Blog Update: Visual Re-design

We have just launched a visual re-design of the site. (It has been nearly three years since the last re-design.) Here’s the place to post feedback, particularly if you notice anything broken.

Over time, this has become more a news website than a typical blog. We’re keeping “blog” in the domain name and brand, for now, but this design more accurately reflects the broader nature of our content.


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100 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Looking pretty good! Only negative is ALL the white.

  2. Yeah, The white behind the posts is fine, but I’d like it better if the header had a bolder contrasting background.

    • Hmm; good thoughts. I’ll think it over.

  3. The heading “Columns” has a drop down menu that goes off the edge of the screen on my browser. If it were swapped with “Reference” which has no drup down menu, it might be better. Love the new look.

    • It displays properly in the earliest browsers, but there must be some it’s not compatible with (I’m guessing IE6 or IE7). And, since I’m sure I have other readers on whatever browser it might be, I did go ahead and swap them around, but put home last since I think it needs to go either first or last. Does it work better now?

    • Firefox 3.6.15 on Mac OS, and Baptist.

      • Ah; I think the current edition of Firefox is 5 point something. However, it should work now. πŸ™‚

  4. I like the new layout.Very nice!!!

  5. Ahh! Daniel, are you trying to scare us? Southern Gospel Blog has gone albino! πŸ˜€

    Agreed with DBM and Paul about the header/all-white, but otherwise, it’s nice; surprising, but nice. πŸ™‚

    • I’ll see what I can do about the header.

      (This is what happens when Ben is tied up all weekend … if he wasn’t, I would have called you and given you an advance warning. πŸ™‚ )

  6. I liked the old format better.

    You know, I looked at some other people with websites and I’m thinking that at the moment it’s only non-Wordpress folks that are linked through their names. So people like Josh, FNR or me don’t have the click option, but Luke Forsee or DBM do. It must be a format thing… I guess the new design doesn’t like WordPress. πŸ™‚

    • Actually, it’s only people with an account here, who submit replies logged-in vs. through the normal form.

      • Well why didn’t you say so in the first place? I wasn’t around when that all got set up and now that we have the option you were confusing me!

      • Oh, yes, you were – you just don’t remember it. πŸ˜€ The post announcing that went up the same month your first guest post did (the Booth Brothers post).

      • I guess I wasn’t paying attention at the time, not having a website of my own yet.

        That was actually my second guest review—the first was Influenced II. And I think I may have done a few columns in between there.

      • Ah, well, then, you’re making my point now, even more dramatically than I was making it! πŸ™‚

      • Even if I had remembered that far back, I would still have been confused at first because supposedly we did have this option for the moment now… and I came up with the WordPress idea because Luke Forsee is really new and was clickable (I wouldn’t have thought he’d have an account even if I had remembered the account thing).

  7. Daniel not sure if you had caught this or not, but when you click on a post the title of each post is your 3:1 review of The Heirlines album…

    • I noticed the same thing but thought I’d let someone else point it out. πŸ™‚

    • It wasn’t doing that when I went to sleep … aaargh, php. All right, it’s fixed and not doing that now. Let me know if you notice it starting again!

      • Daniel,

        As of 7:58 PM (Central time), the breadcrumb navigation of this post reads: Home Β» 3+1 Β» 3:1 Review: Recharged (Ball Brothers).

      • Thanks!

      • Fixed. It seems that one of the default php calls in WordPress simply isn’t working on this server, but thankfully, there’s a workaround!

  8. I would tend to agree with DBM on the header. The fonts also render strangely, but since nobody else has mentioned that, I’m going to assume it’s something with my computer. Other than that though, looking good.

    • The font’s the only thing that has me going. It seems a little stretched out vertically for me. Otherwise, nice format!

  9. As one who has visual problems, it is very hard to read the light gray words…including the ones I’m typing in this comment. I liked the “squares” around the comments better than all white. I will say I enjoy the blog very much…lots of good information, so keep up the good work!

    • Thank you for the feedback! There are actually subtle light gray squares around the comments now, but I’ll investigate darkening them. πŸ™‚

  10. Wish more SG groups were this way, without all the noise, hype, bells, & whistles….but for a website, Dan (hate to say it) – it’s really bland. Can you do ANYTHING to jazz it up? It’s like watching a TV-test pattern during a snowstorm.

  11. Well yeah Dan, maybe something big and bold with a little more contrast. It may not be your cup of tea at all, but think Canaan album graphics during the seventies. But then again, I think most
    cars today are boring beyond belief design and color-wise, and I’m the odd-man out, so you may be in the mainstream.

  12. All white background is very hard for me to look at..need more contrast. I like the new font. Format is fine.

    I check your site twice a day…and really enjoy it.

    • Thanks! I’m mulling over possible tweak ideas.

  13. Hey, everyone: I’m still mulling over making the color scheme more interesting, addressing a number of the points raised.

    Truth be told, I never have liked the brown/red color scheme I’ve had for three years. At least, I haven’t liked it for 2 1/2 of those years!

    What colors go well with turquoise?

    • You could always go with orange, blue’s complementary color! πŸ˜›

      Brown goes well with blue tones, as does white. Black and turquoise are rather striking together. Certain shades of green would also enhance a turquoise scheme. Grays and silvers also look good with turquoise.

      But, of course, it all depends on the “feel” you want for SGB. Blues, pinks, and yellows are more light, relaxed, and calming. Reds (maroon, burgundy, etc.) and oranges are exciting and add a “fast-paced” feel to websites. Blacks, whites, and grays generally give a professional, corporate look. Browns and greens provide a earthy, warm atmosphere.

      Just some “colorful” thoughts!

      -TGF

      • Thanks; I wouldn’t have known what the complementary color was unless someone told me!

        My tendency is to go classy / corporate / formal, and text-only, but I know that my instincts there aren’t necessarily the best. πŸ™‚

      • If you desire a more classy/professional look to the site, than it would probably be best to go with neutral colors (black, white, gray, brown, tan) as the main scheme and use the other colors as accents. For example, you could go with a black and white color scheme with turquoise as an accent.

        Just a suggestion! πŸ™‚

      • My, am I glad to have a few graphic designer friends! πŸ™‚

      • Well, definitely not professional graphic designers, that’s for certain! πŸ˜€ Perhaps just overly-opinionated design-oriented people… πŸ™‚

      • At least you know enough to have an opinion! πŸ™‚

  14. I liked the old template, but this one isn’t bad. One complaint is that it’s not working in Google Chrome. Also, you might take out some “white” especially in the header.

    • What isn’t working in Chrome, and are you sure you have auto-update enabled (to get the last version)? I use Chrome, and I’ve done almost all my testing in Chrome.

  15. It won’t load onto the screen. Version 14?

    • Another question, if I may: Are you running any plugins or extensions or toolbars in Chrome? I’m using this in the current versions of Chrome in both Windows and Mac, and having no issues.

      I may try installing some plugins/extensions/toolbars, if you’re running any, to see if any of them makes it load blank.

      • It’s actually working now. πŸ™‚

      • Cool! Probably a cache issue.

  16. By the way, everyone: One major change, which I could have also made with the previous theme: I removed the gravatars next to usernames. This is (a) because most of you weren’t using them, anyhow, and (b) because it made 100+-comment posts way too long!

    Thoughts?

    • Since you asked πŸ™‚ …

      Gravatars do lighten up the comment section – as in adding interest – and help break up the monotony of comment after comment. But, then again, we do see your points as well.

      • Hmm. Hopefully a few other people will chime in on this point. If everyone likes, I can try re-adding that php code and see how everyone likes that!

        (Of course, you were one of the few who did have a picture! πŸ™‚ )

      • Where else would we use our gravatar? πŸ™‚

      • Umm… in your author bio box at the end of each post you write! πŸ˜€

      • Oops, duh! πŸ˜†

      • Sorry! That one was just way too good to pass up! πŸ™‚

      • I also like the gravatar

  17. I’m still not 100% sold on the new format, but the green color makes a huge difference. The all white was pretty generic. Also, any ideas on why my info isn’t staying in like I thought it used to? Even if it didn’t before, comments didn’t need approved beforehand.

    • Honestly, I have no idea what that last one went to moderation. This one, as you probably noticed right after hitting submit, went straight up. πŸ™‚

    • I echo q-man’s sentiment…I have to type in my name, e-mail, and website every time now. Can I get some kind of cookie? πŸ™‚

      • It’s probably just all the changes. Let me know if it’s still ongoing a few weeks from now (or, you can just email me for a subscriber-level account, and click the stay logged in box. πŸ™‚ )

  18. OK, I just re-added gravatars – and, I must admit, it looks better – and changed the color scheme to purple / green / yellow. How does it look, graphically, now?

    • The green/yellow/purple color scheme reminds us of Vikings vs. Packers (down Vikings!), John Deere, Pioneer Seed Corn…

      The colors rather clash, and don’t quite fit the classy look you might be striving for. In our opinion, the color scheme does not communicate the news/commentary idea. Just our thoughts!

      • I agree with all but “down Vikings.” Don’t tell me you’re Packer fans…

      • The green and purple are supposed to be precisely complimentary colors, according to a color wheel. πŸ™‚

        If it was up to me, I’d either go with a purple-based design, with a color that’s supposed to be complimentary to purple (which this green is supposed to be), or a scheme composed almost entirely of whites and grays! Maybe I should try the whites and grays out, but I rather suspect it will be termed boring. πŸ™‚

      • I kinda liked the purple yesterday.

        I remember learning from A Beka art that green and red or purple and yellow were complimentary colors. πŸ™ I don’t know that I ever believed it, but then I’m not a real artsy person. You took the three primary colors (red, yellow, blue). Red’s color would be composed of the two remaining primaries – yellow and blue. Purple, composed of red and blue, would be complimented by yellow, the remaining color. The problem is that green and red only works at Christmas …

    • The green and gold MIGHT be doable… during Christmas.

      Mix it with purple, and it’s quite frankly awful. I still don’t know why you felt like it needed to be changed from before at all. The old design was simple, classy, and easy on the eyes.

      • Quite simple: The old design was three years old, and I needed the functionality that newer themes offer.

  19. For me, it seems like too much white around the posts…

    • The grey shades seem to be rather more noticeable in Google Chrome on Mac than on Windows. Odd.

      • I don’t know why people don’t like white anyway. We always used to read stuff in black and white ……

        Still have to type my info in too. (Not griping!)

      • It’s probably because I keep changing the design every few hours!

  20. Still not a fan of the color scheme. Reminds me a lot of a Vikings-Packers football game (GO VIKINGS!)

    • I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of either team, and I certainly wouldn’t have known what sport they were in except that you told me. So rest assured that it didn’t influence me any!

      (Actually, as I was working on the latest news/commentary etc. section, I was thinking John Deere!)

  21. I like the latest colors here better than what you put up when this post went up. That color and font made it hard to read on my computer.
    Keep it up Daniel, find something you’re happy with and is easy to read and people will adjust. You’ll always find a certain percentage do not like any change!

    • Thanks! And yes, you’re right – with this many readers, some will dislike any design! πŸ™‚

  22. The internal architecture of comment forms changed in a recent edition of WordPress. I tracked it down on lunch break, and hopefully things will return to normal, now!

    • Still the same, and I’ve lost the ability to link my blog.

      • Josh, unless you had an account with the blog, you couldn’t link to your blog even under the new system. I understand the confusion because I got mixed up too. Apparently even though we supposedly had the option briefly, the old system was still in effect. Daniel chose not to activate the option even though it was there for a moment because he was planning to get rid of it anyway and set things back to the way they were.

      • Exactly; I had already reconfigured the back-end of the site. For a few days, the theme didn’t reflect/match that, but I’ve now updated the theme.

  23. I tried dropping purple. How does it look with just green and yellow?

    Those colors are used together all the time, so I figure this removes the color-based concerns, but I could be wrong.

    • Well it would look nice as a Christmas theme… and it’s much better than purple.

      You know what would really look good though is a warm reddish-brownish-white theme. You can put color around the sidebar to reduce the overwhelming whiteness.

      Sound familiar? πŸ˜€

      • I know how resistant Southern Gospel fans are to change.

        πŸ™‚

        That said, as I said above, I’ve been worn out with the brown and red combination for about 2 1/2 years now, and I am thoroughly ready to try something new. πŸ™‚

      • Well… go Packers then, I guess.

      • Trust me, this has nothing to do with sports teams. I’m not even sure whether the Packers are baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey, or chess. πŸ™‚

      • It would be cool if they were chess. Unfortunately they’re football.

      • Ah. I’ve never watched or listened to a football gameβ€”in person, on TV, radio, or onlineβ€”but given the way people talk about it, I rather suspect it wouldn’t be half as interesting as chess.

        Come to think of it, I think someone may have said yesterday that they were a football team, but my brain doesn’t hold useless (to me) trivia long!

      • I’m not getting Christmas out of it, just John Deere. And not everyone is necessarily going to think John Deere; just my dad and brother are big into tractors, and it’s already been talked about. I think Billboy (?) from the forums would be very happy here.

        That said, I really did like the brown and red. πŸ˜€

      • When we first saw the new colors, we thought John Deere also. “Southern Gospel Blog…the blog for singing tractors!” Just teasing!

      • πŸ™‚

  24. Is there a way to get the timestamps back, or is that not available on this theme?

    • I’d have to hand-code it in, but I can do that if I remember.

  25. How is it with a gray background?

    • Better, though I’m still not sold on the green. I can get used to it though.

    • Better. Now just make the header background red and you’ll have a nice red-gold thing going.

      • Nutcrackers…

        (See! A pop culture reference! Even if I’ve never seen the show! πŸ™‚ )

      • …except it’s not a real insult. Did you mean nutcases?

      • No, I’m talking about the red and white soldiers that hang on Christmas trees. That’s what the prospect of a red and white design brings to mind.

        Did I actually fish out a pop culture reference you had never heard of? (!)

      • Oh, no, I know what Nutcrackers are. I thought you were trying to tell us that we were crazy for wanting you to go back to a red design. πŸ™‚

      • Well, if it is an insult, I didn’t have the slightest clue that it was one, and I apologize for any unintended implications! My intent was pretty straightforward.

        (…whereupon Daniel retreats back into his usual corner, wherein he does not make futile attempts at displaying pop culture relevance! πŸ˜› )

      • Like I said, it actually isn’t a real insult, it just sounds like one. I wasn’t sure if you were trying to make a pun or what. It’s actually kind of funny.

      • No, I would be too ignorant of the story at hand to pull off a pun concerning it.

        I would make a really good absentminded professor, who is not expected to know anything but his area of specialty. πŸ™‚

  26. This is a pretty picky item, maybe, but I just noticed the author info says you’ve written X number of “post” for this blog (instead of “posts.”)

    • It was that way in the old theme, too. πŸ™‚ It bugs me, honestly, too. It came as-is with the author bio plugin I’m using. I’ve contemplated re-writing the plugin code one of these days, and I probably will!