You may have noticed some changes around here. I’ve upgraded to the next level of web design tools, which are still in beta, mostly because I had to. The standard Weebly tools that I had been using no longer work right, and Weebly told me that to keep control over design elements like color schemes I have to use beta tools. So, as a result, I have many more tools now. Here are a few of the key changes:
You’ll now find a new tab called Forum. The Forum contains traditional asynchronous discussion-board style threads where you can post on topics unrelated to my blog or carry on conversations by topic and theme rather than as comments on old blog posts. Blog comments will remain open and are not changing. The Forum is in beta and is experimental, and I’m not sure whether there will be enough interest to make it worthwhile. The Forum is currently in free trial mode, which limits the number of forums, active threads, and displayed responses. If the Forum proves popular enough, I might spring for the $40 annual fee for unlimited discussion. If that’s something you think would be valuable, you can contribute to the Forum fund using the donate button on the right of the screen.
One of the most frequent complaints I’ve received is about the shade of green I use. A lot of people really hate it, and many tell me that it’s hard to read. I like it and think it has an appropriately eerie sci-fi look to it. However, while it looks good on my screen, apparently it doesn’t display as well on other devices. I think I’ve found an appropriate compromise. The headlines will stay the original green, but I have made links and block text 50% darker while staying in the same color family so it will still harmonize. When you hover over a title or a link, it will become another 50% darker. I hope this will make it easier to read blog posts.
I’m not entirely certain about the changes to the fonts. Early reaction is split, with about half of the people I’ve heard from telling me they like the new font and half saying it’s harder to read. I will definitely keep it for the navigation tabs and the blog headlines, but I’m not sure how I feel about the body text. I can’t find a single typeface that displays well on both computer screens and mobile devices. If you like or hate the font, let me know.
If you like the changes or hate them, let me know. I’m not married to any of them and will continue to tweak the design as needed.
9/24/2013 05:47:25 am
Fonts look fine on my tablet, did not even notice them change. I look forward to trying the forum out.
9/24/2013 06:20:28 am
I think the new fonts are easier to read, for me at least. I like the forum idea; that should keep future conversations from getting outlandish on any given topic. Will you be monitoring the forum as you do for the comments?
9/24/2013 06:47:50 am
Great question. I'm going to see how it goes for a couple of weeks. I may ask a couple of regulars if they want to have moderator privileges.
9/24/2013 04:13:38 pm
I've run forums before and I strongly recommend posting rules/guidelines. Even if the rules is simply, "If I don't like it, it will be deleted." Extreme, I know...but posted rules and guidelines prevent the whining to you when a moderator deletes or closes a discussion,. It won't eliminate the whining and the sometimes downright rude and nasty emails etc...but it helps.
9/24/2013 06:28:03 am
I'll admit, I didn't even notice the green tint change, though I spotted the font right away. All looks good to me, though I never had a problem with these elements to begin with.
9/24/2013 06:49:47 am
The standard tools work for most things, but the switchover to the new tools means that some specific elements now only work with the new tools for weird technical reasons they explained to me but I didn't really follow. For whatever reason, the design for blog titles is now separate from other links (they weren't before) and can only have the colors changed via the new tools.
9/24/2013 09:15:13 am
The web site works OK for me with the new changes. I'll vote to keep it as is, but will go with a majority if it is different. As long as the changes are not too "odd" any way.
9/24/2013 09:37:25 am
I registered for your forum.
9/24/2013 11:10:43 am
To be honest, until you pointed it out, I didn't notice anything different, except that the links were back to being green. Looking at the contrast, I think the brighter green looked a little better, but the new way doesn't really bother me, especially if other people find it easier to read.
9/24/2013 07:19:52 pm
The new font is crisper, but somewhat smaller than the old, which makes it a little more difficult for me with my terrible eyesight to read. Maybe bump it up a couple of points? That wouldn't put it too big to read, but it would make it just enough bigger to make it easier on the eyes.
9/25/2013 08:11:37 am
I agree Varika. It is a bit too small for me.
9/25/2013 09:40:49 am
I bumped the font up a point. It should be more readable now. Apparently the same point size in this font (size 13) displays slightly smaller than the other one. Let me know if you can read it more easily at size 14.
9/25/2013 10:12:08 am
Jason- This size is perfect! Thanks much!
9/25/2013 02:48:21 pm
Oh, yes! Thank you, Jason, this is MUCH MUCH better! It's amazing how much difference one tiny point size can make.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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