Vote: how do you like the (newest) site redesign?

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This blog has had five different themes in the span of twelve months, so please let us know what you think about the latest site design.

It’s been largely a process of trial and error, but it was also a collaborative one with readers and I am extremely grateful for all the good feedback you gave me (especially in this post but also in this one), which was invaluable for me in implementing this design).

I ended up keeping the multiple column display, but changing it to overcome a lot of the negative user experience  issues that plagued the old design. I also kept the thumbnail-rich visually oriented display which I briefly considered removing.

Freewaregenius Theme Design May 2013

But first things first, please vote:

Update 5/30: after 10 days the voting period has expired, here are the results.

Site Design Voting Results

Total votes: 269. Love it: 102 votes. Like it: 109 votes. OK/Neutral: 33 votes. Don’t like it: 18 votes. Hate it: 7 votes.

Thanks. The results are conclusive, with 77% either loving or liking the new site design, and only 8% feeling negatively about it.

 

Here’s a summary.

(1) I kept the multiple column display rather than a single column ‘blog’ layout

  • The main reason: I wanted to have a distinctive look, different from most blogs
  • I introduced ‘uniformity’ by maintaining 3 columns max, centering them, and giving all posts a standard look.
  • Note that I flirted with the idea of going back to a simple blog style and getting rid of thumbnails altogether, but ultimately opted against.

(2) Re-introduced a slider in the main page

  • Some readers like the slider (now I understand why there are so many slider plugins out there). It is somewhat strange, however, that many tech blogs do NOT have them. (Or I should say they typically consists of sliders of multiple thumbnails side-by-side, which I may experiment with at a later stage).

(3) Made the content area (in single posts) as wide as it’s ever been

  • Which makes a lot of sense for those posts that cram a lot of information into tables, of which I have a bunch.
  • I centered the content area, and got rid of the vast empty space on the right that came with left-justifying the content area in the old design.
  • Removed the rather large gap introduced by the main ad. The text flows around it now and the page doesn’t look interrupted.

(4) Responsiveness

  • My take on responsiveness: it’s a pain in the behind and not all it’s chalked up to be. But this design is fully responsive, and looks good on a small screen.

(5) Introduced Disqus for comments

  • Disqus has been (erm) discussed ad infinitum in the last post (here). So please, refer to that one for merits and de-merits, and let’s don’t go into it further here.
  • However, you can still voice your opinion about Disqus by voting below.

Update 5/30: after 10 days the voting period has expired, here are the results.

Disqus Voting Results

Total votes: 102. Love it: 15 votes. Like it: 17 votes. OK/Neutral: 37 votes. Don’t like it: 10 votes. Hate it: 6 votes.

Thanks. The majority are neutral (43%), but it is interesting that the total sum of those who like or love Disqus (37%) is higher than those who expressed a negative attitude towards it (18%).

 

(6) Will be introducing a ‘user submitted posts’ section soon

  • I considered a forum, and in fact installed one on my dev site. However, I don’t think I have the ability to service and maintain a forum at this point in time (thanks Gregg DeSelms and opted instead for user submitted posts (coming soon).

(7) I tried to generally keep things simple

  • Or at least, tried to make it look that way.
  • Also introduced a number of minor changes (e.g. a spiffier author bio box and other tweaks here and there).

I will confess that I feel good about the current theme, and hopefully I can now focus my attention back on writing good articles. As always, your comments are welcome.