I’ve been playing and tweaking and refactoring and have come up with version 7 of the AgBlog design, and I’m pretty happy with it. It solves a few problems and works better on larger monitors. But now I have to code it, and that is something I’m dreading. I’m almost inclined to switch to the beautiful and clean WordPress Hemingway theme instead (with a few tweaks) and save myself all the headaches of writing good cross-platform standards-compliant XHTML, something I haven’t done in over a year. Check out the Hemingway theme and tell me what you think.

13 replies on “Tweaking”

  1. Wow, the Hemingway theme is *really* confusing.

    I like that instead of a sidebar, all of that stuff is in the footer, but I’m not sure the world is ready for a horizontally organized chronology of posts rather than a vertical one… Also, if one of the two displayed posts is significantly longer than the other, it pushes the footer down, and leaves a huge amount of blank space. A way to get around that, clearly, is to only show X characters of each post, but then you lose (obviously) the ability to read the entire post without clicking. Additionally, I also like seeing about 10-15 posts on a page – if someone hasn’t visited you in a week or two, and there’re 5 or six posts to read through, that’s even more clicking to be done. Another consideration is how to deal with remaindered links. It could look very odd to have one long post next to one link…

    Also, I just think it’s ugly, personally 😉

  2. I think hemmingway is uglier than your current theme. I don’t really see any usability improvement. I think it’s harder to read for my eyes with that color scheme as well. You should post up your mockup of version 7 so we can see that and compare.

    As of now I think hemmingway is a major downgrade.

  3. In re: upping the post count to a dozen, the problem there is that the footer is going to be below the fold. IMHO, navigation should always be immediately visible on page load.

  4. Aaron: yes, true, but the current AgBlog really doesn’t have any navigation, except the archive. It used to have more and over time it just didn’t seem important or relevent (the “about me” page, resume, portfolio, photo gallery all seemed either unimportant or better incorporated into the posting timeline).

    Paul: Yeah, okay. Here it is. I haven’t decided if I’d program for 1024-wide screens (easier) or make it expand (harder).

    *Edit*: The content is just for example, the sidebar would have more stuff in it and there would be more posts on the homepage. Also the remaindered links need some sort of comment button.

  5. Personally, I think your mockup is MUCH nicer looking than Hemingway. As, really, is your current design.

  6. “I haven’t decided if I’d program for 1024-wide screens…”

    Don’t forget about your readers who use smaller (800ish) browser windows… It’s hard to devote 1024 when you’ve only got a 15″ screen!

  7. Also, I like the v7 mockup, especially the way it’s divided by date. That being said, I understand the pain and anguish of a re-code (have you noticed that the AB.C blog has had the same design since its inception?)

  8. Personally I like the current design best. Hemingway is pretty ugly and V7 doesn’t add anything that the current design doesn’t have. In fact the current design has a whole lot that that V7 doesn’t have (better navigability with the Activity “cloud” and the multiple items of recent activity/comments as opposed to just one at the top). Perhaps just make the current design scale to different widths and fix the Search box in Camino (and copyright dates at the bottom).

  9. No, no, please no. I have a hard enough time reading greys on white.

    This is the initial reaction since it’s my first time on your site, which, I thought looked pretty clean.

    I do like having the category listings, though, which could be implemented on your current site. Trudging through date archives gets old and not very likely when in a hurry.

    The activity cloud on dates is pretty trendy and doesn’t communicate anything really. How ’bout making your categories into an activity cloud. That would be cool.

  10. I’m sure no one is going to like this, and yeah, its really dark, but I like it because its unlike anything I’ve had before. Check out revision 11.

    Incorporates the suggestions given, namely narrowing the right column, removing the comment bar at top and restoring it on the side (but a bit different), and breaking out “geeky” posts, an idea Paul had that I like and think I’ll put in the sidebar. That way I can post technical stuff without it showing up in the main stream and scaring my normal readership.

    Oh, and Nat, thanks! 😉

  11. I like the current setup best but r11 looks easy enough navigation-wise. I’ve always liked the colors on your site, though. Overall it’s a very easy to read site.

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