Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Template

Whatever you do, don’t panic. I’m switching us over to a new template. If you don’t like it, say so in a comment. It’s not a problem to switch it back to the old.

Note: I’m still working on it (for example: I need to redo the icons and buttons on the navigation bar so they’re easier to read, and the footer, etc.). But I need to do those final touches in WikiFray. Shouldn’t take, at most, more than a week.

Other stuff, but the long and short of it is if you have a preference or a suggestion, now is the time to speak up.

37 comments:

Dawn Coyote said...

Of the names in the title bar, Lenten Stuffe/Zeus Boy, Fritz Gerlich, bacon, and Montfort are not actual blog contributors, but because I put those tags on the posts I reposted, they're showing up there. Anything I should change about that? ie. take the tags off?

symbnt said...

Dawn: My preference would be that only contributors and series such as dear rudence appear in the tag cloud. But that’s just me.

symbnt said...

Notes on the new template:

a) I removed the one-click comment email notification. I suspect no one was using it, thus, it was clutter.

b) Header Buttons (Home, Contribute, Profiles, …): As I said, I need to redo these, but also there’s room for more. I’ll add Best of the Fray. Any other suggestions for frequently used links? Slate? Fraywatch? Dear Prudence?

c) Added Breadcrumbs. These work better when your posts have a title.

d) Header Image: I created it using adobe photoshop. I like it, but I can do better and so can you? So feel free to give it a shot. Dimensions should be 700 px wide, and under 200 px high. Email symbnt@gmail.com, I’ll put it up and we’ll make it a competition…

e) Label Cloud: Right now it’s listing by frequency. That means the person with the most posts if first and largest and least posts is last and smallest. It can also list alphabetically. I like both. Anyone have an opinion? Beyond that, I can adjust the ranges (max and min sizes and color variant [see]). Current settings:

var maxFontSize = 18;
var maxColor = [255,255,0];
var minFontSize = 9;
var minColor = [255,255,255];

Given I can change those and the background color, I’m open to experimentation. I like this look. It’s useful information, different in that it’s a novel use for labels, and will only look better as the number of contributors increases. That said, if you’re finding it an eyesore, we can go back to the multi-style label widget.

f) Color: I searched high and low for a color theme other than shades of gray. Obviously I fell well short. However, there is some DarkCyan in the header and elsewhere. Nevertheless, I’m putting it on the table. If you’re color coordinated, go here and give me 3 background colors for the Header, Right Sidebar and Left Sidebar. I’ll plug them into symbnt and we’ll see how we like them. Keep in mind the sidebar colors should be light enough for black text to be easily legible.

If you’re ambitious, there’s also: background color for block quotes, boarder color(s), post title color, sidebar title color, link color(s), visited link color(s), icon color(s), background/icon/hover link colors, etc…

g) The narrower look: This is my personal preference. I don’t surf the internet using the full screen (especially not at work), so the overall width is narrower both because that fits in my window better and because the wider template did funny things to the blogger navigation bar which bugged me. Nevertheless, if y’all want the wider look back, I can widen this template.

august said...

I'd prefer it if the names/features were a list rather than a cloud (meaning -- everybody the same size). Mainly just because I find the different sizes kind of ugly. I like the header a lot, and the new logo. Thanks!

twiffer said...

i hate teal.

symbnt said...

Favorites: [+/-] MBTUs?

Yours? Your favorites?

Collect them, making sure they’re anchored by a post that’s preserved (star or check), and repost the urls here w/nom de plumes and I’ll put it together.

symbnt said...

I notice I'm unable to make a blog post as symbnt even though I'm registered. WikiFray still works. Anyone else having trouble posting?

Dawn Coyote said...

I just tried a test post and got the "unable to complete your request" message. So, yeah - no.

TenaciousK said...

Nope - no can post. I see also there's 3 drafts in the queue - indication of problems?

TenaciousK said...

Follow-up: I can't delete the "test post" I saved as a draft either.

Maybe Blogger is having indigestion.

Dawn Coyote said...

also: The new template's nice. Cleaner and more readable. I've played around with most of the hacks you listed, but was unable to combine a header graphic with the blog name. Does photoshop allow you to keep the blog name in a font that blogger recognizes?

Dawn Coyote said...

I added wikifray as a contributor on my draft blog, and my test post with that profile worked, so it's not a admin/contributor issue.

symbnt said...

Okay. I have a guess as to what the problem is, but the fix is going to have to wait until the morning. Thanks. And Dawn, I'll see to your question then as well.

symbnt said...

You should be able to post now. I had to make everyone an Admin, so be good.

JohnMcG said...

I'm panicking!

Thanks for putting this together.

Looks good -- I'm glad the names are all the same size -- who posts the most probably isn't that useful a piece of information.

It looks like we've got some dead space over on the left margin. Does the template allow us to tighten that up? I'm thinking of you reading it in your little window. Or were you planning on putting something else over there?

Also, I think it would look better to put the comment count after all of the buttons so we don't go back and forth between buttons and text.

august said...

Ender -- the links aren't showing up for posts that span (see your post, my new toppost). You can click, but if a person doesn't already know it's there, there's nothing really to indicate "continued"

august said...

oops, there they are. ignore my previous comment.

Keifus said...

Hi Ender, on the whole it looks nicer. Wrt colors, a color wheel is actually pretty handy for designing something like this. (No, I'm not volunteering anything.)

Curious how Dawn's problem is solved too. I didn't figure that one out either (although I certainly didn't try very hard).

K

symbnt said...

Dawn: Not sure what you’re asking re: header/image…

WikiFray’s is an HTML/JavaScript element and looks like this:

<a href="http://wikifray.blogspot.com/index.html"><img alt="WikiFray" src="http://i144.photobucket.com/albums/r178/symbnt/wikifrayhead.gif"/></a>

I went here: http://testing-blogger-beta.blogspot.com/2006/09/adding-graphic-to-your-blog-header.html

Did the "Add a Page Element" part, and then further down I followed the "Adding a clickable graphic to the Blogger Beta blog Header" instructions.

Everyone: I tried a few things to correct the posting issue. No luck. You’re all going to have to remain Admins for now.

Thy Goddess said...

Problem:

The comments are not displayed under the archieved posts.

Example: I clicked on "dawncoyote" under the blog title (astronomically nice!), got a list of her posts, clicked on and expanded one (and then all)...

Etc.

symbnt said...

TG: Well, that’s just the way it works. If you click on the [+/-], it gives you a peek, if you click on the title, it opens the post (and comments).

JohnMcG said...

That was the case under the old template as well --- the comments don't show up under the tag search.

Thy Goddess said...

Umm...in that case:

DC, you really need a title for your Friday, December 29, 2006 post.

Schadenfreude said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
symbnt said...

I was able to post as a “Guest”. It seems the switchover and the issue weren’t related since I didn’t do anything to fix it. I’ve switched everyone back to “Guest” status. However, those of you with the keys shouldn’t hesitate to make everyone an Admin again if the issue recurs.

symbnt said...

Curious. Maybe I'm a little slow in noticing this, but I don’t have to deal with word verification for comments when I’m logged in as a team member. Is this new, or is this the way it’s always been? Shad, I know you don’t like word verification. Perhaps becoming a contributor (if not actually contributing) is a workable compromise.

switters said...

Hey y'all.

Yeah, I really like the new look.

Yes, Ender, I believe once you're logged on (as a member?) you don't have to go through the word verification, which, really, wasn't that big of a deal. Schad was just being, well, Schad.

I like Dawn's idea of a group book review, but I can't read, so, you know, hmm…

As far as any new looks go, depending on just how much time the "host" is willing to spend on this thing, I'd love to see this look more and more like an online magazine and less like a blog. But again, that's probably a huge time investment, and I may be the only one who wants it to move in that direction.

All I'm looking for is more exposure. Whatever we can do to accomplish that suits me just fine.

Good job.

(Thank god the holidays are finally over. Good to see you all.)

twiffer said...

don't like the new font either.

don't pay much attention to the bells & whistles, but aesthetically, i think the prior template was better.

but, taste is a matter of taste. and besides, i just visit.

symbnt said...

swit (and y’all):

Thanks for the confirmation. I’d like to sell twiffer and any other regular commenters (or neighbors) on the idea of joining for the sake of avoiding word verification as well.

Regarding the look, I’ve been in the mood of late and still have some fine tuning to do. If you have a particular online publication in mind, or examples of “looks” you like, by all means link to them so I can get a visual. I’m feeling rather capable at the moment.

Lastly, regarding exposure, I’ve taken zero advantage of the multitude of tools and services available to bloggers. Perhaps we could all do a little community service from time to time?

twiffer: You raise an issue that I struggle with (re: font). The actual font is the same (Veranda), and my tastes tend toward smaller, tighter text. To be honest, I’ve pushed it as small and tight as I think I can get away with. But I’d be interested to hear from others if I’ve gone too far. There are three variables: Font, Font Size and Line Height. I can change and up them no problem. So, anyone else with twiffer on this?

TenaciousK said...

The top navigation bar [home, contribute, profiles, rss/atom etc] appears cut-off on my screen - like the fonts too big, or the space too small to accomodate it.

Dunno if this is a universal problem, or if my computers having a display glitch or something, but I thought I'd mention it.

symbnt said...

TenaciousK: I get that too when I’ve logged in as wikifray and those irritating little edit-element icons appear on the blog. They go away when I dump my cookies. It has to do with the buttons taking up all the available space in the navigation header, and then when the edit-element icon is thrown in there, there’s not enough room. I’ll remove the filler image, which should fix the problem for now. I’m still not happy with the buttons either, so when I redo them I’ll design them to mesh with a background color, thus eliminating the need for a filler image.

TenaciousK said...

Thanks - nice to know it's not just me.

Oh, and by the way (cursing myself for being unconscionably rude) - it's lovely, really. And I like teal. I appreciate the substantial effort you've put into the administration and design- it's innovative, just flashy enough, and unusually sophisticated.

You ever going slow down enough to start making non-administrative posts again?

symbnt said...

Well, I’m getting near happy with WikiFray (in the way that I was with Wag). Once I can look at it without being distracted by a bunch of stuff that needs fixing or that bugs, I suspect I’ll get back to actually contributing.

Dawn Coyote said...

Ender: I’d tried using Cool Text to make a graphic title, added it as a picture, and then couldn’t delete the title from the other header element. I’ll play with “add clickable graphic” next time and see if that works. Thanks for the tech support and the refinements.

TG: Title for Dec. 29 post – done

symbnt said...

Dawn: Not sure if you tried, but try going to "Edit" the old header element and then click on "REMOVE PAGE ELEMENT".

Dawn Coyote said...

Ender: perhaps it's the template I'm using, but I can't remove that element, because the blog title is integral (I can't change it without changing the title of the blog). From what I've read in the link you provided, I need to go in and find a way to hide the element ("h1 display:none", or something like that). It's entirely possible that I'm just being dense (and I'll have lots more of that going on shortly, as I attempt to put a website together).

Dawn Coyote said...

P.S. on the new design: you've got it looking really clean, which is a feat, considering. The addition of a table of contents page might help the new or occasional visitor to get oriented. I've always liked this design.