Feedback required

There’s a new look. You might not be able to see it until you press the shift key and click on refresh button in the browser.

That better? or not? Please tell me what you think – colours, layout, design, accessibility etc.

My own thought is that the banner picture is too big for small screens; I want the whole bang-shoot to be centred in a web page rather than stuck to the left hand side; I want lovely Alan Johnston to move down slightly so he’s in line with the top picture to the right (or the pictures to move up); the borders around images could be thinner and I want the odd spacing between the divided column and the single column in the sidebar to be evened out.

There are still some things to be done here and there, links pages and about page to be updated etc, but otherwise I’m rather pleased with the overall effect. It’s a modified version of the Leia theme designed by Kapikua. As you’ll be able to see if you visit either of those links, the original language is Spanish which made things slightly surreal since I don’t speak a word but ultimately I suppose it doesn’t matter what something is called as long as it’s spelt consistently across the site.

27 Replies to “Feedback required”

  1. Exciting changes afoot! Nothing like redecorating to bring up the pulse rate! I love the snap of colours on the right with the photo thumbnails. Overall I think it’s coming along great. The content in each area is clearly laid out with lots of room in the right area. Since you asked, rr… the up and down division near the centre feels too strong and divisive to me, maybe because of the strong tonal separation so prominent in the middle region. I know what you mean by the difficulty of fitting the banner, and the whole page for small screens, yet making it center on a big one. Having the latter, I do find the text on the left edge is too close to said edge. I’m sure you will make it right with your skills! One other thing, I find it odd that Alan Johnston’s photo is so prominent up there, giving the impression that this is his blog. 🙂 Good luck with the redesign!

  2. Very nice. My suggestions: the banner is too tall. I’d knock 30-40 picksels off the height of it. Also, I feel that the sidebar is a little low on contrast – the turquoise don’t stand out very well on the dark grey.

    Also I’m getting a horizontal scrollbar even though my browser window is maximised, and the search box in the top right seems to have fallen down within its allotted space, like a damp bus stop poster inside one of those locky glass boxes.

    Firefox on Mac OS X 10.4.9 at 1024×768. Also witnessed on Safari 2.0.4 (do they use the same rendering engine anyway?).

    I agree with the previous comment that the Alan Johnston photo makes it look like this is his blog. You need a headshot of yourself above it to claim the site back. Or perhaps just a little “About” panel.

    Must go – looks like Bernard wants to borrow the computer to write an email.

  3. Ok thanks for the suggestions.

    I’ve moved Alan’s photo down so it’s clearer that it’s not his blog. I’ve knocked 38 pixels (to be precise) off the banner and changed the sidebar text colour. However now the post text won’t move up to fill those extra 38px and I can’t find out why.

    I have no idea why the search box is slumping in your browser, Pete, I’ve given it strict instructions to start 6px from the top of the box. Sigh. But I’m using firefox on Mac OSX 10.4.9. Maybe that extra makes all the difference.

    I’m still trying to find you how to get the whole thing in the middle of the page and thus allow a bit of breath on the right hand side as you suggested, m-l. I agree that it’s just too close to the edge for comfort 🙂

  4. Looks fine. Banner is a tad on the large side but that adds to the appeal because you begin by looking into space, so it’s contemplative.

    Makes me want to start a blog!

  5. Lovely. Banner a little big – too much padding around the image – but otherwise really easy on the eye!

  6. I like a lot of things about the layout. Real quality look. The page as a whole works well for me (PC, Firefox, 17 inch screen. Nice to see so many of your photos so clearly down the side. Different categories of info easy to find. While I like the contrast of dark grey and white, perhaps the amount of screen that is so dark rather overshadows your posts on the white part – the dark seem to come forward and the white to retreat? (I’m looking at another blog we know that has a similar contrast – I see that the dark part is about 20% narrower.) I like the banner – the image is very evocative of what blogging is about – , but don’t you want one of your own images there? It seems a shame for such a talented and distinctive photographer to be using someone else’s image.

  7. Thanks Neha, thanks Jean. Yes, efforts are underway to get the text to move closer up to the banner image.

    Jean… that is one of my pictures! (if you’re seeing the correct one, a crescent moon between branches).

    Yes, I wonder whether I could/should make the sidebar slimmer and paler.

  8. Oh god! I had completely ignored your instructions and not refreshed! And you’ve changed the right-hand side to a lighter grey too. So that removes both my issues. The banner photo is great. I’ve not seen this kind of integration of the banner image with the design as a whole anywhere else. I like it very much indeed, and will now retire humiliated and get on with my work. 🙂

  9. Maybe the grey sidebar could still be narrower, especially as the banner is now grey too…

  10. I like it. My personal preference is for blogs with the main text on the left & a sidebar on the right: it makes sense to put your main text where a reader’s eyes naturally fall first. So I like the right-hand sidebar & overall look of the template.

    Or, as they’d say in Spanish, “Que bonita!”

  11. Search box seems to be fixed now.

    Small suggestion – the text in the sidebar about database queries and page generation time is generally not of interest to your average reader. For the sake of removing unnecessary information, I’d put HTML comments round that, at the least.

  12. Teju, Loiranne, Rachel, thank you!

    Pete – the search box was collapsing under the weight of the stat tracker code in the header. Imagine! I thought it was supposed to be a transparent single pixel or something. Anyway now it’s now in the footer. Frankly I’ve got no idea what “HTML comments” are. Neither do I have the slightest idea of the significance of the information you suggest they might cuddle up to, but I like it all the same.

    Now… why are the photo borders so thick? should I, having slimmed down the right sidebar, fatten up the white bit by the same amount? and how do I get the whol thing to sit in the middle of the page?

  13. If you look at the bottom of your sidebar, it says something like this:

    There have been 11 queries to the database.
    Time 0.426 seconds.

    This will be represented in your WordPress theme by some stuff about $wpdb->num_queries; and timer_stop(1);

    If you put this within HTML comments, then the information will still appear in the source code of the webpage, but won’t be visible to readers browsing the site.

    If I tried to demonstrate HTML comments in this comments box, it probably wouldn’t appear properly, so I’ll have to do it the long-winded way.

    You begin an HTML comment with the following four characters: left pointy bracket, exclamation mark, dash, dash. You end it with the following three: dash, dash, right pointy bracket.

    And just on the off chance that it actually works, these are

  14. For my screen, it would look better if you made the left-hand white section wider, as there is now a blank strip up the right-hand side. But I don’t know about issues with a smaller screen. Depends if the left-hand section is fixed width or adjusts to width of viewing screen, I guess. If you got to sit in the middle of the screen, that would also solve this.

  15. Oh, I think I do. Yes, there’s a white line down the right hand side of the screen because since the sidebar was slimmed down the whole thing takes up less width. But it’s anchored to the left hand side of the page. So the blank space is on the right.

    Further efforts to centre the thing underway.

    Pete… thanks. Um, but I would never know what the pretty numbers were if i put them in HTML quotes. I like seeing them there at the bottom even if I have no idea what they mean 🙂

  16. Ok, it’s in the middle thanks, as is so usually the case in a css-emergency, to Mr Hg and his metacontainer. But unfortunately this very same receptacle seems to have caused the search div to slither again. Probably had too much to drink or something.

    And I really want to know why flickr thinks I only have 10 pictures and won’t produce any others.


  17. Amazing how much difference being in the middle, and the little bit of white on each side, makes. It’s lovely!

  18. I guess I’m a little late to the party so it’s hard to see what the others were reacting to, but I like the way it looks now. The search box is still half hidden by what’s below, for me (using Firefox) – that’s the one jarring thing. I like the Flickr display. A section of trackbacks strikes me as likely to be of little interest to most visitors. That space might better be occupied by archives, I should think.

  19. I like the new look, though I kind of miss the frizzy balls across the top. Only problem is I have to re-size the window (on my computer anyway) to see the first words on the left side – which is important in English. Also the search box is sinking below the grey part below it – not so important. Would it help to use percentages instead of pixels when laying out the panels – do you even have a choice with blogs (never tried one myself)? I don’t know much about it, but thought I’d throw in a cent or two. I love your blog, even though I’ve never commented before. I was eating a cheese sandwich when the picture of your cat appeared – no really.

  20. Dave, yes, the searchbox div is still misbehaving and I haven’t had a chance to sort it out (or to attempt to sort it out) yet. You’re absolutely right about the trackbacks and archives… I had, I thought, made exactly that change but obviously failed to save it. Duh.

    dw – thank you so much for commenting 🙂 Yes, the frizzy baubles were good weren’t they. If it’s any consolation the tree in the new banner image is a bearer of such baubles, it’s just that there aren’t any in the picture. The need to resize the window is a little alarming. Could you let me know what browser, operating system and screen size you’re using?

    Does anyone else have this problem?

  21. I have the resizing problem too. If the window is less than 930 pixels wide, the main body disappears off the left hand edge of the page, at the same time that the sidebar is disappearing off of the right.

    Currently on Firefox under Windows, and I also get it in IE7.

  22. Oh god. What do you suggest? Should I make the whole thing thinner? Sigh. And that frikkin search box. Double sigh.

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