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User feedback on the blog theme you like

Hi folks: I’ve been busy tinkering with a new WordPress blog theme to see if I want to use it for my blog. It’s called Atahualpa (weird name.. don’t ask me where they came up with it) and it’s very customizable. I was using it to help Zoom over at Knitnut.net re-design her site, and I thought I’d tinker a bit with it and see what I might come up with. Since I still had my old blog’s URL active at Gluemeat, I thought I’d do the tinkering over there, and I’ve come up with something that while it might not be the final product, it’s pretty darn close. So, I was wondering if I could get some input back from you, my loyal readers, and see what blog theme you like better: this one I’m currently using, or the experimental one.

I like the current site for its 4 columns and its look, but I like the experimental theme because it’s a little wider for the body of text to be typed in, plus the 3 columns seems to give me enough space to put logos or buttons in that I have with the current 4 column theme. I’m 50/50 on what I want to do. So, here’s your chance to vote and give me your opinions (Any constructive comments or criticism in the comments section are also welcome):

PS – Some people may not be sure about the picture of the Peace Tower (which I did have to edit by stretching in order to get it to fit). That can be removed.. I just thought I’d put it there because it was relevant to the site and it made the blog look unique amongst the other blogs out there.

[email protected]:21 am: I had one commenter say to me that the test site at Gluemeat doesnt show up well on his Blackberry. I’ve installed a plugin over there that is supposed to render blogsites better on mobiles.. so let me know (those of you with Berry’s and other PDA’s) if that plugin helps you (I’ve also installed it over here on this site). I’ve had 1 user test it out with me and she has told me it renders much better over there now. If there are other users where it still doesnt show up correctly, I can try a couple of different mobile plugins that are available.

UPDATE 2 @ 2:45 pm: I removed the image and decided to replace it with a slightly cleaner looking (I hope) image of Parliament .. since removing it seemed to make it look pretty generic. So again, let me know if that looks any better.

16 comments to User feedback on the blog theme you like

  • @Aurelia – Nothing odd at all. I’ve set the banner to randomly rotate images 🙂

  • Something odd to add here. I just clicked on your post title in bloglines and when the site came up, there was a picture of some lovely leaves and flowers behind your name. But when I clicked on the header, the picture changed to one of parliament hill.

    Now, both are nice pics, but you may want to check out why it’s happening.

  • Hmmm… They’re very close in my voting. The new theme is eye catching but just a bit busy with the 4 columns. So I’m voting for the old theme for now but would change my vote for the new one if it was converted to three columns.

    And since I have this opportunity, I thought I’d pass on the couple of small things I didn’t like about the old site.

    First, (and this is probably related to Firefox rather than your coding but just in case…) when I click a post to read it and then hit the back button to return to Progblog I am always returned to the top of the page rather than where I left off reading. I can deal with this by always opening links in a new tab, but it’s a pain. Not sure if there is anything to be done about this of perhaps you just have a good reason.

    Second, for the affiliates pages, I always thought that it would be a good idea, if I click on one of your affiliate links, to show that persons feed within your own site and theme instead of automatically exiting to their site. Yes, there needs to be a link to get to the affiliate site I agree, but I’d like first to be able to view their posts and perhaps vote on them within the Progblog theme.

    Cheers!

    So, I think I’ll vote for the old theme and add this.

  • janfromthebruce

    The new site is very busy looking but in the end you will go with what you want. I vote for the old one.

  • Niles

    Atahualpa is a person’s name. The most famous bearer was the Incan/Peruvian leader that the invading Spanish took prisoner and then calmly garotted after they’d taught him Spanish and even chess while forcing scads of gold ransom from his people. He’d worn out his use to them.

    How that reflects on software I’m not sure…

  • @Chrystal Ocean – Unfortunately, the current theme doesn’t lend itself to changing to 3 columns without a high knowledge of CSS and php know-how.. and I’m not prepared to spend the frustration figuring out how to modify it.

  • Hmm… First impression of the new site wasn’t good. It looked immediately to me like the site of a newspaper, not a blog. Don’t know why. My preference is for the current theme, though would be in favour of changing it from four to three columns.

  • I also think you should keep the current site. Although I know you must be feeling a little boxed in with the narrow column on this page; the overall layout is a lot easier on the eyes, and the tabs are more clearly labeled and located.

    I think the title of your blog on this page also functions as your personal brand/logo and that was lost on your new layout. I suppose you could just take a screen shot of it and paste it onto a new resized image of the Peace Tower…

  • Joseph

    I like the new site format you’ve come up with (the one you played around with on your old postings).

    It just looks more complete in a fashion. I don’t mind the current format, but I can’t say that I like it. It manages to seem busy yet really compressed at the same time. And the font on everything is small, like you had to scrunch it all together.

    The new format just seems to breathe a bit better on the page, and I like that the largest, most prominent column is for the posts, which are the main focus of the blog. That is true on the current format, but not as clearly.

    The one suggestion I would make if you use the new format is in the far right column, move up the “tag labels” (for lack of a better word since I’m not a blogger). The Liberal 308 and Victory Fund type tags. I would put them above the list of fellow bloggers. Not to dis any of them, but the tags are just more graphical and seem to be the things you’d most want visitors to notice and click if they ventured by. So you would want them to be a bit more prominent on the site.

    I think the fellow blogger lists would still be visible on the main page if you put them right below the prominent tags, especially if anyone is reading enough to get down to the comment sections of your posts.

    That’s my two-cents anyway.

    Good Day.

  • To be honest, I like the current one more. If the biggest issue is that you want to make the body text wider, you can probably accomplish that by simply widening the wrapper div in the current theme (i.e. have less empty space on both sides.) I do like the new one, too, I just prefer the current one. Either way, it’s the writing that matters most.

  • Originally Posted By Catelli – While this one takes a while to load, its much more BlackBerry friendly. Gluemeat loads all the text in a single column down the left hand side of my BlackBerry screen. Totally unreadable.

    Hi Catelli: I’ve changed my mind on the original reply I gave you on here. See the update in this blogpost (as well as your email) 😉 Hopefully the mobile plugin I installed corrects the problem – both over there and here. (And if it doesn’t, I’ll try a couple of different plug-ins that is supposed to make WordPress blogs more mobile-viewing friendly).

  • Every once in a while this site loads with a blank page. I get the RSS update, but when I come here, nothing loads. It happens from work and home from different computers. Not always, but enough to be annoying.

    While this one takes a while to load, its much more BlackBerry friendly. Gluemeat loads all the text in a single column down the left hand side of my BlackBerry screen. Totally unreadable.

    • Catelli: Unfortunately, I can’t particularly help whether a Blackberry works with blogsites or not 🙂

      The Gluemeat one has a fluid column – menaing it should adapt to monitor size.. not sure why it would do that to your “Berry. I can change the fluiditu so that the theme “looks” like the one here (slightly in the middle) but not sure that would really help, and it defeats the design part of the theem which gives me more room to type text in the body.

  • Big Winnie

    I chose the experimental site as the font was larger which made it easier for me to read the text (vision issues). If you could increase the font size on the current page, I would be content with the current style.

    • Winnie:

      I could mess around with the font on the current one… but I think in your browser, depending on what one you use, you’re able to zoom in or magnify text. Increasing the font size on this one decreases the amount of space I have to work with in typing stuff into the body of the blog.

  • Roll Tide

    I voted to keep the current style, I like it.
    Now you probably will want to change it.

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