De Rerum Natura Changes

| 49 Comments

I’ve made some layout changes to my personal blog. Why am I telling PT readers about it?

Well, depending on how the new layout works on my blog, I’m going to update the layout of PT. So let me know what you think about the new layout on De Rerum Natura.

http://dererumnatura.us/

49 Comments

Yuck. Keep working on it.

The current PT layout is much better. The seperation between different articles, between article and headline, and between content and metadata (like, sidebars) is very clear in the current PT layout and very unclear in the proposed layout.

The main problem with the proposed layout is how it does not immediately jump out at you that the randomly floating colored words are the headlines for the articles immediately underneath.

Sorry, I really hate the new layout on De Rerum Naturum.

For one thing, the color scheme hurts my eyes.

But mostly, the rollovers, meandering headings, vanishing text, etc. drive me crazy.

DRN is one of the blogs I visit daily. Today, I brought it up, looked around for about 15 seconds, then shuddered and shut it down.

Please don’t make similar changes to PT.

Lynn

agreed, where is the separate layer for navigaton and searches?

also, using the latest version of IE (7), the buttons for your menu bar disappear if i put your site fullscreen at 1280x1024.

if i go to a window, they reappear in grey menu bar.

strange.

1) Your background picture is way to dark and busy to make the text legible.

2) Centering everything does not make for easy reading.

3) Your own blog is one thing, but consider hiring a graphic designer before changing PT. Come to think of it, why are you considering changing the PT layout?

4) Thank you, thank you for soliciting feedback before acting.

1) Your background picture is way to dark and busy to make the text legible.

2) Centering everything does not make for easy reading.

3) Your own blog is one thing, but consider hiring a graphic designer before changing PT. Come to think of it, why are you considering changing the PT layout?

4) Thank you, thank you for soliciting feedback before acting.

Because MSIE has lots of bugs PT and DRN uses work arrounds to get MSIE to show pages correctly. I’ve fixed one of those new work arounds on DRN. It now looks better on Internet Explorer.

I haven’t tested it with MSIE 7. It has work arounds for MSIE 6.

Apologies for the duplicate post; apparently, the “you’ve made too many posts too fast so go away for awhile” message (two in one day is too many?) is meaningless…

btw, I think you just need to use a “refresh” tag on PT. I notice that if i manually refresh the page in IE (ctl + F5), all the posts show correctly again.

the refresh tag needs to go into the main index page (for the frames and/or layers).

that might fix it.

… or maybe this meta tag would work even better:

META HTTP-EQUIV=”CACHE-CONTROL” CONTENT=”NO-CACHE”

Whatever it takes to get rid of the growing nailed posts at the beginning, I’m for it! Show me the new stuff!

NNOOOOOO!!! It’s terrible. Its nice having sidebars, rather than just buttons.

I do think PT is in major need of an update, but only if it moves in a more professional direction. Your personal site is fine as a personal site, but not adequate for PT.

Consider how Slashdot did their update, keeping the overall appearance uniform, but making many improvements.

I concur with the earlier poster who suggested you hire a real web designer to create a new version of PT. This site is important and that should be reflected in a top notch design.

Please - don’t do it! Too many colours and rolling pictures. My brain hurts!

The old design is OK, but occasionally I loose text and pix (the are blanked-out) when I move the pointer through a post - but that is altogether a totally different matter.

By the way, thx for the excellent blog. I visit almost daily from my Denmark-based pc.

Jørn

I have to agree. Your suggested change is not great. The present PT layout is great to read and navigate through. The only tiny criticism I have for the current site is the textured purple background, which for some reason I’ve always thought a bit naff. Sorry.

I agree with mist, incremental improvements like color scheme, fonts, etc. would be preferable.

I like it. The only comments I have is I think you should not have the writing stretch all the way across. It becomes impossible to read for people with lots of screen real estate.

As Jon Stewart would say, “Me likey”! The new design is bright, easily readable, with nice graphics and room for pics. I use IE 7.0 as browser, and it works great with your new site. I vote for immediate implementation.

It’s bolder and cleaner, which is good – one of the things I don’t like about the current PT design is the proliferation of lines and boxes everywhere that don’t add anything. However, all the colors are a distraction and make it look too garish: pick a coherent color scheme, something other than an assortment of primary colors, and stick with it.

The line of photos on the left works for a personal blog, but what are you going to put there for a group blog?

What’s going to happen to the sidebar boxes? You don’t have any on De Rerum Natura, so it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the stuff on the right.

The current layout on PT could be described as bland beige with boxes. I agree it could be made much better. I think, though, that a redesign should involve more than just tidying up some of the existing mess – it should add distinctive (but subtle!) character to the site. I just don’t see anything in the redesign that says “evolution” or “biology” or “science” or “authoritarian organ of the scientific establishment imposing its will on the Lumpenproletariat”, so it’s not very compelling.

I should point out that I’m not considering moving the color scheme from DRN to PT, just the layout concepts.

Ugh. Horrible. Anyway, I thought this was the new layout.

Once when I was in grade school, I turned in a report which I had written rotating between several different color pens. I was instructed never to repeat that mistake. Learn from my mistake.

I’m so sorry this is way OT.

But, Ted Haggard, evangelical anti-evolutionist extrodinaire is caught up in a gay hooker, methamphetamine scandal.

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/dr[…]2770,00.html

“Actually, I rather liked it.”

“What?!” Ford gasped. This was an approach that he clearly had not considered.

(Yes, the point I’m making is that the new design is about as good as Vogon poetry.)

PZ Wrote:

It’s bolder and cleaner, which is good — one of the things I don’t like about the current PT design is the proliferation of lines and boxes everywhere that don’t add anything.

That was my goal. To simplify the layout. One of the issues I hope to solve is proper support for different font sizes. Right now PT is pretty much broken if you want to view it in a larger font.

However, all the colors are a distraction and make it look too garish: pick a coherent color scheme, something other than an assortment of primary colors, and stick with it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve decided to stick with red, and will depend on the photo bar to add some color diversity.

The line of photos on the left works for a personal blog, but what are you going to put there for a group blog?

I imagine that we can use sciencey pictures. Stuff that says “evolution” or “biology” or “science” or “authoritarian organ of the scientific establishment imposing its will on the Lumpenproletariat”. Random Prof. Steve Steve and panda pictures can be added.

What’s going to happen to the sidebar boxes? You don’t have any on De Rerum Natura, so it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the stuff on the right.

That stuff will be moved to their own pages or placed in the footer or header. Not having a side bar will give us more flexibility in writting posts.

The current layout on PT could be described as bland beige with boxes. I agree it could be made much better. I think, though, that a redesign should involve more than just tidying up some of the existing mess — it should add distinctive (but subtle!) character to the site. I just don’t see anything in the redesign that says “evolution” or “biology” or “science” or “authoritarian organ of the scientific establishment imposing its will on the Lumpenproletariat”, so it’s not very compelling.

See above.

I will have to go with the group consensus - I prefer the old PT layout.

And another thing, Reed, when is the viewing of ‘Dodos’ going to be (I moved to North Carolina three days ago)?

reed-

regarding the PT caching issues, did you try using the meta tag i suggested:

META HTTP-EQUIV=”CACHE-CONTROL” CONTENT=”NO-CACHE”

of course, put the brackets on it, but it should work if it is used for whatever originally generates the frames and layers.

it’s standard issue on all the “Scieneblogs” sites.

For one thing, the color scheme hurts my eyes.

I’m partial to simple black and white boxy unfancy kind of stuff, like when you’re reading a book or a newspaper or something. My favorite used to be Brian Leiter’s old blog layout, but now they’ve even got that one all screwed up nowadays. Oh, the whole internet is going all to hell.

Nic,

The time and place of the Flock Party hasn’t been decided yet because I have not idea when the NCSU library is going to receive its copy. They are going to order it and hold it for me, but I have no idea when I will get my hands on it.

I’ll may organize several Flock Parties. One advertized by bloggers and another one advertized on campus.

Sir_Toejam,

I looked at that solution. I decided against it because we want browsers to cache our content due to bandwidth and server-load issues. See my updated server issues post.

reed-

think about that for a second-

all the code is doing is forcing the browser to go to the original source for the information, rather than relying on the user’s cache.

IOW, it ends up being functionally equivalent to pressing ctl+F5 whenever the user goes to a page.

which is exactly what you recommended in the server issues thread.

it doesn’t provide any more of a perfomance hit than what you recommended.

Sir_Toejam,

It does cause a hit for several reasons.

1. It affects browsers not currently having cache problems.

2. It may cause some browsers to reload pages even if they are pressing back/forward buttons.

3. I’ve turned off compression, which in my tests last night caused the problem to go away after a single cache clear or Ctlr-F5.

There is an odd PT-MSIE interaction going on. I have compression enabled on DRN without this issue occuring.

hmm, well no point belaboring the issue.

If you guys decide you need a new host, let me know, I might be able to help you out and get you some decent bandwidth.

cheers

Have you tried the “BrowserMatch” directive thingy?

http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/mo[…]deflate.html

These might be out of date, I don’t know:

http://marc2.theaimsgroup.com/?l=ap[…]9354&w=2

The thread called “mod_deflate Vary header”:

http://mail-archives.apache.org/mod[…].mbox/thread

Cheers!

We don’t use Apache anymore. We’re running Lighttpd because it is faster, has better fastcgi support, and uses less memory.

Call me hidebound, but I think the current format of PT is just fine.

PT’s layout ain’t broke. Don’t fix it.

The server is crap, though.

:)

My two cents:

Panda’s Thumb looks a bit hokey right now, but it is quite functional.

Consider moving it to ScienceBlogs.

Pandagon has a nice clean look. Consider using something like that.

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/ is a nice model for a three column look.

PLEASE put the comment entry box at the bottom of the post like every other blog on the planet.

386sx,

I’m partial to simple black and white boxy unfancy kind of stuff, like when you’re reading a book or a newspaper or something. My favorite used to be Brian Leiter’s old blog layout, but now they’ve even got that one all screwed up nowadays. Oh, the whole internet is going all to hell.

Yes! Couldn’t agree more.

All the formatting and graphic design around a blog ought to be used to let the content shine through which speaks to keeping it really simple and mostly black and white.

Posted by AndyS on November 3, 2006 2:36 PM (e) | kill

My two cents:

Panda’s Thumb looks a bit hokey right now, but it is quite functional.

Consider moving it to ScienceBlogs.

Pandagon has a nice clean look. Consider using something like that.

http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/ is a nice model for a three column look.

PLEASE put the comment entry box at the bottom of the post like every other blog on the planet.

386sx,

I’m partial to simple black and white boxy unfancy kind of stuff, like when you’re reading a book or a newspaper or something. My favorite used to be Brian Leiter’s old blog layout, but now they’ve even got that one all screwed up nowadays. Oh, the whole internet is going all to hell.

Yes! Couldn’t agree more.

All the formatting and graphic design around a blog ought to be used to let the content shine through which speaks to keeping it really simple and mostly black and white.

They used to have the comment entry box at the bottom. It took less than a second to go to. But too many people were commenting and overloading the server. So now they make you search for it.

Scienceblogs has a pretty junky layout, in my opinion. The elements are not very harmonious.

And I for one am glad that the background is easy on the eyes, and not bright white.

We move the comment box because we wanted to encourage people to comment on the entry an not on other comments.

Many months ago I put together some “quote comment” technology for my blog. It used Ajax and worked very well. I’m going to make some changes and put incorporate it into my new layout.

I’ve never seen a better quote system than the one at Slashdot.

Lenny Flank speaks my mind (which is a good thing, because I would NEVER write such a nasty word, only think it…) ;-)

What is really needed is a better way to track whether new comments have been made on a thread since your last visit. The “recent comments” box is woefully insufficient for this purpose. I would recommend having a “last comment” time listed for each article that allows comments. That way you can quickly scan through the recent headlines and see what’s been added to.

Michael,

That technology is already in use on PT and was/will be in use on DRN. It’s a javascript that I wrote over a year ago to save a cookie of the last comment you saw and jump you back to it when you access the page again. It needs to be rewritten to use cookies better, but it does work. To trigger the jump, you have to open a page looking for the #new-comments identifier.

What is really needed is a better way to track whether new comments have been made on a thread since your last visit. The “recent comments” box is woefully insufficient for this purpose. I would recommend having a “last comment” time listed for each article that allows comments. That way you can quickly scan through the recent headlines and see what’s been added to.

YES! Even better, also have a list of threads in descending order by date/time of last comment. Put the first 30 or so of those on the main page, with button to view next 30, up to as many pages as needed.

Henry

Another thought though - what was just described is something that AtBC already does. Does the blog s/w do anything that can’t be done just as easily on the AE AtBC forum?

Henry

Reed A. Cartwright Wrote:

That technology is already in use on PT and was/will be in use on DRN. It’s a javascript that I wrote over a year ago to save a cookie of the last comment you saw and jump you back to it when you access the page again. It needs to be rewritten to use cookies better, but it does work. To trigger the jump, you have to open a page looking for the #new-comments identifier.

Well, I check PT from three different computers during the day, so it’s not exactly the most useful system for me. It also doesn’t work at all at work.

Testing Background Tasks

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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on November 1, 2006 5:05 PM.

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