So, since we’re making changes, I thought I’d start with the blog theme. This new theme uses flat design, which all the kids are raving about now. It also implements responsive design, so, if you’re on a mobile device, you’ll no longer see the Apple Touch mobile theme. Now you’ll see the current blog template, which will happily reformat itself for your phone or tablet viewport.
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.
About once a year, I like to shake things up a bit, visually. The nice thing about WordPress is that such shake-ups to the template are relatively easy to do. Last year’s version began to strike me as too dark and outdated. So, I decided it was time for a change.
The theme this year is the Constitution, with the Preamble as the blog header photo. For colors, everything went completely grayscale and much lighter, except for the post titles and the drop caps, which now are a brighter blue and red, respectively. Site navigation was moved from the header to the top of the sidebar, which has not only switched sides, but has gotten a bit narrower, giving us some extra room in the content column.
Fonts are essentially the same, with Georgia as the header font and Verdana as the body font. With the wider content pane, I expanded the horizontal spacing of the body font making it a bit easier to read, without actually changing the font size. If you, as one commenter noted in a previous post, think it’s too akin to reading a children’s book, well, sorry. I think it makes the body text far more readable for a larger number of people.
If you really hate it, then just wait a while. It’ll change again.
It was time for a change, I thought. The Statue of Liberty is a bit overused, so I thought I’d give the theme a bit of a wash and brush-up, as Group Captain Mandrake would say. Switch the old columns around, change the typography a bit. You know, the whole works.
A question about typography, by the way. Is anyone working on any screen fonts other than Georgia or Verdana that look as good as far as readability at all different sizes goes? I really don’t like the new ClearType fonts–Calibri, Candara, etc.–because their readibility sucks at anything under 10 points. As does Arial or Helvetica, for that matter. They really are best suited as header fonts, not body text.
We really need to find some way of getting out font preferences over the web to the readers in some way. Right now, Verdana and Georgia really are the only two fonts that have 98%+ penetration for both PC and Mac Users, and look really good on screen for pretty much everybody. What we really need is a way to embed whatever fonts we want to use into the site in some sort of lightweight fashion that can be transmitted to the users, in much the same way that the CSS styles are, and provide nice readability.
Somebody needs to be working on this. I’d love to Book Antiqua this mother.