Friday, January 9, 2009

I Need Some Design Help Please

UPDATE: I've received so much great feedback that I took the plunge, removed the poll and went ahead with some changes.  Thanks!

Usually I don't have these sorts of issues what with a degree in art, but ever since I removed my Christmas template and reverted back to the standard Destination: Austin Family template, I've been vexed.

The Christmas template was a nice 3-column layout with the main column on the left and plenty of white space.  The font was not too large (because I had no easy way to change it) and it seemed uncluttered.

Now after switching to my standard template I am seeing things I've never seen before.  But what I prefer is not always as important as what makes my blog easier for users to read and navigate.  I've used large type since the majority of readers are like me and find it easier with a large font.

So I'd like you to use the poll in the sidebar at the upper left and vote your preferences.  I guess I could take my Christmas template and just remove the holiday graphic which might be the eventual solution.  

And, if you can, please let me know if you have the same concerns or issues with your own blog template.


FamilyTwigs (Sheri Bush) said...

I like your blog the way it is, Thomas. But I have been wondering about my own as well. There is such a narrow center/main area that I think mine is cluttered. I have been thinking of looking for another template that is either wider or is like your holiday blog, the 2 smaller columns together.
I come to your blog a lot and always look to see what's new in the sidebars, so I wouldn't want to see them go!

Colleen said...

Thomas ... First, I'm baffled as to why the "Links to this Post" is vertical. Is that intentional? Very interesting! It does, though, break up the text a bit and makes it look less cluttered. I don't think it looks too cluttered, but I would suggest being cautious about more stuff, as it probably would be. My only critique wasn't on the poll: I'd use a pale background color. I'm probably in the minority, so don't mind me, but a totally white screen bothers my eyes if I look too long. I know many others have it easier with the white screen so I guess you can't win! It looks great.

T.K. said...

Thomas, I opened Destination and Thomas 2.0 in tabs side by side and switched back and forth. The main idea, three columns with the main column in the middle, is the same, but 2.0 does look neater and less crowded than Destination, and the first thing that comes to my mind is that the print is smaller and also that there's less color pulling at my eyes from the sidebars. I think you could keep Destination's sidebar stuff if it was a little more recessive, not competing with the main content for attention. The lighter neutral color in 2.0 lets the body of text in the middle be the eyecatcher (except for your Twitter widget, which I would move to the bottom of that column if I kept it at all, so it doesn't pull at the reader's eye when they're trying to read the blog content). If you really want to keep the larger print for Destination's content, is there a way you could use smaller print just for the sidebars?

Love your photo-strip banner, by the way. Don't remember if I already told you that. It's a really nice visual cue about the blog's content.

Amy Coffin said...

I don't mind your blog the way it is. The 3 column layout is fine with me. However, a little space between the columns might highlight the middle column articles better. It's not enough of an issue to bother me, just a suggestion.

Elizabeth said...

I agree with Amy. 3 columns are fine. But perhaps a larger center "main" column, and reduce the size of the 2 outer columns, with a bit more whitespace in between.

I'm not seeing the Links in vertical, like Colleen. Wonder what browser she's using??


Anonymous said...


The large font is cool, and I don't think you have too many gadgets, but I think it would look cleaner with 2 columns instead of 3. That's just my opinion. It's the personality that counts, not looks, and you win with content.