Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rearranged (blog template changes)

We made some changes a few days ago, and now we have some more changes. This blog is a case study of what not to do when it comes to template design and redesign but that doesn't stop us from trying! The latest changes?

  1. The 10 "papyrus" font navigation buttons have moved from the top line to the left side of the blog. It's sort of like a mini-remote control :) It feels like some weight was lifted off the blog.
  2. The "papyrus" font headings for the Rumors and Latest Cameras section at the top of the main column have been replaced with uppercase text. These are standard HTML links so the color will be either the "visited link" or "unvisited link" color.
  3. The "Top Stories Now" box has moved to the middle column from the left column after the column realignment.
  4. And as a bonus, we re-arranged the columns, now the two sidebars are side-by-side, giving the main text some breathing space. It's like having two different blogs in one :)

What do you think of these set of changes? Do they make this blog easier to read or at least easier to navigate? Are they worse than what it used to be? Should we just scrap this template and start a-new? Vote in the poll below! Or let us know by email, the "Contact (Email)" button on the top left corner has the email address! And if you hate the quirky papyrus-font-buttons with a passion, let us know, so we can replace them with something more conventional :)

Template Update
After trying the main-text area on both the right-wing and the left-wing, the text looked too much in the corner of the screen, so now we are back to the "symmetrical" template as Mrs Fix It called in the comments below. The two sidebars were transposed, so the smaller one is on the left, and the longer one on the right.

Another issue that was addressed was making it easier to find posts by brand name, so we added 14 "ascii-art" links at the top of the blog that point to all the posts that focus on a particular brand (using Blogger's Labels (aka tags/categories). By focus we mean things like rumors, new camera and lens announcements, camera profiles, impact reviews, shipping news or bargain specials, or anything else that pertains to a particular brand.

New update
The big box of rumors and latest cameras at the top of the main column has changed its orientation from horizontal to vertical. Now the stories are broken down in three categories, two of which are rumors and one the latest new digital cameras of 2008. The ASCII-art patterns by the text are a bonus ;-)

Do note that at the moment the new center block renders differently under Firefox 3 and IE7. Firefox 3 shows each item in a straight line, while IE7 centers every single line item. Looks like I have to start googling HTML spec sheets :)


Amin said...

I preferred the blog posts in the middle. This way makes me crank my neck to the side to read. I also liked the Papyrus across the top. I thought the layout prior to this one was really excellent. Either way, though, I'll be reading.

mrsfixit said...

I concur with what amin says.

I like it with the blog in the middle also. It was easy to read.

I'm too anal and I like things symmetrical.... ;-)

But either way I'll be reading too. You won't get rid of me that easily... LOL ;-))))

1001 noisy cameras said...

Thanks for the valuable feedback Amin and Mrs Fix It and everyone who voted in the poll!

I was trying to "free the text" from the sidebars. The over-crowding and the headline-cloud trapped between the sidebars was confusing to new visitors. The percentage-based instead of fixed-pixel template made things worse depending on resolution (eg 1024 or bigger fonts).

I don't have chiropractor gift certificates to give away, so I will switch the main text to the left side of the screen, which is the more conventional approach :-)

If that doesn't help, then back to the previous symmetrical layout (and the drawing board) :)

Amin said...

Main text on the left is working much better for me. Not sure if I like it better than in the center or not, but it's much better than putting it on the right.

1001 noisy cameras said...

Thanks! Text is now back in the middle, with the smaller sidebar now on the left instead of the right.

Is it better with the smaller sidebar on the left or right? The goal/hope is to give the text some "breathing room".