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What do you think of my new blog theme?

I got a complaint earlier today about my new blog theme, so I thought I’d open  post and ask for feedback. Wht do you think?

If it’s been a while since you visited, here are the changes I made.

My blog theme is based on Cutline, and I’ve been using it for over  year now. It’s a simple, clean WordPress theme, but it’s never looked quite the way I wanted it to. So this past Friday I took the basic design and made a number of changes. The layout is now wider than before (1000px vs 770px), and I also made some subtle changes to the menu bar across the top of the page as well as tweaks to how the widget titles and menu items are displayed.

I also made my own banners, hand coded a couple widgets in the sidebar, and added several new custom pages. All in all, I like the design (mostly).

Here’s the complaint I got this morning:

Your new site design is painful, talk about awful contrast, color palette and the lack of margins.

I’ve already removed the accent color; it was a little too strong for me. But I do not understand the complaint about the contrast; can someone explain?

And as for the width, well, lots of blogs are about as wide as this one. I checked before I chose this width.

The thing is, I wanted a wider column for the posts as well as a wider column for the sidebar. You don’t have to scroll as far to read a post now, and I like that. And I’ll be honest with you; I wanted the wider sidebar so I could use wider ads. I wanted to get rid of those god-awful skyscraper ads. They were the only ones that fit before (of the recommended sizes). I hated how they looked.

So what do you think of the new theme? I’m open to suggestions.

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DgP January 25, 2012 um 12:30 pm

"Tip and Tricks"
"Ces 2012"

All "Antiquated"

Thank you

Richard Adin January 25, 2012 um 12:54 pm

I wondered why the blog was suddenly so flush to the left margin that it is difficult to read. Now I know. I, too, dislike this lack of margin. Just because you can do it — and others do it — doesn’t make it good or right (didn’t your parents ever ask you: Would you jump off the bridge just becuase your friends did?). What are you gaining by having no margins? This isn’t like a paper book where widening the margins is sometimes necessary to save money. I, too, would appreciate your putting the margins back.

Nate the Great January 25, 2012 um 1:01 pm

What are you browsing from, and what browser? On my laptop there is plenty of margin on the left.

Richard Adin January 25, 2012 um 3:19 pm

I’m browsing on a desktop computer with three 24-inch Samsung monitors using IE9 — and no, I’m not changing browsers 🙂

michael mckee January 25, 2012 um 1:19 pm

The site looks nice. I have no problem with the color scheme. The main column is just a bit wide for optimum reading. That’s not just my opinion but research based. As to the left margin, on smaller resolution screens, like those on a netbook, older laptop, or some tablets, the margins would disappear.

I would suggest a maximum width of 960 pixels for an theme and a column width that brings the words per line closer to 12. Sorry about the specifics, I was a website usability consultant for too many years.

Nate the Great January 25, 2012 um 1:23 pm

That’s okay.

Kate January 25, 2012 um 1:31 pm

Overall, I like the new look. I agree with michael above, the main column seems a tad wide. Maybe trim it a bit and allow a small margin between the two columns? I think the contrast issue maybe the wide column/smaller text giving a feeling of too much white space.

Good blog in any case.

P A Wilson January 25, 2012 um 1:41 pm

I’m giving myself a couple of months to noodle on a change to my site – it’s the WordPress 2010 default. On Firefox I have margins on your blog, so I think it’s a resolution/browser issue.

I like the focus on your blog and the banner is nice and shallow. I like a banner it’s like having a ceiling on the page, giving a little boundary and individualism.

One thing I’ll say is everything seems to float unconnected on the page which to me makes it seem unfinished. I like simple and spare, but this is a bit too spare for my taste.

I wouldn’t worry about criticism of your page because someone will always find fault.

Nate the Great January 25, 2012 um 2:01 pm

That unconnected floating is a problem, yes. I’m planning to add an accent color to the post titles, but it’s not clear where that would go in the CSS file.

In the mean time I added a couple minor tweaks which I hope will reduce the floating.

CodeWriter January 25, 2012 um 3:38 pm

Nate, have you ever thought about dropping "Nate the Great"?

For me, its a bit "over the top"…

Nate the Great January 25, 2012 um 3:45 pm

I did drop it early in 2011; using my last name seemed more professional. But several people remarked that they thought the alliteration was catchy. Since that meant there was value as a branding issue, a few weeks ago I brought it back.

It’s reference to the children’s book character. Note that he is an investigator:

CodeWriter January 25, 2012 um 6:23 pm

Ok. I am aware of "dropping" and "bringing back"

What percentage of your readers are aware of the children’s book character
and what percentage are not?

Honestly, I didn’t make the connection, but now that you mention it, I do.

I am reminded of, "perception is reality"

Where you fit in all this, I don’t know…

Anyway, I do follow your blog, and sometimes I am on track and sometimes you leave
me in the dust…

Keep it up! I’m still reading your stuff!

Robert January 25, 2012 um 5:10 pm

Well, since you asked. I find the yellow bars extremely distracting…extremely. They draw my focus away from the important content, the posts.

LCNR January 25, 2012 um 6:06 pm


What _I_’ve noticed is that you seem to have an issue with the word " ". (I was wondering when to bring that up, and then the next post to come up was this one.) I realised few days ago that it is lacking in most instances: there’s just double space (the beginning of this post is case in point).

So I’m wondering: old keyboard? wager with friends? twisted bit of code? hacker with funny sense of humour? Please tell, because since I noticed it it keeps jumping out at me.

Other than that, to be honest, I hadn’t noticed the changes yet. I usually click on an RSS feed link so I get to concentrate on the post’s contents straight away, no scrolling around, and more often than not it’s via Pulse on the Transformer and they offer their own formatting.

Talking about Pulse, thanks to previous comment, now I understand why some time back the text suddenly jumped to the left margin when viewing your posts as web page in Pulse. It’s still readable, but it’s not very pleasant, and above all it feels wrong. (Paradoxically, on the laptop with 15.4" screen, the margins left and right are really big — although, again, that doesn’t stop me from reading at all, and I come here for the news after all. And the sense of belonging).

In any case, whatever format you finally settle on, thanks for keeping us posted.


P.S.: I liked the dog. Plus the scene gave bit of depth to the web page and it was nice contrast after reading the 2D-text. — Anyway, I’m going to miss him (or her).

Nate the Great January 25, 2012 um 6:14 pm

My KB recently broke. The "a" requires pounding before it works.

And clearly I need to proofread better.

Nate the Great January 25, 2012 um 8:15 pm

"I understand why some time back the text suddenly jumped to the left margin when viewing your posts as web page in Pulse."

I have a plan to fix this, but as a temporary measure I added a small margin on the left. It’s a little better.

LCNR January 26, 2012 um 4:08 am

Yes, it is, thanks.

I guess if I really want a comfortable margin I can always switch to the browser instead of Pulse, but it kinds of defeat the point of the aggregator IMO. The only reason I have to switch to web page view is because Pulse’s own format doesn’t display the comments, which is pretty annoying. (If you can recommand an android app that displays both the post’s contents and the comments, please let me know.)


Nate Hoffelder February 9, 2012 um 11:58 pm

The official wordpress app shows both, but not at the same time (it’s screwy, yes).

Rose in Arizona January 26, 2012 um 8:45 am

Your website looks good on my Kindle Keyboard. I miss the outdoor scene. I think having an array of ereaders and tablets with various books on the screens would be a nice banner. On my computer the white is pretty overpowering. Thanks for adding a left hand space too.

MizzBee July 7, 2014 um 4:23 pm

Good afternoon, Mr. Nate. I was one of the many who tried to read you the last few days. I missed you and the withdrawals were giving me fits, especially as I kept checking during the day. As to the layout and so forth, the font at 100 pts on Chrome is good, but it is lighter than your last layout. I have to adjust to the lighter print. I looked for a way to darken the print, but I did not see how in Chrome. Anyway, I am glad that you are back and now I can stop the jitters. Have a good week.

Nate Hoffelder July 7, 2014 um 4:29 pm

I thought I had already adjusted the font. I like it a full black as well. let me go try it again.

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