SouthernGospelBlog.com unveils new design

For several reasons, I’ve recently been contemplating switching to a new graphic design for this website. I wanted to move to a three-column format, wanted a way to highlight the featured article, and, most importantly, wanted it to be immediately obvious which contributor had written each post. So I spent the weekend re-writing this WordPress theme and thought I would give it a try. A few specific comments:

  • No, I’m not going anonymous; I simply moved my picture to the “about” page.
  • You can find a link to the featured article in the upper right-hand corner.
  • This site appears to display properly in current versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. If you use another browser and notice that it does not display properly, let me know.
  • This theme was originally written in Dutch. I don’t know Dutch and translated each line of code word by word. If you notice a line that doesn’t make sense, or a Dutch line I missed, let me know and I’ll fix it.

Before rendering a final verdict on whether this design is a keeper, I’ll wait to see your comments, both as to whether you like it and as to compatibility.


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43 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. Daniel, I like the new design.

    The best part is that I can click on the comments at the bottom of each post to read them. On the other design, I would read your post, see that it had comments, and have to scroll back up to get to the comments.

    Good job!

  2. Daniel,

    One thing that you may want to look into is that when you post more than once on the same day, the “# Comments” at the end of the post runs into the title of the post below it. This is especially noticeable when the previous post has a long title.

  3. I like it. The only thing I would add/change…I would add a horizontal line between comments.

  4. Daniel, I’m using Firefox 2.0.0.11.

  5. Nice, very nice.

  6. Though I forgot to mention it in my post, that was probably the most annoying little flaw in the last design. That was one of the many things I was looking for in this one.

  7. While it is close, it doesn’t run into it on my browser. Which browser are you using?

  8. That is a good idea. I’ll see if I can either implement that or make comment differentiation more obvious in some other way.

  9. Odd. That’s what I’m using, too. All right, I’ll work on it some this afternoon and see if I can increase the space.

  10. I like it, Daniel! Very nice.

  11. Very nice look. Glad to see you made the change.

  12. Ok… I like the format. Three colums is a good idea.
    As for the color scheme… not so much. I like the softer welcoming colors the last design had. These are too bold. The black background with the reverse type can wear out your eyes easily. This current scheme is bold, and gives a “in your face” look. I think the old color scheme reflects your posts better.
    This is all my opinion! Perhaps it will take me a while to warm up to this new look!

  13. Good choice!

  14. Great design. I personally think that this is eaiser on the eyes compared to the previous white background.

  15. I have to agree with Matt on color, but maybe I’m just change-resistant. πŸ™‚

    I haven’t browsed around enough yet today to know, so I assume the lines-running-into-one-another problem it had the other day is gone. If so, I like it … and I like knowing who writes what, too.

  16. Daniel, I have to agree with Matt. It doesn’t suit you, too somber and dark. You are much more vibrant. But I do like the 3 column look. But I’m for whatever you like!

  17. I like it, but I do think the “comments” is too close to the next title.

  18. I like this better than the last one.

    I agree with a couple of the finer points people have made. Black type on a white background is easier to read…at least, it is for me.

    I’d also suggest making it fill the whole width of the screen with the columns adjusting automatically to the resolution, rather than being a pre-set width…just a personal preference. Three columns makes it “broad” to the eye, so take advantage of the whole screen. You have some wide screen viewers out here, and you have some using a 4:3 ratio.

  19. Somewhere in one of your primary files, there’s a width specified most likely in a set number of pixels. Judging from the size of it, I’d guess it’s 1024, because my screen width is 1280 and it’s taking up about 80 percent of it.

    If you search within the file for “1024” or “1024px” or something to that effect and it looks to be a setting that controls the screen width, change that to 100% to get the full spread instead.

    It may or may not work in your case, depending on how your borders line up.

  20. I have to say…I like this the way it is…I do not like it when the text fills the whole screen. Fixed layout is the way to go!

  21. Thanks, everyone!

    Sannie, I certainly have my vibrant moments, but I also have my studious, thoughtful moments, too. Most of the time I spent writing the book on the faith of our Presidents, for example, was slow, tedious work.

    It helps with this blog that I typically write my posts in the mornings, and I tend to be more chipper then. πŸ™‚

  22. DBM,

    If this was tables, it would be easy. I admit I don’t know enough CSS to pull it off.

  23. Daniel,
    Very nice in IE, but not in Firefox. Not sure why.

  24. What appears differently between the two for you?

  25. DBM, I went through the code again. I had gone through it once when translating the theme from Dutch into English, but I wanted to be sure before speaking definitively. Everything–every column, the little yellow lines, the borders on the side, the headers, the footers, and all the components thereof–is defined in pixels in the CSS. I would have to re-write it completely; I’ll think about that, but I’m not completely sure I could pull it off and make it look consistently good at every size.

  26. I like the three-column layout and easy access to comments. What I don’t like is the white text on black background in the main (center) column. Very tiring on my eyes.

  27. I hardly have time to make my posts. It’s amazing that you can keep making these changes. Just amazing, probably, to cyber challenged folks like me. Hey! If you like it, it works for me.

    PJ / The Prophets

  28. Daniel, I know you spend an awful lot of time soliciting our reactions to whatever you do here, be it the design, the layout, the content, or even the title and subtitle of this blog.

    And you also know I’ve constasntly told you that you don’t need my approval or permission for anything you do here. It is YOUR blog, after all…and you do a fine job in all the categories I mentioned.

    Still, though, I suppose I should express my appreciation for the fact that you make this blog so interactive…this too, makes it uniquely YOUR blog…for it expresses who you are.

    I’ll only say as a suggestion that you consider going back to a black-on-white background for your postings…it makes it easier for aging guys like me to read what everyone says!

    Otherwise, I’m just glad you do this the way you do it, Daniel, so keep up the good work!

  29. Don’t mind the new layout – just that on my computer the text goes past the black middle column and makes for rather annoying reading.

  30. John, I will see if I can think of a way to change the text color while retaining this design. I am open to suggestions (from you or anyone) on specific colors to try.

    The main reason I make posts seeking input, by the way, is to catch browser conflicts I may not have seen. For example, there was a theme I really liked a while ago, but my readers pointed out that it was incompatible with Internet Explorer. If there’s a biggie like that, I drop the theme. If there are minor things, I’ll do what I can to tweak things.

  31. Daniel,

    I like the new format. Although, when I 1st logged onto it, I thought I’d misspelled something and almost left the site, until I saw UR name under a title. Oh, well, that’s the blonde in me. LOL πŸ™‚

  32. Well, looking at it in both IE and Firefox, IE definitely looks better. The text goes over the yellow lines for the columns in Firefox, which I guess I can deal with, since Firefox is my preferred browser. No sense in going back and forth for one web page haha.

  33. Daniel,
    The only significant difference I’m seeing in IE vs. Firefox is the little white line around the Feature Article. It looks totally different. I’m suspecting it looks as it’s intended in IE, because the IE version is more attractive…but it doesn’t look bad in Firefox.

    Regarding filling the entire screen, you’ve already translated it from DUTCH…can’t be bothered to convert a few px specs to %!! :o)

    Seriously, though, I agree with what you said earlier. It isn’t worth changing if it’s going to be a huge hassle adapting the code.

    If you flip the center background to white and make the text there black, I think you’ll have a winner.

    To those who are seeing the center column text overlap into the grey areas, this is most likely happening because you have your monitor resolution set to 600X480 or 800X600. Try a larger setting, and it should go away. You probably have trouble on other sites as well, because many web pages are designed with at least a 1024 width in mind these days. Your resolution setting can be adjusted in Windows by going to the Control Panel and clicking on Display, then the Settings tab.

    Hope that helps.

  34. To all: Is the color scheme better now?

  35. To DBM specifically: I found out that the background for this theme is image-based, not solid background-based. So while I could size the site down, it’s not flexible one way or the other.

  36. Daniel, That makes sense with regard to why lower screen resolutions make the text overlap into other areas.

    On the background/text colors, that’s MUCH easier to read now. Good job.

  37. Daniel… thanks! This is much easier on my eyes now. Working with graphics all day, and trying to read your posts was wearing on my eyes! Looks good now.

  38. Thanks! Colors display differently on different systems, so while it was easy to read on my system, I appreciate knowing about the display problems on other types of computer screens.

  39. I like the new change – with the format just before this one, I couldn’t read the recent comments or leave comments. (I never could figure out if it was the security settings on my computer.) With this new format, I can again read/leave comments.

  40. Is the link to the comments feed “broke”? When I click on “feeds” and then “comments,” in order to see more recent comments, it takes me to the feed for the regular blog posts. I’ve had to type in the comments address manually for the last few days.

  41. Thank you! I wasn’t sure if I’d explained clearly or not. πŸ™‚

  42. Thanks for the comment–that link has now been fixed.

  43. Well, I knew what you meant. Since it was my job to fix the problem, I was really the only person who had to know what you meant. πŸ™‚

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