I am finally finished tweaking the new layout. This is it. In a nutshell, the changes are:
- Simpler. Fewer images.
- 2 columns instead of 3. The main column is now wider.
- Color options! (For future reference, the style switcher is at the bottom of the right column.)
The four styles you have to choose from (click them!) are:
- Classic Green (I couldn’t let it go…)
- Faded Gator (Homage to my alma mater, I guess?)
- Toothpaste on Chocolate
The style you choose is saved using a cookie. I’d be interested to know which color schemes you like or dislike.
OK, now is the part where I launch into my geeky analysis of the changes I made. Consider yourself warned.
First, I’d like to say that I don’t think this new design is “better in every way” or anything like that. It has some advantages over the old design, but for some reasons I still like the old design better. I suspect some readers will too. But the new design isn’t bad either, and there are good reasons for keeping it.
- Color choices. I’m very pleased with this.
- The clutter is gone! The navigation is condensed and 100% consistent. What used to take up a good chunk of the top of the left column is now a few text links at the top. There’s something very satisfying about simplification.
- Believe it or not, the “swoosh”-looking things in the logo at the top were originally supposed to be two S’s, for Sinosplice. Because of the way they were rotated, though, they never really looked like S’s. Now they finally do. Kinda.
- This wider main column will be nice. Sometimes you just want to post bigger images. The side column is wider too, so I’ll have fewer problems over there too.
- If you want to know more about me, you can go to the about page. No need to blather on about myself on this page. Concise.
- Google Search on every page. That should make finding things easier, should you need to.
- Non-blog stuff gone. The idea is to encourage visitors to explore the rest of the site with the prominent menu at the top. No need to clutter up the blog with that stuff. The “recent additions to the CBL” will stay, because it’s sort of like a blogroll, which is bloggy in nature.
- In the “Classic Green” color scheme, the background color of the right column provides better contrast than it used to. I paid closer attention to contrast when I chose the colors for the new color schemes too.
- Quicktags in the comments for easy formatting and linking.
- A tag heatmap in the archives section.
- Valid XHTML and CSS. (I’ll miss you, Flash header!)
- After getting rid of all those images, it does feel a little sterile compared to how it was.
- The top and bottom nav in the header sort of make the logo looked squeezed/cramped. It was so open before.
- No Flash. (I like Flash!)
- No more popup comments. It was just too much of a pain to redo the template, and they’re not at all necessary.
- More ads in the archives.
- Thanks to IE‘s disappearing list-background bug, the right column is going to look pretty screwed up on the main page for IE users. The supposed workaround didn’t work for me, and I can’t make it go away. Sorry, IE users. This is what you get for using a buggy browser. The good news is that IE 7 (coming soon…?) is supposedly going to fix this bug. (Oh yeah, the other good news is that you don’t have to use IE, people!)
- When you click on a link to new comments on an entry (under “Comments” in the right column), IE does not take you directly to where the comments start like it’s supposed to.
- When you click on a link to new comments on an entry (under “Comments” in the right column), Firefox takes you to the right place, but if you scroll up the the top of the entry, the lower horizontal menu has likely disappeared. If you change the page style to “no style” and then back to one of the four styles, it will be back. This is because the Google Ads trigger a Mozilla rendering bug. I figure it’s not really worth fixing, though, because it doesn’t happen when you go directly to an entry link, and that’s when the top menu would be more important. (I’m also hoping this bug will be fixed in a future release soon.)
- I understand older versions of Firefox may display an extra line of color under the rounded edges of the boxes in the right column. No biggie. Upgrade.
I tested this layout on IE 6.0 and Firefox 1.0.6. I am interested in hearing about any problems in Safari or Opera.
I’m also interested in hearing opinions about the new design.