Discourse.net Redesign

As you can see (if you are not reading this via the RSS feed), things have changed around here. I’m now on WordPress, and the blog has a totally different and I think much better more modern look. The old template was more or less hand-coded by yours truly back in the day when just having a unique template was an achievement.  If all goes according to plan, not that it ever does, there will be more changes over the next week or two as I work out any bugs, and then, once the dust settles, maybe play around a bit.

Please be patient with me if things go funny from time to time. The new system is much more complex and (I hope) flexible than the old.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Incidentally, I should mention that right now the comments are set very restrictively, and just as a temporary measure I have to approve the first comment by every poster before it goes online; once you have had the first one approved subsequent comments should appear automatically. As soon as things are a bit more organized, I’ll change that, probably to a system that lets logged in users post more freely than drive-by commentators. (Currently the option to become a logged-in user is disabled. One thing at a time.)

One major difference between WordPress and Movable Type is that WP wants to build a page for every visitor, while MT builds a static page whenever new content is created, then serves that page up to visitors. Obviously, static pages are much faster. So WP users throw in a cache, which speeds up pages. I’ve got one, but it remains to be seen how well it performs and whether this cheapo shared server is up to the job. 

So here too, please be patient while things get sorted out.

UPDATE (12/8/2010): I’ve switched to a much simpler theme.   Perhaps not as elegant, but so far easier to live with.

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5 Responses to Discourse.net Redesign

  1. whizzer_white says:

    I like the look. My suggestion would be that the text is a little too narrow (I think that the columned banners on the right make it too wide) – and thus requires more scrolling. Perhaps it’s possible to put some of the columned links on the left hand side (On a regular screen running Firefox, it seems that there is room)…Otherwise, looks streamlined and updated — where’s the picture from? I’d love to have a library like that one!

  2. Gus Moore says:

    The new style looks great. I like how you display the post catergory in the breadcrumb trail, that’s the first time I’ve seen blog categories dispalyed like that.

    My only suggestion is to make the search box at the top of the page more prominent, by changing the background color of the box and adding a “Search” button.

  3. Michael Calderin says:

    There are always tweaks that can be made to any design, so don’t get too caught up with the little things.

    Overall, it’s a great template: easy to read and well-organized.

    My only suggestion is shrinking the length of the columns on the right. Most posts aren’t long enough to justify the 4000+ pixel length.

    If it were my site, I’d probably remove the Top Referrers, RSS data (don’t think either category is really must-know info for readers), and Iraq Casualty Count (how important can it be if you have to scroll down twice before you see it). I’d also move the Mobile Version link to the very top, perhaps justified left in the search bar. I’d also move dynamic blog blocks up while moving static or unrelated blocks down, like raising the importance of popular searches and the Twitter feed, while removing or lowering the Weather or Light Reading sections.

  4. alec says:

    Hi Michael Calderin,

    Those are great suggestions. We made them to Michael several times during the redesign process.

    In other words, as the designer, I totally agree. I’d pull even more of the less important info off. We suggested that Michael create a newsreader type page for himself with this info but he insisted on keeping almost everything on the home page.

    Making the web work for you, Alec Kinnear

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