Site Redesign, Round 2

by Luke Muehlhauser on April 2, 2010 in News

Based on your feedback, I made another draft of the design. Please click here and tell me what you think.

A few notes:

  • The sky image fades to black at the edges because the background will be black outside the sky image, if your monitor is that huge. Like the current site, the background image will stay still as you scroll up and down, so in my preview image linked above the length of the page extends into nothingness, when really it will just scroll over the sky image at the top.
  • The space below the search box is for a ‘contact me’ image that I haven’t designed yet.
  • The new site will actually rotate between 8 sky images. Each time you visit, you never know which one you’re gonna get!
  • You’ll notice that rounded corners and floaty, semi-transparent sections are back. People like the fresh, inviting look of my current design.
  • You can’t see it in the preview, but there’s a gap between posts on the front page, with rounded corners, just like in the current design.

Please give your feedback! The new design will stick around for many years.

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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan April 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

maybe its just familiarity but the old backgrond of th field and blue sky feels so optimistic and calming that i guess anything else would be inferior.

I hate to be “conservative” here – but the old look was perfect. :)


Dan April 2, 2010 at 10:33 am

mind you – i like the picture of the earth in the new design. Its always good to have that pale blue dot in ones mind. But keep the fields…


RA April 2, 2010 at 10:37 am

I don’t like the single page post thing at all. I like the multiple post page since you make quite a few posts and sometimes multiple posts per day. It’s easy to scan and see what interests me without having to do any digging.

I’m sure I will not be as ready to go looking for a post and will probably not be all that interested in certain headlines which might lead to interesting content.

That’s a big disadvantage for the many of us that make a quick stop to see what you’ve got going on but might not necessarily be planning on sticking around unless we find something that catches our attention.

That might not even be an issue but it looks like it with the sample.


David April 2, 2010 at 10:40 am

I like your current sidebar font better than the new one. Sans-serif is the way to go for on screen viewing!


RA April 2, 2010 at 11:07 am

I will say that the content on the new page looks outstanding, and I hope it is a sign of things to come. I thought you made several outstanding points in that post which I did not catch previously. Sometimes I don’t know what the heck you are talking about, especially when you venture off into ethical philosophy. That was a lot more clear to me.


Sabio Lantz April 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Much nicer !
Little suggestions because you asked:

(1) I wouldn’t put stuff at the bottom of the site.
(2) I would make it so we can see at least 20 posts as we scroll down
(3) I wouldn’t put an “Archives” tab. Keep that as a simple widget on the right. Your “Contents” tab is great if you mean “Table of Contents”.
(4) In your “About Me” tab you can tell about your site and you and then make it like an index post to posts about your life, background, the site and all that stuff for those who want to explore later.
(5) You should start publishing more — so maybe a “Publications” tab – you can put what you have to date.
(6) PBD Tab (Pale Blue Dot) — an annotated index of Your interviews all with same simple format: Name, Work, Issue, or stuff like that.
(7) I like the new comment fill-in section. For comments, I like avatars — easier to remember people by their avatar than just name. Also much easier to scan. Same reason I can scan a Japanese book much more quickly than an English book.
(8) Change your handle to your proper name — it will give you wider recognition both here and on sites that you grace with your comments.

Again, very nice !


Bebok April 2, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Leave that daisy for Common Sense Hippie Movement. Your first draft is definitely better.


RA April 2, 2010 at 12:40 pm

On second look, it looks like your format will allow for multiple posts just in case that gives anyone the wrong impression. Nevermind. I almost made a useful comment but my perfect record remains.


lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm


No, the post layout will still be the same. I’m just showing what a single post will look like and what the home page will look like in the same image; I know, it’s confusing.


lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Oh yeah. Good point, David.


lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm


(2) TWENTY POSTS??? The page will take forever to load…

(5) What publications? My little ebooks?

(8) Hmmm. Good idea.


Rich Griese April 2, 2010 at 2:51 pm

BTW… if your gonna move the tabs from the header down to the content area like that, you might as well get rid of the the header, and simply add a small logo of “common sense atheism” in the sidebar. The headers is taking up a huge amount of areas, and doing nothing but taking up space.

Also by removing the header you will also raise the text of your articles and the text will grab a person immediately

BTW, I had done that on that exact style sheet AREO, and it works. If you like that idea, and have a problem making it happen, just email me, would be happy to show you how.



Anthony April 2, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Luke, I like the proposed redesign. One thing that I would like to see added is similar to what John has over at Debunking Christianity, a listing of recommended books (with links of course) in the sidebar.


Tshepang Lekhonkhobe April 2, 2010 at 3:59 pm

(I made some comments on the 1st redesign post unaware of this one)

One comment on the latest proposal – I’ll miss the presentation and positioning of the date. The proposal’s is way too conventional and boring while the old one oozes koolness.


lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 4:21 pm


I thought of that, but I figured the date is rather unimportant since I post every day, and it doesn’t need to be taking up so much screen real estate. Do you think it’s really that important?


Sabio Lantz April 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm

@ Luke
(2) TWENTY POSTS??? The page will take forever to load…
—> Do you reduce your photo sizes so as to make loading faster. My site loads lots of posts and doesn’t take too long. Maybe you have different material.

(5) What publications? My little ebooks?
Instead of putting book in the side bar which I feel looks cluttery on Loftus’ site, Why not list recommended reading lists in the Books tab. Make it annotated and put your e-books up at the top.


lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm


Oh, I see. I thought about doing an Amazon astore, but maybe I’ll do a CSA page instead. Thanks, I’ll think about it.


Jeff H April 2, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I like it! However, I’d suggest doing something sans-serif for the sidebar. The main text is okay with a serif font, because it’s large amounts of text, but when you’re doing short titles and such, sans-serif works much better on the screen IMO.

I also think you could afford to make the content a little wider. I understand that formatting can get screwed up with a variable-width design, especially if you’ve got images and such (although, to be honest, your images are almost always centered at the top of the post, so it really wouldn’t make a difference). But you’ve got the space, and then you could make the header at the top a bit wider and a little shorter so it doesn’t take up so much valuable vertical space.

Other than that, perhaps it’s just a personal bias, but I’m a fan of justified text. Especially, once again, if you’re going with a fixed-width design. It just has that newspaper feel to me.


Scott April 2, 2010 at 9:01 pm

I really like having the text boxes wider – it makes it easier to read the lines by fitting more on them. You’re also not wasting screenspace with such a narrow strip of text like now.


lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Jeff H,

Oh yeah, I’m going with justified text, I just forgot to do that in the PhotoShop.


lukeprog April 2, 2010 at 9:14 pm


Interesting. Don’t you think a wider body text area would make posts more daunting to read, because lines would contain more words?


Scott April 2, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Perhaps. A narrower body of text means more scrolling, so it looks longer. At least that’s my take. My problem with wide text is getting lost in them, sometimes jumping between lines without realizing.


John D April 3, 2010 at 3:49 am

If I could be slightly emotional for a moment:

I definitely prefer narrower body text. I hate blogs and sites that have wide text. It’s way too easy to lose your way while reading them.


piero April 3, 2010 at 3:49 am

Jeff H,Oh yeah, I’m going with justified text, I just forgot to do that in the PhotoShop.  

Oh, no! Don’t! Justified text without proper hyphenation is the work of the devil! It makes text look untidy, with too much variation in word spacing. I’d rather have a ragged right margin with even word spacing: it’s easier to read.


Deb April 3, 2010 at 4:49 am

“People like the fresh, inviting look of my current design.”

Indeed. Not sure about the single monster daisy. Perhaps a single, or even a few smaller ones. I do generally like the idea of a flower element at the bottom with the grass; it’s a nice thematic counterpoint.


Torgo April 3, 2010 at 8:06 am

Any chance you can make the comments threaded, so that it’s easier to follow who is responding to whom?


lukeprog April 3, 2010 at 8:41 am

Torgo, I’ve tried that before with IntenseDebate and Disqus. I may try it again sometime.


Sabio Lantz April 3, 2010 at 8:49 am

I vote against hierarchy of comment thread. Very hard to follow chronicity. It also is very hard to get an e-mailed comment follow-up and then return to the post and find it.


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