Planned Site Redesign

by Luke Muehlhauser on April 1, 2010 in News

The current site looks decent but it’s slow and buggy for some people on Internet Explorer. I want to redesign it with Thesis for WordPress but I’m not a coder. I can tweak text in CSS and that’s about it. Here is a visual mockup of what I have in mind. Please comment with suggestions for improvement.

Also, if you’re a Thesis developer and want to send me a bid for this project, please contact me: lukeprog [at] Gmail.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jason Berberich April 1, 2010 at 9:26 pm

If you haven’t actually paid for Thesis yet, I highly recommend taking a look at the Thematic Framework. It’s completely free and open source, and is comparable in features. It might require a little extra PHP coding on your part, however.

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lukeprog April 1, 2010 at 9:38 pm

Thematic does look pretty cool, though Thesis looks like it may be easier to tweak once my hired designer is done with it, and also there seem to be more developers for Thesis than for Thematic.

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Mark April 1, 2010 at 10:32 pm

The site does go quite slow for me (especially when I try to write comments), but I hope you’d keep the layout. A lot of your graphics wouldn’t look as good on a conventional blog layout.

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lukeprog April 1, 2010 at 11:57 pm

Mark,

Did you look at the screenshot I put up? What do you think of that?

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Mark April 2, 2010 at 12:36 am

I did; that’s what I was referring to by “conventional blog layout” (although maybe “conventional blog theme” would’ve been more accurate). It seems to me that the Aero theme is very well-suited to the fancy graphical content you frequently append to your posts, which wouldn’t look as natural in a standard “three-rectangle” design or whatever. It’s also clear that you’re trying hard to make your blog distinctive among atheism blogs in a bunch of ways, and I felt the unorthodox theme facilitated that by giving your site some design elements (e.g., the clouds, the rounded free-floating boxes, the color palette) that I now completely identify with Common Sense Atheism, and which cohere well with the overall tone of the blog (breezy, optimistic and intellectually curious). I’m not sure you could retain this in that boring, greyscale format you have in mind. But I’m no graphic designer, so these are just my own idiosyncratic opinions. And probably a performance upgrade is more important.

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Dan April 2, 2010 at 5:12 am

Have to share marks thoughts, although i dont see any performance issues on my mac, I do love your graphical style. particularly the pictures preceding posts and the “breezy optimistic and intellectually curious” description.

Keep up the good work. Looking forward to your new podcast re counter-apologetics.

Maybe you might consider interviewing those light hearted chaps at “Reasonable Doubts” ( or letting them interview you :) )

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piero April 2, 2010 at 5:58 am

I like your proposed design a lot: it looks cooler and simpler. My only complaint would be that the shaded bar highlighting a comment’s author, though attractive, is perhaps too large and obstrusive: it would imply more scrolling. What about a modest underline or a bullet?

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John D April 2, 2010 at 6:58 am

I must say I like the current design a lot. And it presents no problems on safari.

That said, the proposed design looks pretty good. I would like it if you could keep the rounded floating boxes. That’s an aesthetically pleasing feature of the present design.

I can’t really talk though, given the crummy design of my own blog.

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drj April 2, 2010 at 7:34 am

I’d like to see the main content column change so that it will expand and contract when you resize a browser window. The current, inflexible and narrow view in the center is extremely cumbersome and makes long discussions hard to parse.

I think that’s pretty essential, in fact.

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lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 8:02 am

One person has mentioned that they updated Java and now my site works for them. I don’t know why, since obviously my site does not use Java. But that’s an intermediate solution while ya’ll wait for the redesign.

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lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 8:03 am

Mark,

Those are valuable comments, thanks.

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lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 8:04 am

piero,

An interesting thought. The problem is that many comments here are very long and involve numerous quotes, and I think a bolder highlight like my design will be easier to follow in the comments section.

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lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 8:06 am

drj,

One problem with that is that if I allow the body column to expand, then text lines can grow from 60 characters long to 200 characters long, which is very daunting to read.

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Tshepang Lekhonkhobe April 2, 2010 at 3:36 pm

just some suggestions:

* due to the large number of comments this blog gets, maybe some threading would help, EG http://lwn.net/Articles/380073/, since I often get lost in the backs and forths
* this blog’s design ‘feels’ more fresh than the proposed design, and can you pls up the resolution of the clouds a bit because they look like they pixelate

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Tshepang Lekhonkhobe April 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm

maybe u can add a link on your blog to some good quality browser (having trouble viewing this site? try this browser)

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lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Tshepang,

I’ve tried that in the past with IntenseDebate and Disqus, but they caused some problems.

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Evolution SWAT April 2, 2010 at 7:12 pm

I also agree with Mark. Your blog has a very original feel to it. Your prototype looks fine, but less original, which I think would hurt your blog.

I do think you could improve the navigation on your website. Sometimes it is hard to find things. I will try to elaborate on this later (I’m not sure how to explain it now.)

Oh, and I would up the quality of the background picture too.

What internet explorer bugs are there? I’m using ie right now and I don’t have any problems. Also, anyone who ever comments at Pharyngula would probably not notice any performance issues here :)

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lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Evolution SWAT,

Please do try to explain what could be improved about navigation. That is huge.

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