New Website Theme

by Luke Muehlhauser on October 19, 2010 in News

Howdy, all. The new Theme is finally live!

Here are the things I’ll fix when I have time:

  • Live comment preview is broken
  • ‘Next post’ and ‘previous post’ text is invisible
  • Allow comment editing
  • Include site name in title bar on all pages
  • Fix comments fields autofill
  • On search results page, add white background behind “You searched for: _____”

Let me know if you catch anything else that needs work!



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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

dh October 19, 2010 at 3:55 am

Nice look. I don’t know if this is a problem per se but the pages load significantly slower, revealing from top to bottom.


EvanT October 19, 2010 at 4:02 am

It’s certainly better than the old one (and lighter too; my old 400MHz computer couldn’t handle it at all). I could live without the hut though :P

Some suggestions:
See if you can make the sidebar extend all the way down even without content. Without it, the bottom horizontal bar in conjunction with the white content area make the blog look lop-sided once you scroll to the bottom. (IMO)

You could also remove the bottom bar altogether and place the CC License and theme credit at the bottom of the sidebar. Or at least make the corners rounded. Reducing its width might be a good idea as well (right now it seems kinda empty).

Also, placing the “Newer/Older Posts” in a similar grey box placed under the content area might be nice, tucked in the gap between the bottom bar , the content area and the “tail” of the sidebar to the left might be nice. Like this (not the best representation, I know)

……..Bottom Bar……..

Hope this helps (I’m a stickler for aesthetics, in case you didn’t notice :P)


Hermes October 19, 2010 at 4:56 am

Looks good so far. No problems viewing pages. Observations;

* Loads quite a bit faster.

* The favicon is Wordpress default.

* Backgrounds differ from page to page, but some pages are just blue.


Hermes October 19, 2010 at 5:20 am

One annoyance;

* Expected: The main page title leads with the title “Common Sense Atheism …”

* Not expected: The sub-pages (such as this one) leads with the title of the page, and the site name is not mentioned.

Why this is not preferred: Most web sites include the site name somewhere in the title bar. While many sites put the site name at the end of the title bar, if it is placed first it allows the pages to be sorted by site when multiple windows are open.


ildi October 19, 2010 at 5:38 am

Purty! More more readable with the extra white space… especially with that first cup of coffee…

I like that your comments in a thread are highlighted, Luke. One always wants to know when one is being addressed by one’s fearless a-leader.


ildi October 19, 2010 at 5:40 am

PST makes me look like such a morning person!


Zeb October 19, 2010 at 6:29 am

I’m starting a Facebook group “1 Million to Bring Back the Old CSA!”


John D October 19, 2010 at 6:41 am

I like the new design. It’s pretty much as I expected. Do the backgrounds vary or are you just experimenting?

Also, thanks to linking to my site while you were making the switch.


lukeprog October 19, 2010 at 7:34 am

The background switches randomly between about 6 options.


lukeprog October 19, 2010 at 7:36 am


Yeah, I didn’t even notice that until after the switch! But I guess it could be useful.


lukeprog October 19, 2010 at 7:55 am

Some people say it loads more quickly, others say it loads more slowly. Would ya’ll mind sharing which browsers you’re using? Maybe that’s the difference.


drj October 19, 2010 at 8:04 am

I’m using Chrome, and I don’t see any noticeable difference in load time


dh October 19, 2010 at 8:08 am

re: loads more slowly. It’s just the backgrounds that are twitchy, actually. Safari. Also, I have a huge monitor and can see beyond the edge of the background images, giving the whole thing a fairly harsh black border. That’s not as visually awkward as having this main content frame extend beyond they bottom edge of a background, into the black. I can send a screen shot if you’d like.


John D October 19, 2010 at 9:27 am

I’m using safari. I think it’s definitely a bit slower. I also get the black border, which I didn’t before and I only have a 13-inch monitor.


Hendy October 19, 2010 at 10:46 am

Chromium svn build on Arch Linux… Definitely slower when switching tabs for the first time. I’ll have to pay attention on subsequent visits — the background may get cached for speedier reloads. I wonder if a simple reduction in resolution would help. Obviously not to the point of reducing quality noticeably, but I’ve often found that I use backgrounds that are far larger than they need to be for their purpose. Just a thought!


ildi October 19, 2010 at 11:32 am

Faster, especially posts w/ lots of comments – Chrome. (No black border.)


cl October 19, 2010 at 11:35 am

1) In my experience, Chrome is generally a faster browser than Firefox or Safari.

2) Blockquotes don’t indent in the preview comments, which makes it harder to parse.

3) My posting information didn’t seem to save to a cookie and I had to repeat in each time I commented.


lukeprog October 19, 2010 at 11:59 am

The previous design didn’t have a black border at the edge of each photo. This one does.


Ben October 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Meh, I liked it better the old way.

I don’t like the big black bars on the sides of my screen — that’s definitely the worst part of the new page. It makes it far less aesthetically pleasing to view the blog.


Jeff H October 19, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Meh, I don’t mind the black bars at the side. I don’t like the one background option that seems to be entirely blue. It looks too plain compared to the other ones – you need to get some clouds in there at least.

I noticed the first couple times that the site loaded more slowly (using Chrome), but I think now that the backgrounds have cached, it’s alright.

IMO there’s a bit too much whitespace in the comments, especially between the username and the actual comment. Makes for less scrolling and easier identification if they’re a little closer together. Also, the highlight behind your name, Luke, looks terrible. At the very least, it needs to be not as wide. I’d also change the colour to something that fits the colour scheme a little more, but maybe that’s just my personal preference.

On the whole, though, I like it. It’s a nice change :)


Jeff H October 19, 2010 at 1:07 pm

Oh yeah, one more thing to note: The comment fields (name, email, website) don’t autofill anymore. I kinda liked having that…


lukeprog October 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Jeff H,



Camus Dude October 19, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I like the re-design. I’d still like social media buttons to share posts and numbered comments like Ebon added at Daylight Atheism might make it easier to keep track of conversations in a comment thread. I do like that each comment now has it’s own permalink, so thanks!


Poban October 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Hi Luke, Is it possible for you tell where I can find Desirism part in your website?? I tried select catagory and search but couldnt find Desirism.


Hermes October 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Black bars – I didn’t notice them since I don’t run browsers full screen. I don’t think they are unusual as far as custom blogs go.

Jeff H: Oh yeah, one more thing to note: The comment fields (name, email, website) don’t autofill anymore. I kinda liked having that…

I noticed that too, but I figured it was an artifact of the browser being confused about the page layout. One potential work around is to flush your cache, restart, and see if autofill works again after you manually enter in a page or two.


For reference, here’s what I see;

Before: Name, Email, and Website were filled when I loaded a new page in a tab.

Now: The fields are blank, but if I type in the first letter I get a drop down list of old entries that I can quickly choose from.

Browser: Firefox v.3.6.10


Gil S. October 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm

The comments sections is definitely a lot cleaner and everything else feels that way too. Adds to the professionalism of the site.


cl October 19, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I do like that each comment now has it’s own permalink, so thanks!

I didn’t notice that. That, in my opinion, is the biggest improvement by far.


lukeprog October 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm


Search the site for desirism.


Mo October 19, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I like the old theme a little better. For some reason, it gave this effect that I came to a peaceful website.


Hermes October 19, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I’m fine with the new theme.

What thing that might take the edge off a little bit — make it more of a ‘peaceful website’ as Mo mentioned — is a color change from black to some other color or pattern in the title box and the right hand side panel.

That said, it’s hard to argue against black on white or white on black for improved contrast and readability. Choosing some other pair of colors may be about as readable, but may not improve the ‘peaceful’ tone enough to make it worth doing.


Guenther October 19, 2010 at 5:53 pm

The “Contents” tab goes to the “Top 20 Evil Bible Stories” post, and nothing else. Is this intentional? I would expect a generic title like “Contents” would link to a table of contents or something of that nature …


Keith J. October 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I’ve always liked the layout of your website, before and after. That is why I visit your site and John Loftus daily: yours for content (the like of which is unparalleled IMO) and his for laughing (because he is so cynical its fun)


lukeprog October 19, 2010 at 11:37 pm

Thanks all for your feedback.


Rick B October 20, 2010 at 1:06 pm

Hey Luke,

Looks like by the time I got around to reading this, you’ve managed to fix some bugs. Good job!

I like the new look, and I especially like how it runs screaming fast on FireFox now. The old version was terribly slow when scrolling. I haven’t noticed any major problems when loading, but I’m usually on a fairly fast connection.

I would like to see the fields for Name, Email and Website retain their values from last time I typed them in, but that’s a minor inconvenience.

Is there any way to number the posts? Not to make the blog look or feel like Pharyngula, but it is rather handy when folks post multiple times, to be able to refer to a specific post.


MichaelPJ October 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I have to say, it looks great. That’s part of the problem, though. The comments look great, but I agree that there’s too much whitespace in there; it’s much harder to read through them and to scan through a thread for a particular post, or something. That’s partly to do with the poster names being above the post rather than to the side.

Maybe try a slightly smaller font?


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