Monday, January 02, 2006

A new year, a new template

It's finally here.

I've finally gotten up the guts to roll out the new template that I had hoped to roll out back around my first blogiversary. I'm only about three weeks late, but, thanks to Kev and Ali (and spending most of New Years Day fiddling with the template), I managed to get a working version together. I'm still not entirely satisfied with it, but I figured it's time to stop farting around and just apply the damned thing and see what people think. I fully plan on tweaking it to try to improve it. I fully expect that parts of it may not work properly or may not show up optimally on various browsers. I've tested it on Safari, as well as the Mac versions of Firefox and Mozilla, but not on IE. (I'm pretty much Mac only and don't have access to Windows machines at home.) I've also tested it on my 12" PowerBook G4 at a 1024 x 768 resolution, just to see what it looks like on a smaller screen, and it seems to be OK.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions about the new look, now's the time to lay 'em on me. I'll try not to change the template as often as I've seen some bloggers do, but from now on I won't hesitate to adjust my creation to my liking.

I'll get back to regular blogging either later today or tomorrow. The holidays are over, and, surprisingly, stuff has happened that I wished I had had the time to write about. Time to get back to business.

34 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 1/02/2006 1:24 AM, Blogger Suburban Farm said...

works on Opera 8.5. Looks. . . approprate. Will take getting used to, but a redesign is usually a good thing. Eventually.

 

At 1/02/2006 2:30 AM, Blogger Jonathan Dresner said...

If you like it, Great!

It's a bit busy for me, but as long as it's got a good-sized text space and readable colors, I'll learn to ignore what isn't actually posts.

It would help, though if you would publish full articles through your RSS feed...

 

At 1/02/2006 3:06 AM, Blogger Kev said...

Functions fine on Firefox 1.5, Opera 7.5 and IE6 on WinXP.

 

At 1/02/2006 3:51 AM, Blogger Radagast said...

Big changes! One thing I noticed, at least in Firefox on both Debian and Windows XP, is that the "Anti-Quackery Ring" box is being placed to the upper-right of your header (" Respectful Insolence ..."), which makes the page much wider than a full screen's width. Odd.

Also, when narrowing the browser window, each of the three content columns can become narrower than the largest image in them, resulting in a very odd appearance (the images overlap the border of the column they're in, then are covered up by the next column to the right).

 

At 1/02/2006 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello and a very happy new year to you!
I've been reading your blog off and on for some time now, got into it through some linking on nazi-history (I'm a historian working on my PhD on slavelabor for Siemens) but was most interested in your remarks on vaccination (my son is 5 Month old now) and I suffer from a bad case of altie-investation in my own family…

Well, the new template: sorry to say but it hurts a bit my eyes, too much color, though I like the startrek-remiszences…

Greetings, Rolf

 

At 1/02/2006 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello and a very happy new year to you!
I've been reading your blog off and on for some time now, got into it through some linking on nazi-history (I'm a historian working on my PhD on slavelabor for Siemens) but was most interested in your remarks on vaccination (my son is 5 Month old now) and I suffer from a bad case of altie-investation in my own family…

Well, the new template: sorry to say but it hurts a bit my eyes, too much color, though I like the startrek-remiszences…

Greetings, Rolf

 

At 1/02/2006 6:46 AM, Anonymous sophia8 said...

I'm looking at it in both Firefox and IE, 1024 x 768.
Um, really I preferred your old template. This one is way to fussy and frilly for my tastes.
Also, all the boxes are on the left side, with a gap on the right side; in IE, the righthand side also box seems to be floating away from eveything.
And the font in the heading graphic looks very bitty - it needs anti-aliasing. Better still, since it's a common sans-serif, you should left it out of the graphic altogether and specified a sans-serif font in the styling template.
I don't know Blogger templates at all, so Kev would probably be the best person to advise on getting the bugs out.

 

At 1/02/2006 7:56 AM, Anonymous dr epicurus in oz said...

G'day Orac

What's with the 70's style spacecraft ? I think all the green is a bit hard on the eyes also...

But keep up the healthy skepticism, please :)

Dr E

ps - belated condolences, have lost 3 second-degree relatives around "xmas", always hard.

 

At 1/02/2006 8:44 AM, Anonymous Dave Harmon said...

The layout looks OK at first glance, but that florescent-green logo is seriously ugly...

 

At 1/02/2006 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New format makes it more diffcult to read the text,which is all I care about.

 

At 1/02/2006 10:29 AM, Anonymous "Sloopy" said...

I love and admire your Blog! I especially appreciate the amount of links you are providing; your site is a treasure trove for any “bright”, rational and genuinely moral individual.

However, in the new format it is difficult to read the text in middle, the black boxes with white italic text. Please note that changing the text size in the browser through “View” “Text size” does not work for the middle part. Changing monitor resolution to 800x600 helps a bit but is not really a good solution! Maybe a clearer font like Ariel would help?

 

At 1/02/2006 10:29 AM, Blogger Orac said...

OK, I agree a bit with the green center text box after looking at it more; so I changed it to a soothing light gray. Hopefully that should make the text easier to read.

This is not a final version. Look at it as a process where I'll be tweaking it over the next several weeks until I get it the way I really like it.

 

At 1/02/2006 10:41 AM, Blogger Ali said...

Looks good, glad I could be of some help. I also see you got that "column-drop" problem fixed - well done!

The only thing I would change: make the link color have a little more contrast to the regular text (or add underlines).

 

At 1/02/2006 10:42 AM, Anonymous Michael W said...

Like the new template. Looks like it's the result of intelligent design.

 

At 1/02/2006 11:16 AM, Blogger decrepitoldfool said...

If you could just remove the circuit-board background... it is a harsh visual distraction from your content.

Also the scrolling effect is a bit jarring. Cool spaceship, though.

 

At 1/02/2006 11:53 AM, Anonymous Sebastien Nantel said...

I've been reading your blog practically every day since first discovering it after arguing with a friend of mine over the mercury-autism issue. I greatly enjoy it, it's intelligently written, full of information and a good gateway to other blogs as well.

I hate for my first post to be on the negative side, but I'm not a big fan of the new template. I agree with other posters that it is pretty busy, colourful and distracting to the eye. The old one was more homogene, and the Greek temple banner with the white background gave it an air of wisdom, rationality and class. It reminded me of the passage in Sophie's World when she sees the Parthenon in a video.

Template aside, though, I'll keep on reading every day since the content is top-notch and entertaining. Oh, and will Eneman be back in 2006?

 

At 1/02/2006 12:58 PM, Blogger MarkW said...

Looks fine using Netscape; I like it better than the old template.

 

At 1/02/2006 1:03 PM, Anonymous DawnCNM said...

Hi, Orac! I like the new template, although it was a bit of a shock when I first came to it! I had no trouble reading it but I logged on after the change to the gray background. My only negative is either underline links or make them a different color; they are hard to find unless you scroll over the entire text.

Everything shows up fine on my IE6 Gateway laptop. I can read both sides of the screen just fine and I actually like the way you have the other bloggers links lined up. Much easier to find them.

 

At 1/02/2006 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Orac! Liz here from I Speak of Dreams. I'm looking at it in Firefox.

Let me first say, as a lay reader, how much I enjoy your blog.

You asked for our feedback. Hmmn. New design.

Banner: does not appeal to me visually. It does not seem related to your blog content in any way. The logo alone is all right, although I am not a great fan of lumpy san serif headline type, and the type itself is of poor quality (you can see the jaggies in the capital R and the lowercase o). From a design standpoint, the phrase "respectful insolence" is in one size and weight, and the phrase "orac knows" should be a different weight as well as size. That face doesn't read well smaller, IMAO. I don't see the relationship between the spaceship and the transparent box thingy--they aren't related to the banner or each other, and as I said, it doesn't really relate to what you usually write about.

Background: the green circuit board is just busy--the bits between the columns are just distracting. Also the circuit board doesn't seem to have a relationship with the banner. I might like the background a bit more if it were screened back (as we said in the old days of print) --like 15%, so it would be there, but less obstrusive.

Blockquotes: in general, I very much like blockquote styling that is particularly distinct from the text (and I will learn how to do so on my own blog--it's a flaw in my design that I don't set blockquotes off enough). But I've never been a fan of white type on a dark background; it's hard to read. Suggestion: same size, color, and weight of type as body type, indented on a lighter grey background.

I do like the little images marking off the various subsections of the sidebars. And the blogroll organization is quite good.

JM2C

 

At 1/02/2006 2:20 PM, Blogger Orac said...

A word of explanation to all: The box and spaceship are in fact very much related. The spaceship is the Liberator, and the box is Orac itself.

I suspect that some of the complaints about the new design come from not being familiar with whom I based my "Orac" 'nym on from the very beginning. Here's a primer for those not familiar with Blakes 7.

Not knowing the background that led to the design, of course, is an entirely different matter than not liking the aesthetics of the new template.

 

At 1/02/2006 3:14 PM, Blogger Brent McKee said...

I for one like the new template - makes me envious although I confess that of the Blogger templates I like the one I use the best and it fits for what I do. I, of course, got the spaceship and transparent box references from Blake's 7 immediately. Now all you need is a little bit of naked Lucy (grin).

Best wishes for the New Year

 

At 1/02/2006 3:14 PM, Anonymous HCN said...

At first I thought Oracknows was hijacked. But then I got the Blakes 7 template.

I much prefer the change in font from green to gray, it is easier to read.

Then I clicked on one of the "Essential Orac" posts from the past --- I noticed that the comments on older posts are Center-justified. That is annoying to read (it also seems a bit cutesy). If those could be made to be left justified, that would be nice.

 

At 1/02/2006 4:38 PM, Blogger Argy Stokes said...

Alas, the last good non-narrow column blog has bit the dust (which will ensure the destruction of my scrolling finger, considering your entries tend to be rather long). The colors are easier to look at though; the plain white background with black text was kinda hard on the eyes.

 

At 1/02/2006 4:41 PM, Blogger Argy Stokes said...

Actually, I change my mind. The column is wide enough after all.

 

At 1/02/2006 5:38 PM, Blogger Kristjan Wager said...

A bit too busy for my taste, but I am a simplicity kind of guy. Has something to do with the fact that I look at a computer screen at least 12 hours per day.

Other than that, no complains from me - it's always fun to see what other people think off.

 

At 1/02/2006 7:10 PM, Blogger GrrlScientist said...

oh. my. dog. for a few seconds, i thought you were kidnapped. this is what happens when i blink.

your new template is .. boxy and closed in. i like the header/banner/masthead, but the other stuff (green circuitboard?) is a little .. too intense. i think the same design would work better if you toned down the color so it isn't so bright and if you (dare i say this?) removed the lines around the sideboards (at least) and central text box. perhaps you can fade the interior of the boxes (where the text is located) to pale green and simply do away with those lines.

but i always did hate solid lines, sorry.

GrrlScientist

 

At 1/02/2006 8:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to add one more negative. It's one of my personal beefs - if something is meant to be centered, it should be exactly centered. The center column isn't (at least on IE). Why not left justify the text?
Jennifer

 

At 1/03/2006 8:00 AM, Anonymous jre said...

As ali and dawncnm have already noted, the link color does not contrast with the background, making links almost impossible to pick out. Please (when convenient) change the link color!

 

At 1/03/2006 7:46 PM, Anonymous rzg said...

I love what you write, but I vote with the folks on: too fussy, too busy in the background, and most of all, I hate the blogs with the narrow column of text. If you must have all the extra side stuff, put it on one side, and at least make the text 75-80% of the width.

 

At 1/03/2006 8:24 PM, Anonymous Ron Sullivan said...

I'm using IE 5.1 on a Mac (I'm getting the impression that that's rather an antique browser) and I think it looks great, so there. I'm sure it breaks all sorts of design rules, but I'm actually finding it easier to read. I like the Kelly green, and the "busy" bits are just borders anyway -- the other one was pretty generic, as I discovered when I went to a couple other blogs that had the same template. I certainly like the green better than the predigested pink that borders the commenting window, the old style.

When the browser opened to the green circuit-board background, it made me grin. That's a good thing.

 

At 1/03/2006 10:22 PM, Blogger Orac said...

What can I say? Fussy and busy? That's me, I guess, with a good dash of SF geek. Sorry.

I'll keep tweaking the design to improve it, but thus far I have no plans to do another major redesign, although I might try a different, less bold background once I get all the bugs worked out of this template. (I actually have a black circuit board pattern with very narrow lines that might do the trick nicely.)

Besides, on most monitors I've tested thus far, the center column is actually wider and holds more text than my old template. Even on my 12" laptop, to me the look is quite acceptable. One thing I could do is to eliminate the space between the main panel and the two sidebars, ceding it to the main panel for more width. The problem with that approach is that the right sidebar has a distressing tendency to slide off to the bottom of the center bar on narrower windows. Ali taught me that.

One last thing. Regarding Radagast's comment about the "Anti-Quackery Ring" box being placed in the upper right hand corner. That appears to be a problem specific to Firefox 1.0. I saw the same thing on another computer we had have at home. Upgrading to Firefox 1.5 eliminated the layout problem.

 

At 1/04/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Alice H said...

The sci-fi/computer thing doesn't seem to fit with this being a medblog...And the circuit board background is loud.

 

At 1/05/2006 3:49 PM, Blogger Qalmlea said...

Not sure if this is due to a font change or what, but I'm getting some strange characters in both IE and Firefox. In your New Year's Resolution title, Cliche is "cliché" and in "Unexpected Analogy," Führer has become "Führer." Apologies if this is a problem with my computer rather than your font.

 

At 1/23/2006 12:58 PM, Anonymous Interior Design said...

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