit soulless. It’s just….it doesn’t have any of your heart in it! But your writing is what I’m here for, after all :)

    • says

      On the ipad it the sidebar ad that JUMPS out at me- its definitely the most dominant thing. It’s all white and orange and BIG BRIGHT AD. See, constructive criticism!

  26. Laura says

    Love it– just one piece of (hopefully) constructive criticism. You look gorgeous in the original photo, but because your forearms are cropped out in the header, you look a bit hunched over and uncomfortable. It think it would be so cute to see your forearms propped up on the nav. bar (would provide better balance), but maybe that is just my artistic neuroticism coming through…

    • Summer says

      I really like the photo of you at the table, too. My first thought was great new design, so clean and crisp. Then, I’d love to see you with your arms propped on the bar. So cute. I’ll keep reading no matter what. :-)

  27. Genevieve says

    Hi Jen,
    I am an avid reader of this blog, I have learnt so much here! However, can you PLEASE consider changing your main photo to one where you are not so hunched over?
    Thank you,
    Genevieve

  28. tanya says

    I really like you too much not to say, that I don’t like the photo without the background. You on white isn’t working for me. It looks too eager. I’m sorry! The snapshot, is LOVELY. And feels much more relaxed. Hard to believe they’re the same shot.
    (also, I cannot see the boxes next to Name and Mail – email would be better here – to enter my info)

  29. Melissa H-K says

    I like it! It just needs one last thing to make people know that they have landed on a dangerous Catholic website: scorpions doing Gregorian chant. Just use a midi file so that everybody will know it isn’t real monks but electronic bugs. C’mon, don’t you love it when you pull up a new website and all of a sudden your computer is singing at you? Especially with obviously fake instruments? Yes. Of course you do.

    • Linebyline says

      No, it needs a YouTube video in a sidebar that starts playing automatically. Preferably one that starts with some lout music, a loud “SWOOSH-flying-logo” sound effect, or someone screaming the name of the video series. Either put it way down the page, or add a delay so it doesn’t start playing until the viewer has scrolled it out of view. For added fun, use some JavaScript to automatically select the loudest and most obnoxious videos when someone is viewing the blog between 11 PM and 5 AM. (I recommend doing this client-side so you don’t have to worry about time zones.)

      You could split the difference by making a YouTube video *about* chanting scorpions. Ooh, now I want to see a video of all the Fulwiler kids teaching scorpions to chant.

  30. TheresaEH says

    nice new website eh!! To really show that you are Catholic there should be a glass of beer or wine on that table ๐Ÿ˜‰

  31. Paul H says

    The new design is very nice. But honestly, I liked the old one better. I’m just not a big fan of “minimalist.” But if you have to go minimalist, this new design has a nice feel to it.

  32. says

    I love the new design. It’s so clean (except for the coffee stain, of course.) And that’s a great picture of you. And a great about me page.

  33. CHSmith says

    Looks great. I like the picture of you right there by your name. The design looks light but not frivolous. The page loads quickly. Great job, John Flynn!

  34. syd says

    I like it. :)

    I’m glad that the posts are still linear down the page and not in that newspaper style that some blogs do.

    Simple and fresh! Nice job :)

  35. Joni says

    I think it looks GREAT! I love the picture of you in the header. Very nice. By the way, I’m about halfway through The Long Ships – love it! What a fun read! Thanks for the suggestion.

  36. says

    I miss the original color scheme: I have vision issues that make reading black font on white backgrounds very painful, so … My heart dropped a bit to see the new design! Yours had been one of my “eye relief” pleasant blogs to visit! Ah well!!

  37. Rosemary says

    The minute I open the site each time, it looks like you’re in scrubs and I wonder – did I come to some doctor’s blog? Doesn’t anyone else see this?

  38. JUD says

    Oh my gosh, miss Fulwiler, what happened? A shocking new

    lay-out. Inclucing coffee stain and, I must say, a very pretty

    picture. I do not intend to start a flaming war, probably I

    missed one when I was camping in France without any

    e-connection. And now at my first day home alone with six

    hours of ironing left, I allow myself to read one blog, yours,

    still two weeks to back-read and I find myself stuck because,

    I am shocked by this change. I was so used to your former

    lay-out. And the worst is, I can’t remember it! The small

    column on the left is gone, your picture has changed, the

    coffee-stain wasn’t there. And somehow it screams less

    ‘catholic’. Wich may help in getting my husband to read

    some of your posts. And don’t mind me. I’ll sob above my

    ironing board. That is, after I read your blog. The tears may

    help to get rid of the wrinkles. In the laundry, of course.

    • JUD says

      P.S. I wrote this post without reading any of the above. Seems that the less-in-your-face-catholic-thing works. However, I took another look of your being bent forward on the picture, since I do not want to send strange pictures to my husband. I would say you are leaning ‘towards’ your audience, more than ‘leaning forward’. Friendly, and, eh, normal. Relatable. And with the food stuff and lots of pictures added, it almost seems like a normal blog… Please keep writing (especially about the catholic stuff)and inspiring people.

  39. says

    I love it! It’s so “clean” (<–See what I did there?) and less overwhelming. And on another note, I am a non-Catholic Christian and I wrote a post about exactly what you are talking about with the "but she's Catholic" thing. I linked to you in it but I don't know if you saw it. Anyway, happy blogging!

  40. Karyn says

    I actually like when Catholic sites look Catholic. I liked the first Conversion Diary I used to visit, with the mission bell. This looks a little too much like a site for an inspirational speaker. Sorry Jen!

  41. r says

    Like the new look, but out of preference it’d be nice to see more than one post in full without having to click through. Honestly I tend not to read stuff if I have to open the whole ‘article’ because in that split second it takes to click, someone will flood the bathroom, or paint the kitchen floors with whatever was at hand.

  42. says

    I like it! I’m finally on the computer *AND* remembering to actually look at your blog! (The mobile version is not nearly as exciting, sorry.)

    Funny thing is, I just redid my blog layout and chose something similar: main story at the top, older stories below. Only mine was a free template so it’s not so snazzy as this.

    Oh, and the coffee stain? LOVE that!

    And no, I didn’t nearly hashtag LOVE, why do you ask?

  43. Aileen says

    Jen, I love this!! It’s cleaner and simpler and not so *busy* on the eyes. I also love the font and colors. And your picture up there at the top just makes your blog seem friendlier and cozier. Excellent job by your web designer!!