It’s been quite a while since Readr has seen its last additions. I was sure it had reached a state at which I would be comfortable with calling it my favourite Tumblr theme. That was about one and a half years ago. A lot of things have changed since back then. I’d say I’ve gotten better at designing and developping, but even more than that, both my personal taste as well as general asthetics have changed.
Today I’m happy to announce that the one year-long process of developping the next iteration of this theme has come to a point where I’d call it ‘done’. You can grab Readr 2 right from the Theme Garden.
‘What’s new?’ you might ask. ‘Everything.’ is what I’d answer.
- Room to breathe
The more I was working on this release, the more I got tired of all the tight spacing the old version offered. Sure, I had whitespace in mind when I started developping Readr in the first place, but version 2 takes it to a whole new level.
All elements have enough room to breathe. All of them take their part of the page and make for a beautiful visual hierarchy and a very focused browsing. As with the old version, you’re still free to show or hide most sections of the page so you can have just the content you want your readers to see.
- Photos and videos in all their glory
Readr was focused on presenting a great reading experience, so comes the name. But letting people view videos and photos in a nice way was already somewhere inside my head back then. Still they were stuck inside the same cards as all other elements with no special treatment whatsoever.
Readr 2 brings the experience of browsing a photoblog or a videolog to a whole new level. Videos shine in their intended 16:9 aspect ratio with a size large enough to allow for ideal 720p video quality.
- Even better typography
Yes, the old version was quite readable and things even improved over time, but at some point, the same old fonts just don’t work anymore, it’s time for something new. Source Sans Pro and Droid Serif are beautiful fonts and work together so incredibly nice. A lot of thoughts were also spent on the ideal font size, line height and all things regarding typography.
- Minimalism is dead; long live minimalism
I always loved how I could customize Readr to look exactly the way I want it to. I could add features or remove them with the click of a single option. From a simple starting point, the theme could take all kinds of variations with many different features.
This is still true for Readr 2. It offers a beautiful starting point with options to make it yours only. Readr 2 is a one-column theme with no sidebars, no scrolling headers, no useless extras that could get in the way of consuming the content. Like that, your viewers can have a calm viewing experience to really enjoy all your posts.
By focusing on the essentials I can really give those aspects the attention they need to make them as gorgeous as possible. This is minimalism with both asthetics and the viewer in mind.
- Readr gets a social treatment
Readr offered some sharing options since day 1, but they never quite stood out. The new reblog and tweet buttons on all posts are front and center, while still not drawing too much attention. That means your viewers can reblog a post on Tumblr or send the post to their twitter followers right from your homepage, all without any hassle.
But there’s more. You can link to your various only presences right in the footer so everybody can follow you wherever they want. Currently, some of the major networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are supported, but more will come in the future.
- Completely rewritten code
Seriously, I can’t really think of any part of the old version that I reused. This leads to a much more simplified codebase and, of course, better performance. I won’t go into too much detail right here as much more detailed information is available right in the well annotated source on GitHub.
All those new features make Readr 2 ideal for all kinds of blogs. You’re writing long texts? Readr’s got you covered with it’s beautiful typography and the distraction-free reading experience. A photoblog? Hide all extraneous content and show your photos front and center, no distraction around. Chats? Links? Q&As? It doesn’t matter, all post types are supported. There are no limits.
It’s quite a big release, truly, but this is nowhere near the end. I still have a huge list of tasks that I need to complete. For now I’m keeping them private, but there’s a list of publicly raised issues on GitHub.
Be sure to watch this blog for further updates. Over the next couple of days I’ll post some tidbits about this new version so you can get the most out of Readr.
Once again, Readr is a free download on Tumblr’s Theme Garden. Follow this blog or follow me on Twitter to keep up with the latest updates. If you’d like to do me a favour, tweet about Readr to your followers and spread the word.