I'm about to ugly this sucker up…

I’ve been experimenting with a new layout for the site. So in a couple of minutes, you’re about to see a lot of ugly and broken-looking-ness.
I’ll let you know when I’ve got it all wrapped up.
[Update] Well, it’s not done, but it’s closer to where I want to be. The big flashy ads everywhere were getting on my nerves. In fact, I’m planning to get rid of Blogads and keep the number of banners on the site to a minimum. It looks a bit whorish as it stands. Nonetheless, I hope the site feels less cluttered and more readable now. I might go for a lighter background and futz with the link colors a bit more, but to be honest I feel relieved by this new design. First off, it’s 100% XHTML+CSS — that means cleaner and more manageable code. Second, the templates are better organized so that I can more easily integrate new content and features. It’s a long overdue overhaul. So I’m gonna pat myself on the back and bid you all a Shabbat Shalom.
Some of the images I altered yesterday may still have older versions stored in your browser cache. So, if things look a little wacky, try doing a ctrl-shift-refresh or empty your cache and reload the page.

24 thoughts on “I'm about to ugly this sucker up…

  1. It may be ugly. But I like how the comment links now link to the archive page for a post rather than popping up a disconnected comment window.

  2. I’m not loving this new design from a usability perspective (I’ve been designing webpages since 1994.) White text on black is not good for reading long passages, it’s very harsh on the eyes. Black text on white is better, but black text on light gray or dark gray text on white is the best. Screens are very bright, which is why it’s so much nicer to read on paper. It helps to compensate by toning down the contrast. Also, the background is distracting. I liked it better before, when the background was only in the margins. Just my 2 cents – I’ll keep reading the site regardless!

  3. “gonna ugly this sucker up” Boy, did you ever. And as Jonathan said, not only is it ugly, it’s unreadable! Come on.. you have a great site… don’t make it impossible for your audience to read.
    And by the way, all that backround (new or old) makes the page take forever to load. Repeat after me… ” Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!”

  4. Mobius, my dear friend whose Shabbat I would never want to profane, please ignore that I am saying this on Shabbat when we’re supposed to recognize the inherent beauty of things on Earth…
    But it’s REALLY hard to get into reading the site with this new design. It feels cold to me, and generic and commercial.
    I’m one of those weird people who are so visual that they can’t get into readings they don’t want to look at (I know you think that’s hilarious considering my pamphlet design skills). I don’t read books when the font is unappealing me and I do judge books by their covers. So maybe I’m not representative enough to judge by…but I REALLY REALLY REALLY miss the old design.
    If we must have this new clammy look, could you move the text section to the middle of the screen again, make the background white, and have the ads on both sides? It made it very easy to read and drew me in as a reader.

  5. Much better now, but you still have a little work to do on the typeface used for the articles, which appears a bit condensed and hard to read… maybe a size or two larger, or a slightly more bold face might help.
    For appearance, you might want to add some color to the Jewschool logo at the top.
    Whatever…. the blog is great… keep up the great work!

  6. Well, I was surprised at first – I thought that my browser was hijacked, but then I saw your name and relaxed… I definitely like the lighter background, and the css really helps load quicker. the skinny strip with the small text only on one side is too bad – aim for a daf of talmud style, bigger, denser text in the middle and shrunken, finer text on the surrounds.

  7. “the skinny strip with the small text only on one side is too bad”
    show me a screen capture; that first right column should be about 180px wide, and the one to right of it, 150px wide.
    after we phase out blogads, the right column should be 210px and the far right column should be 120.

  8. i think the old design had a more welcoming feeling. this design just feels too “sterile”, and lacks color.
    i agree with daielbu about the logo spice it up a bit!
    good luck with the tweaking.

  9. Looking cool. Maybe you should plan on a different design every day… at least during the sefira?
    Incidentally, I vote in favor keeping the blog ads: If your successfully connecting advertisers to audience, you’re doing a service; if not, then they’ll disappear of their own accord.

  10. the idea is to change the background image weekly, as opposed to daily, and to invite the community to contribute images.
    as per the blogads, they’re just so fugly and invasive. i’d rather have 5 ads, 120×240, and keep the full profit instead of having to hand over a hefty percentage to blogads.com for doing nothing and offering non-IAB standardized banner sizes.
    the site looks too whorish w/them. i want to clean it up.

  11. Why, because no San Francisco? So throw in the Golden Gate Bridge. But we should add some Euro flavor. Altneushul, done.

  12. I’m enjoying this new version… very user-friendly, easy-to-read, blah, blah… but I do miss Rosie the Riveter with her tefillin! Ah, well.

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