Change is a' Coming

Monday, March 9, 2009
As you can tell, I'm dinking around with the look and feel of Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men.

After looking around and trying out some custom templates, I'm coming away with a profound sense of "meh." So for the time being, I'll be sticking with a standard Blogger template.

I've removed a lot of the junk on the side bar (although Boogie and Demento Dog have been added back in by popular demand).

Please let me know your thoughts and suggestions, bearing in mind that a Blogger template is not nearly as flexible as a Word Press template.

Of course, preference for changes will be given to my regular visitors such as family, friends, and UCF members, but I'm open to suggestion from anyone who has constructive comments.

Thanks for your thoughts, Hot Chicks and Smart Men.

37 comments:

Megan said...

Hmmm. I like that it's a bit cleaner. But personally, I don't much care for this layout. I think you could probably find something that would be a better reflection of your personality.

That's just me, though. As long as I can find my way around, I won't complain.

Janiece Murphy said...

Thanks for your feedback, Megan.

I think my issue with the templates I'm finding is that I can't find one that EXACTLY MATCHES my personality, and so I'm being indecisive. It's sort of like choosing a tattoo, actually.

What I need is a custom template designed by someone who knows me well and has the skills to execute such a project (*cough*Michelle*cough).

Nathan said...

I miss the leather and chains. And the metal-studded collars. and the cat-o-nine-tails.

Huh? That was somewhere else?

Never mind.

Janiece Murphy said...

Nathan, thanks for hanging around.

You rock.

Megan said...

Try googling "Blogger templates". There are lots of templates out there, and you can probably find something you like.

Janiece Murphy said...

Megan, I spent the morning pursuing my Google results for custom templates, and just didn't see anything I couldn't live without.

I'll look again this weekend, when I have more time.

MWT said...

In terms of navigation, I like the templates where there is a link to the individual post at both the top and the bottom. In the previous one, the title was the top, and post time was the bottom. Now there's only one at the top, which means I have to scroll back up when I'm done reading to get to the comments (I prefer to read comments on the individual post page rather than the reply box page). On longer posts, it's a lot of scrolling, and I'm lazy.

Janiece Murphy said...

MWT, the "top" button doesn't fix that for you? (I realize that's an extra click).

Random Michelle K said...

You mean by someone who doesn't work with Blogger?

o.O

Janiece Murphy said...

Michelle, please don't disabuse my notion that there's NOTHING YOU CAN'T DO.

Love Bites said...

Try here:

http://blogandweb.com/templates-blogger/

Tons of sciency/techy things.

Some cool free headers:

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/03/05/blog-headers-for-free-download/

Blogskins is also pretty good.

http://www.blogskins.com/

Jeri said...

Janiece - I don't have the coding skills to build a fresh template, but I can adapt an existing template and/or design a blogger site. I have a protracted audioconference this afternoon, I'll see what I can come up with on my test site.

Janiece Murphy said...

Thanks for the links, Love Bites.

Jeri, the only thing I'm pretty picky about is that I want a "stretch" template - I don't like the ones that use only the middle space of the page.

I'm now giggling like a school girl, anticipating what you'll come up with. Maybe you should use Demento Dog in my header! I have his owner's permission to make him an INTERNET STAR, and I think it's appropriate under the circumstances.

Thoughts?

Jeri said...

Sounds like a great idea - I was thinking doggies too. And giving you some interchangeable ones.

Color preferences? I tend to prefer white background to dark - but using some color can add graphic emphasis.

Otherwise - do you want red & gold? Or other colors?

Janiece Murphy said...

Jeri, you are my new girl crush (sorry, Tania).

I like a light colored background, too, as it's easier on my eyes. While I care about the folks who come here to read what I write, I think I probably spend more time looking at this place than they do, so we'll go with what makes me happy.

I really like red, and I really, really like that burnt orange color you used to get in the 64 box of crayons (my Jeep is that color, as you know).

My trouble here is that my interests are so diverse, I'm having trouble deciding which design describes me best.

I will trust your judgment, mon cherie!

neurondoc said...

Can I vote for dark print on a light background? The inverse gives me headaches, esp the black background/white print ones (ahem, Eric)... :-) Then again, I don't have a blog for you to comment on, now do I?

neurondoc said...

Cross post there (white background), I guess. How about some color in the header (or whatever the bar at the top is called)? Count me in for a spotlight on Demento Dog, too.

I like the unclutteriness (word?) of this layout, but it is much less interesting than the content. Does that make sense?

MWT said...

I prefer the ones where the content stretch out to the sides too, and the only reason my blog isn't like that is because I'm too lazy to figure out how to get it that way. I've been dissatisfied with my template for a while now, actually.

MWT said...

Also, the Top button appears to be nonfunctional.

Janiece Murphy said...

Natalie, the content is harder to fix than the template (especially now that I have the Incomparable Jeri™ on the job.

And any content work will be done only after I have an opportunity to review my writing for the elements that I believe need to be addressed. Since I write for my own amusement and enjoyment, I believe my own opinion (and that of those you actually know me) is more important.

Does that make sense?

Random Michelle K said...

Oh I *can* do it. But I'm not sure I'm up to cursing at blogger than much this week.

As far as stretching across the window versus set width, two things.

First, you'll want to find your container tags in your style sheet (they'll be named things like #top or #content) and change the width from ems or px to percentage.

HOWEVER

Now that I've said that, I highly recommend adding the max-width attribute beneath. What this does is allows the text to strecth--but only so far.

The reason for this is because if a column or section gets too wide, it becomes difficult to read. So what you want is a happy medium where you say, "OK section, I want you to take up 75% of the width of the screen, but your max width should only be 800 px (or 64 ems or whatever)

I've got that going on my blog. If you're on a wide screen monitor and maximize the browser, the main content window will only stretch so far. (I know, I know, if you make it really really narrow, the sidebar runs into the content. I'm working on that with the new layout.)

Now, would you like me to discuss the different between using pixels and ems in web design, and which measurement is appropriate when?

:)

Random Michelle K said...

And Natalie,

White text on a black background is actually easier to read, assuming that the designer used decent fonts and font sizes. Have you tried enlarging the text on this sites?

Random Michelle K said...

(sigh)

on *those* sites.

Janiece Murphy said...

Michelle, only if Jeri needs your advice - because coding is really not my bag.

I'm a hardware kind of gal (hehe, I'm a hardware gal - get it?)

Random Michelle K said...

Hey, it's always good to add new tricks to your bag!

Steve Buchheit said...

I keep looking at the blogger templates and also thinking, "meh." I guess I should roll my one of these days. And I also vote for the bark type on light background. I used to like the reverse when I used CRTs, but with the new LCD monitors (especially the LED lit ones) the white on black is nearly painful. For those that have them (::waves at Random Michelle::) I tend to "select all" of the text, which then changes it to light blue text on medium blue background (for my machine preferences).

Random Michelle K said...

Steve, perhaps it's because my eyes are sensitive to light, but I highly prefer reading light text on a dark background.

The other way around is just too stinking bright.

Steve Buchheit said...

bark type? Oh man. Mes tipes bitter sumdayz. Argh!

That would be dark type on light background. Although, you know, my freelance is "Laughing Coyote" so I guess I do bark type myself.

Random Michelle K said...

ARF!

neurondoc said...

For some reason the light text on a dark background gives me eyeball-aches when I leave the site to go somewhere else...

As for the content, Janice (speaking as a member of your regular audience, who is not a hillbilly, never was in the military, hopefully hasn't been a 'tard, and doesn't really get why people like Paris Hilton)-- I meant that I like the content just fine. I don't see a need to change things.

Janiece Murphy said...

Natalie, I do care what you think - I wasn't trying to imply otherwise.

I was just reiterating that while I think the whole "review" process was somewhat valuable, the opinion of some stranger who writes for a blog whose purpose is to flame other blogs is not going to make me change my content. Especially since she obviously didn't read too many of the entries before reaching her conclusions.

It did give me something new to think about, though, which is not a bad thing, by any means - I just have to be the final arbiter of the content here. Just as she has to be the final arbiter of what she writes.

neurondoc said...

Janiece, I hear you. I wasn't sure from your earlier reply (comment #20 or so), if you thought that I was saying you should change your content. I think you should write about whatever the heck makes you happy to write about. I find most of what you do write about to be interesting, so *I* see no reason to change the content. :-) And although I am currently residing with two cats, I adore dog stories and dog pictures, so I vote for MORE Boogie and Demento Dog.

Last comment on the layout -- I find the largeness of the font size of the comments to be disconcerting.

John the Scientist said...

I like this template (the one with Jake) more than the others. First time I could say that in all the changes you've made.

And, speaking as a Scotts-Irish Southerner myself, I never took offense at the hillbilly stuff. If you're from that area and you've got a thin skin about jokes, especially inbreeding ones, you need to get off the Nets and out of public discourse. Success is the best revenge, and I enjoy watching the Yankee liberal reaction when they find out this redneck has a Ph.D. ;-)

Cindi in CO said...

No feline nephews?

Tommy and Freddy will be devastated, I'm sure. This is obviously another manisfestation of your disregard for my feelings.

::sulks::

Janiece Murphy said...

I have resolved the egregious insult.

Cindi in CO said...

Hee!

Carol Elaine said...

Loving the new template, Janiece - it's the best one since you started making changes. Personally I prefer the light text on dark background for the same reason as Michelle - my eyes are very light sensitive and too much light colors are too bright for my eyes. But there is actually enough dark blocks break it up a bit.

And I love little Jake at the top!