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October 29, 2005

Fiddle Fiddle

Yes, I'm playing with the look of the Whatever again. Feel free to comment.

Update: 4:24pm: All right, the fiddling is largely completed. Differences you may note will include the picture bar running down the left side of the Whatever and new banner image. Text layout remains the same. To make the picture bar work, I locked the left margin, which means that the left margin will no longer collapse when you shrink your browser window. This means if your browser window is less than 750 pixels across, you'll need to scroll to see the text. However, I don't know how much of a problem this will be for people, since most people these days have monitors set to 1024x768 at least. I guess if you are cruising the Internet at 800x600 I'll say to you what I say to people who complain that the site doesn't look good in Netscape 4.x: Welcome to the 21st century! We have many wonders here. Please upgrade your online experience accordingly.

Along with this, I'll note the background image is a 120k download, which may be mildly annoying to people on dial-up. However, if your browser caches, then this will probably be annoying only once. Everyone on broadband, of course, won't even notice. If you find that all the changes make for an intolerable reading experience, I suggest subscribing to the atom feed (you'll find it in the right sidebar), which will give you all the text and none of the images (unless I include them in the entry, that is). But again, I don't really expect the changes will be an issue for most people, as I don't find them annoying, and when it comes to the Internet, I assume everything is annoying until proven otherwise.  

Again, however, I welcome your comments.  

Posted by john at October 29, 2005 03:38 PM

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Comments

Chris Sullins | October 29, 2005 04:36 PM

A couple things:

First of all, beautiful image there.

Unfortunately, the background image doesn't seem to fit well with the dream-like header image. Also, I'd want a little more contrast between the header text and the header image. (It's a little hard to read)

Kevin Q | October 29, 2005 04:43 PM

I like the idea, but is there anyway that you could make the main body a relative width, instead of a fixed-width? My browser takes up less than the full width of my screen (I like to multitask) and with the way the page is set up, I see the line of pictures, and then about 3/4 of the body. I have to scroll right to see the whole body of the text. Either that, or run the pictures down the right side.

I hate to be picky, but one of my pet peeves is websites that assume that everybody's viewing the page on a certain size screen, and damn everybody else who's got a smaller screen.

K

Kevin Q | October 29, 2005 04:48 PM

Update to my previous comment: I posted my last comment before your update, so I guess now you'd decided to go with the fixed width. Oh, well.

Though I disagree with you on the "small screen is so last century." I've got 1280 pixels left-to-right, so my screen isn't the problem. But I like to do more than one thing at a time, and having a browser in the right half of my screen and my word processor in the left half is just how I roll.

K

Kevin Q | October 29, 2005 04:52 PM

Or (sorry for the treble post) could you run the side bar on the comment page, too? The front page looks good on my half-screen browser, it's only when I go into a post that part of your text gets chopped off. I don't mind having to scroll the screen over for the menus, I just mind if I have to do it to read.

Just a thought. Hope this doesn't come off as too pissy.

K

John Scalzi | October 29, 2005 04:53 PM

I'm not entirely sure how to run the sidebar on the comment pages, but I'll look into it.

Kevin | October 29, 2005 04:59 PM

Where's the cartoon from?

Wild Waldo | October 29, 2005 05:01 PM

I use a feedreader, and the pictures on the left mean I have to scroll over for any post of yours I'm going to read now. Doh!
If they were on the right, it'd make life easier for me.
But that's just me.

Wan Zafran | October 29, 2005 05:07 PM

Some general comments:

The header didn't catch my attention, as the size of the text is far too small in comparison with its background image. That, and there's a starked contrast with the images on the left. May I suggest that you change the colour of the header font to something else?

The contrast? Well, the images on the left are vibrant, and colourful, and the rest of the site is bleak black and white (or grey).

The width of the layout is alright. I like the pictures on the left though, they're pretty cool.


That was my 2 cents. One question though: why the sudden move to a new layout design?

RooK | October 29, 2005 05:14 PM

WEBNESS +5: The pictures are cool.

WEBNESS -1: The pictures are distracting, like watching the band through a bunch of dancers.

The Whatever taunting tagline might be more readable against the excellent moon image and the dark blue sky if it were in the yellow/red range. But, it's readable enough if you care to look carefully, and the grey suits the image.

T.W. | October 29, 2005 06:30 PM

Fuss pot are you? Can't leave things alone. Bet you pick at your scabs too.

sharon | October 29, 2005 08:38 PM

You could have the background image repeat vertically - that way it wouldn't stop abruptly in the middle of the comments.

That's background-repeat: repeat-y  instead of background-repeat: no-repeat  if you were unaware.

Just .02 from a random reader.

Anonymous | October 29, 2005 08:44 PM

Dang, Scalzi... your daughter is so beautiful!

Does she blog yet?

Suli

Audrey Estock | October 29, 2005 09:31 PM

My cent and a half is that the contrast is a little too much. The black background ends up hurting my eyes after a few minutes, and making it hard for me to focus on the text. Of course, this is just an initial recation. Come next week I'll have forgotten what the site looked like before!

John H | October 29, 2005 10:41 PM

I like sharon's idea about having the pictures repeat. Otherwise, it looks good to me...

In other news, a new tropical wave is organizing east of the Lesser Antilles. It could become TS Gamma sometime next week, but not in time for Halloween as I was expecting. Still much sooner than the Thanksgiving arrival you predicted...

Harry Connolly | October 29, 2005 10:46 PM

Welcome to the 21st century! We have many wonders here. Please upgrade your online experience accordingly.

Here's a new one for your "Being Poor" list:

Being Poor means that you can't afford all the newest internet toys, and people will snark at your for it.

John Scalzi | October 29, 2005 11:23 PM

If your computer is less than six years old, Harry, it's reasonably likely your monitor settings will allow 1024x768. It's not a money issue, it's an "open up your settings and make a small change" issue.

Sharon: Thanks! I took your suggestion.

RONW | October 29, 2005 11:40 PM

There needs to be more contrast between the top picture in the sidebar and your banner....where the right-edge of the sidebar picture and the left-edge of the banner meet. Dark meets dark equates to no contrast. Upon closer inspection though, it's the dark horizontal strip behind Miss Athena that influences the contrast. On even more closer inspection still, it's the light horizontal strip below the dark strip, that isn't "light" enough, that's the true culprit for the insufficient contrast.

Dark upon dark also spell no contrast, as shown with the half of the dark "W" overlayed on top of the dark background part of the banner. Your blurb lacks sufficient contrast also, but should not effect regular visitors, because they've already scanned the blurb and title into memory, and sight plays a minor role. That's probably why it took me a while to even notice that half of the "W" was not there. New readers might read "Whatever" as "hatever" though. I agree with the comment that the dark void (non picture) part of the sidebar is too much contrast with the central column. I have never seen this layout anywhere else. A+....by the way.

Eric B | October 30, 2005 12:45 AM

I like it except for Ghlaghghee's picture. That is all.

Harry Connolly | October 30, 2005 01:56 AM

John, I know what my computer can do.

John Scalzi | October 30, 2005 02:39 AM

Fine, Harry. My point is that you don't have to have "the newest internet toys" to have that sort of screen resolution; the vast majority of the computers built in the last six years can support 1024x768, including the ones owned by people of less than lavish means. You apparently have one that cannot. Don't know what to tell you about that, but I can say that if you're thinking I'm making a generalized broadside smack at the poor, you're wrong.

Now, let's table this because I don't particularly feel like having this conversation anymore.

Brian Greenberg | October 31, 2005 09:13 AM

Insignificant whine: I usually check the Whatever once a day at work, and the pictures scrolling down the side are a big "Hey - look here! He's not working right now!" advertisement.

<Sigh...>

rayyy | November 4, 2005 01:12 PM

It's
fine
on my
desktop
PC, but
I
mostly
visit
via a
WiFi
PDA.
At
240 x 320
(that's 240
horizontal)
it's
practically
one word
per
line,
oftenwithalotofscruncheduptextattheend,forsomeinexpilcablereason

Can I use this "Atom Feed" thing to get a text-only version of your site via http? (Yeah, I know, geeky-WiFi-PDA-folks are supposed to *know* the answers to those sort of question. I fail.)

John Scalzi | November 4, 2005 01:56 PM

I don't see why you couldn't, Rayyy, so long as there is a program that can read Atom feeds for your particular PDA, and it's hard to imagine at this point that there is not.

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