26 Responses to Feed Me Back

  1. dL August 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    two observations: “recent comments” hex color value of #dfdfdf for text against a background color of # f4f3f1 gives an appearance of text rendering at 10% opacity.

    (ii) the theme breaks completely on iphone(iOS) devices.

    Fix those two issues, and I would say it’s a an interesting change.

    • Brandon August 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

      The colour scheme is designed to de-emphasize anything that isn’t in focus, which means putting the mouse on anything will make it dark enough to read.

      I will take your word for the iOS issue, since I don’t own such a device.

      • dL August 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

        the problem is that mobile/touch devices do not have mouse hover events. It’s unreadable on such devices.

        Specific to iOS: The theme breaks on pinch and zoom touch gesturing.

        An easy solution is probably to implement a mobile theme switch plugin that serves up a mobile theme for touch devices 🙂

      • martin August 30, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

        The colour scheme is designed to de-emphasize anything that isn’t in focus, which means putting the mouse on anything will make it dark enough to read.

        To me it looks like my browser is not displaying the page properly. Maybe I’ll get used to it sometime…

  2. MisesMat August 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

    Eh…as a long-time fan of the site…I disapprove of the never look. In fact, I’d like the funny, Simpson’s pic back.

    • Brandon August 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

      I am not done changing things. For now, Roderick’s bio section, including the Simpsonized Roderick, is in the footer at the bottom of the front page. Nice to see someone appreciates that. It took a long time to get it right, particularly since I don’t usually work within that style. It’s essentially a cartoon caricature that can be very generic, but I kind of found the right idea by looking at the Ricky Gervais design.

  3. Anon73 August 30, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    I don’t think the hover thing is bad necessarily but the first time I loaded it I didn’t even know the recent comments were there. So some kind of visual marker might help. Also it looks wierd how ‘Austro-Athenian Empire’ gets highlighted along with the ‘Home, About, Contact, RSS’ text. I can’t think of a site that has that.

  4. Scott Lazarowitz August 30, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    I use the Suffusion theme, and have been very pleased with it.

  5. RPLong August 30, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Everything seems fine to me except the blank space on the right hand side. It makes everything else seem too scrunched-up. But maybe it’s just my laptop screen.

  6. Sergio Méndez August 30, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    I prefer the old one 🙁

    • joeftansey August 30, 2012 at 11:48 am #


  7. Andrew August 30, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    I’m new to your blog, actually discovered it concurrently with the change in appearance. The new theme is very clean, and puts the focus on the actual blog posts. Overall, I like it.

    However — and maybe I’m only imagining this — didn’t the old theme have a “most popular articles” section in the sidebar? I seem to recall seeing it, but like I said, I’m new to your blog. Even if I am imagining it, such a section would be nice. “The Essential Articles” or somesuch, for newbies such as I.

  8. colson August 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

    I like the layout and color scheme, but not necessarily the dynamic change of color hover effect between the sections. I would leave the hover effect for the menu on the left, remove the hover effect from the middle (make all links the bright blue) and bring up the visibility of the links on the right by about 25%.

  9. lisa August 31, 2012 at 1:15 am #

    I really don’t like having to hover over a block of text in order to read it. It makes for very inefficient reading and scanning is impossible.

    The overall theme though is nice.

  10. GAPlauche August 31, 2012 at 4:00 am #

    I don’t like the new theme at all. It looks broken, like it didn’t load properly. It’s left-aligned instead of centered, so there’s empty space on the right and the left looks scrunched up. The title doesn’t fit and isn’t where one expects (the header). It’s difficult to read what’s in the sidebar when it’s not highlighted by hovering over it, and having to hover over it to make it readable is very user unfriendly. The share buttons are too big (smaller horizontal buttons would be better and there’s unnecessary duplication), kind of haphazardly added, and end up aligning poorly in short posts with images. For some reason there’s an unusually short character limit in the comments name field. I’ve never experienced my full name not fitting before now. The typography is terrible: fonts are odd mismatched sizes; text is too small in some cases, too close together others, cut off in others. Some text in the main column is too small and similar in color to the background but doesn’t become highlighted upon hover, so it unreadable. Sidebar behavior is unexpected and inconsistent: the left one is fixed and the right one scrolls with the main column content. There’s no publication date and time below post titles. Sorry, but the whole thing looks like a train wreck.

    • Brandon August 31, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

      I think you’re exaggerating this quite a bit. It sounds like you want this site to look like every other site. Most of the design elements you’re talking about as being bad are in fact some of the reasons I picked this theme. The header is a vertical column on the left, and the site name is intended to display as it does. The typography is mostly based on webfonts, with a few exceptions, so I doubt it is “terrible”. Lots of left columns do not scroll with content. As for editing comments, just tell me what you’d like changed and I’ll change it. I’ve done so many times in the past.

      • Geoffrey Allan Plauché August 31, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

        No, I’m not exaggerating. I don’t mean to be rude or hurt your feelings, but this affects how Roderick is perceived on the Internet and I think the site looks terrible. Looking different from every other site is not necessarily a good thing. There are reasons why certain features are common and others are rare. Poorly designed websites drive away visitors; well-designed sites attract more visitors and keep them longer (content is also important, of course) and are emulated. You and Roderick are free to disregard my opinion, of course.

        Why are there two Twitter and two Facebook buttons? The duplication is unnecessary, especially in the case of the Twitter buttons.

        As for editing comments, the changes I wanted to make are not important enough to trouble the webmaster (you) with now, but this is an easy feature to enable in WordPress and would make the site more user-friendly for Roderick’s community.

        One of my comments must still be in moderation. I don’t see it yet. It’s the one on the website layout breaking on zoom on desktop/laptop browsers and pinch-to-zoom in mobile browsers. I think I also pointed out that the main content column is too narrow; the comment form box is wider than the column and breaks out into the right sidebar.

        • Brandon August 31, 2012 at 11:15 pm #

          I’m not an expert in FB and twitter, so I’ll take your word for it. Which buttons do you think should stay?

        • Geoffrey Allan Plauché August 31, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

          I assume you’re using the Topsy plugin for the second tweet button. I used to use it as well. Now I just use Twitter’s official tweet button code. The fewer plugins you use the better, so I’d drop the Topsy plugin and its button and keep the other one.

          The Facebook Like button is the standard nowadays and it allows people to just like a post as well as share it to their Timeline with a comment if they want to, so I’d ditch the older and more limited Facebook Share button.

          It looks like you don’t have the Facebook Like button’s Timeline posting feature enabled though; I’d get that working before ditching the Share button. Check out the posts on Prometheus-Unbound.org to see how the fully functional Like button can work. I can give you the code I use for it, although I’m using the Thesis theme, so I just place the code once in my custom-functions.php file. I’m not sure where you’d put it in this theme.

  11. GAPlauche August 31, 2012 at 4:01 am #

    Is there some way to edit published comments? This is nice functionality to have and is easy to provide in WordPress.

  12. Robert Hutchinson August 31, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    My predominant thought is that I’m looking at a website with a stylesheet that’s not rendering correctly, what with the mixture of font types and sizes. My only really strong dislike, though, is the mouseover to de-faint-ify some of the text. It does the opposite of help me focus–my brain keeps noticing that there’s some text that’s not coming through clearly.

    I do like that the structure is simplified. The previous code seemed to take forever to render.

  13. Rad Geek August 31, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    1. I think that if you want to help readers focus on the content column, that’s a noble goal, but as a couple of people have remarked, the fuzzed and greyed-out text in the far-right column actually hurts that rather than helping it. It’s actually intensely distracting, for the same reason that something moving in your peripheral vision is intensely distracting — it’s visible enough to attract attention but not visible enough to be processed and filtered out, so it keeps pulling your eyes over towards it in order to try and make out what it is. Solid black text would be far easier to visually filter.

    2. My other recommendation, if you want to emphasize center-column content, is that you just get rid of all of the social media barf at the bottom of the post. In the new theme it is much more distracting than previously, because the theme as a whole has far less color and chrome, and so the things that stand out most brightly from the mostly-monochrome background (far brighter than the article text) are the highly-colored social networking service logos. This is jarring and makes it hard to read what’s above it. The widgets are in any case meaningless for people who don’t use these services; and not necessary for people who do use them (since people who use a social networking site will typically have it open already in another tab, and can copy and paste the URL over quickly enough. Cf. also http://informationarchitects.net/blog/sweep-the-sleaze/ …)

  14. Stephan Kinsella September 1, 2012 at 6:29 am #

    Not sure if this is just bad youtube formatting or the new theme– but in this post, http://aaeblog.com/2012/08/30/trilogy/ , the youtube videos are truncated on the right.

  15. Grabrich September 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Not digging the new set-up. I have to decrease size to 75% in order to read it without the left side-bar overlapping. Note that I still have a 4: 3 screen. But this makes the print way too tiny.

    Richard G.

  16. Carl September 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

    Couldn’t care less what the site looks like, I just read the posts. Thanks Roderick and Brandon.

  17. Anton Sherwood September 5, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    I normally let my browser take up half of my big modern screen; this is plenty for most sites, but here I now have to either embiggen the window or scroll to the right, and the latter approach makes the main text collide with the sidebar. (Comments, happily, are in panes that cover the sidebar, but the main entry pane is transparent.)

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