Free Markets, Free People

Style Evolves

Once again, it’s time for a change. This time, I’m rigidly going after a reading-centric style. No graphics. No bells and whistles. Just large, readable text. The body text is done in a Google font called "Vollkorn" that I really like.  Even some of you…ahem…more mature folks should find it much more readable.

Everything about the new template is focused on reading the blog. The sidebar has been moved over to the left. The ad banners have been moved so that there is only one in the text area, while the third has been moved to the sidebar. All the sidebar text is much lighter, so that it fades into the background of the blog post text.

Still, I’m not sure I like it. In successive iterations, I’ve gone for a simpler and simpler look.  I may have gone too far with this one. This isn’t much different than a web site from 1996. It doesn’t look like progress, with flashy graphics and image sliders and what-not. It’s just…text.

Ah, well, I can always switch back to the previous one. Or the one before that.

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12 Responses to Style Evolves

  • Heh  tired of the magnifiers eh?
     
    I think you hit the mark man.   Even though I liked the old format.

  • Oh and just another note. If it’s about the content of the post not the flash bang zip of the sidebars which reason did you want people to come for?
     
    It’s for the flash write a FPS for Stalingrad.  Add some tanks for coolness.
     
     
     
     
     
    )
     

    • I notice on your posts there are typically several mystery characters, one on each line.  For example, there are five of them between the word “coolness” and the close parenthesis.  What do you see in your browser?

  • Simplicity and readability are good things to focus on.  On a site that updates only a few times a day, I hate having a lot of extra buttons and graphics and sidebar items that I’m unlikely to click on and that don’t help me quickly find what I’m interested in.  I also long ago grew weary of blogrolls that became static and filled with dead links from lack of attention.  So this redesign has done several good things.

    That said, it’s true that there’s very little that makes this QandO distinct.  For a contrasting example you’re familiar with, even though Medium is uncluttered, you know when you’re on Medium.  It’s little touches like the profile photo in a circle, the big header images, and the little M logo that follows you down the page, that make it feel post-1996 without feeling heavy.  The front page has for each item a short summary, category, and approximate reading time to help the reader quickly sort through long text-heavy items.

    Something that detracts from ease of scanning QandO: scrolling down the page, nothing really grabs the eye: no photos or other images indicating subject matter, aside from podcasts which are now very easy to find.  With this level of greyscale simplicity, something as simple as color-coding based on topic could be used to great effect.

    Also, one thing that detracts from readability: the color of in-text links is greyscale and very close to the text color of quotes, which when combined with the lack of any kind of underlining means links will sneak up on you instead of being easy to scan for.  Being able to immediately see links tells me a few things very quickly about a post, like whether the whole post is commentary on one link, or loaded with links to evidence or other interesting things I can follow up on.

  • I agree with everything Bryan Pick noted, and I hope the Q&O design will be revised to incorporate his ideas. Visual cues are not just pretty details — they can improve reading comprehension and allow faster scanning for material of personal interest. Bryan’s point about the color of the links is particularly important. I dislike cluttered sites, so I am not advocating anything big and splashy. Austerity for economic policy, but not for page design!

  • I like it.  It seems to me to address a number of issues that I had with the original BitsBlog template of several years ago.  Good job, Dale.

  • Anything that doesn’t hurt my poor eyes is good in my book!

  • Two thumbs up!  MUCH easier to read and visually navigate.
     
    Aside from adding several animated giffs I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • I like it (especially after trying to navigate rp boards skinned by teeners in 6pt charcoal-on-black text).  The only change I would suggest is widening the left margin a little.  It feels kinda like the text is crammed up against the side of the page to me.