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28 February 2009

Site redesign

It's been nearly 4 years since I started this blog, and for a while I've felt it needed a change to its rather generic, stale look. To that end, I've started using a template normally used for WordPress but adapted for Blogger. The only major change is that it's a wider template, better for use with high resolution, widescreen monitors. I'll be able to incorporate larger pictures and additional page elements in the process.

Comments and/or suggestions about the new look? You know what to do.

12 comments:

Matt said...

I have a few comments right off the top of my head. For one, there's no link back to the index.html -- the graphic up top that you would think would take you there, doesn't. And, except for the two most recent posts, the dates on the blog posts seem to be missing (though the graphic where the date is supposed to go is still there, sitting empty.) I'm also not sure if those icons below the title (the folder and the speech bubble) are supposed to do or link anything, but right now they're just inert. Also, speaking of inert icons, the RSS icons next to the links to the RSS feeds don't link; they should link to their respective feed, so a user can click on the icon or the text to get to the feed. And the poll box on the right hand side seems to be weird with regards to sometimes having scroll bars: in Firefox the scroll bars flash as its loading, then disappear, but in Opera the bars will sometimes hang around for a bit (especially inside a single-post view, rather than the index view.)

On less objective notes, I think your "about the author" blurb should say more about you. Maybe not necessarily your whole resumé or whatever, but just something like "Marine Layer is a blogger and Oakland A's fan who has been covering the search for a new stadium for the Oakland Athletics exclusively and in-depth since March 2003." Right now your username and blog inception date don't tell us much. Also, I personally feel the theme is a bit too cartoony, 'fun' and Web 2.0-ish for such a relatively serious site, but that's only personal opinion. Perhaps changing the color scheme to green and gold, instead of white and powder blue, would make things look better? And maybe a different font for the title (though keep the same outline/bevel/gradient effect) -- something with a slight serif, and maybe use capitol letters?

Marine Layer said...

Thanks for the comments, Matt. I've created a new "Home" link in the menubar. The empty dates problem is an artifact of how Blogger treats multiple posts on a single date - only the newest post has the date attached. The RSS icons appear to be "bullets" associated with the div class tag. Can't seem to find a way around it so they'll stay put for now.

Haven't seen the scrolling problem you described. I've tested in IE 6-8, Firefox 2/3 for both Mac/Win, Safari 3, Opera 9 for both Mac/Win. I'll be on the lookout for it.

The sparse description is by design. I've done fine so far without divulging much info. As for the cartoonish look - well these days I'm trying not to take myself quite so seriously. I may change to A's colors once I get it right.

Not a big fan of serif fonts. That's why the previous version was almost entirely in rather casual looking Trebuchet MS.

Matt said...

I definitely see the need to keep your privacy, but I still think that your "About the author" section needs to give new readers a reason to trust and read you. There are a million and one blogs out there today, especially on the subject of baseball, so it helps to differentiate yourself -- a well-trusted expert on the subject -- from Joe Schmoe blogger. You're not some bleacher creature who's just throwing around the party line and spouting clichés, you're doing what amount to investigative journalism and in-depth, objective reporting.

It especially would help given your particular subject matter, where the blog space seems polluted with partisan blogs like Baseball San Jose, which nobody wanting an unbiased news source should read.

I think a little blurb explaining your credentials (without necessarily revealing personal information) would go a long ways toward getting new readers to trust you and, therefore, become regular readers.

Marine Layer said...

I respect your opinion Matt, but I'll let the content speak for itself and readers can decide on their own.

MikeTeeVee said...

Can you turn off full text justification? That's hard to read on a computer screen.

Marine Layer said...

Done.

Anonymous said...

ML---change is always tough but like the new layout---I also like the idea of including the polling---hopefully it is able to restrict 1 vote to each blogger rather than allow multiple votes from the same individual--

Tony D. said...

I like it R.M.. 4 years!? Time sure does fly when your having fun. Hope and optimism alive and well. (Georob would be proud)

FC said...

ML,

Is there some way of indicating the date and time of the last post to a thread, maybe next to the comment count. A lot of times there are comments being posted to 2 or even 3 threads at a time. A date and time indicator would help in no having to remember how many comments were posted the last time I checked for a new post. Hope this makes sense.

Marine Layer said...

That kind of date display could be a little confusing, FC. In lieu of that I've added a Recent Comments widget on the right side. Does that help?

Anonymous said...

The design is fine by me. I really don't care what it looks like as long as the content continues to be of such high quality. I remember the day you posted on AN saying you should start a blog about the stadium search. And now four years have gone by. Amazing.

FC said...

That works ML. Many thanks.