May 29, 2011

Designing althou.se.

Did you know I'm going to bust out of blogspot soon? When the Althouse URL isn't althouse.blogspot.com but althou.se — what do you expect to see? I'm talking design. I've been using this very minimal template — Minima — for so long. Are you picturing something fancier? Something with more columns? A distinctive image in the banner? Would it bug you if things changed or do you want change? Change but not too much? And in which direction?

ADDED:

I'd like to see:
... things not to change at all.
... somewhat fancier.
... things to get really different in exciting new ways.
... even more simplicity.
  
pollcode.com free polls

96 comments:

Happy Warrior said...

Keep it simple. I like it the way it is frankly...

Bob said...

Change? Rightward, of course.

ddh said...

I, too, prefer a simple layout. A blog is not a magazine.

AllenS said...

As long as it loads easy. If it stayed similar to what you have now, that would be ok.

chuckR said...

Simplicity and legibility first, please. Black letters on a white background are always nice.

Palladian said...

cough

AllenS said...

Also, can you put in the strikeout feature along with italics and bold? I could have a lot of fun with that.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

I like it fine just the way it is. Switch to the new place first for continuity and then change there if you feel the need to.

TMink said...

Simple good. It is about the words and pictures and a simple layout lets these shine.

Trey

Steve Pierson said...

It's good as it is. Easy to read.

Ann Althouse said...

"Also, can you put in the strikeout feature along with italics and bold? I could have a lot of fun with that."

Yeah, the new software will provide a much better comments experience. I think there will be buttons for the various html code things.

Jason (the commenter) said...

It should have blinking text, a flash introduction, and automatically play music.

Ricardo said...

I don't do well with change. I like stability. I always hate my first night in a new place, although by the second day I'm often looking at real estate and thinking about living there forever.

So, "less is more", as far as change goes, at least until we get settled in the new home.

dingoatemebaby said...

Don't really care. Just keep blogging.

TML said...

Nothing fancier. Please.

Scrutineer said...

Keep it simple. I like it the way it is frankly...

Same.

TML said...

Jason (the commenter): brilliant. And funny.

Ann Althouse said...

I added a poll.

DA Munroe said...

Like AllenS said, short load times are good. Therefore, nothing too fancy or cluttered.

I suggest experimenting with different templates at a secret location and figuring out what you like before going live.

Leland said...

Agree with the simple. Glenn gets plenty of hits with his simple design. If that's not a template for success (or for that matter your current template), then I'm not sure what is? Even Drudgereport has a simple format.

There's a reason people go to blogs like your's and Glenn's or aggregators like Drudge's than straight to the busy NYTimes.com

Leland said...

However, you could have a place for a Picture of the Day. You can make it clickable to a daily open thread. Maybe make it the banner. That way the rest of the blog is topical. One benefit is if someone makes an RSS feed of your blog, you can have the open thread kept out.

wv: scruin sentence: Don't go scruin with it.

rhhardin said...

Use any radio or tv station web page as a model.

madAsHell said...

I've noticed that the websites that have the least to say are the most difficult to download.....or is it because the advertising downloads before the content, and I change the channel.

dbp said...

Threaded commenting would be great. I presume that is what you refer to as a "better comments experience".

Otherwise, I would say just keep it simple. We come here for the content rather than glitz.

An said...

Functional, full text RSS feed. I only come to the blog when the subject generates comments I might want to read.

ErnieG said...

More columns? Just stay away from the Corinthian. Too fancy.

windbag said...

According to the poll, we're boring Spartans.

HT said...

I voted to keep it simple.

One thing I would like though, is some easy to see and understand way to search both the posts by Ann and the comments by others. I think people have been doing that now, as I read the comments that they have, but I haven't spent enough time on it to figure out how.

There are some sites I could recommend as great, fantastic models to learn from, but I don't wanna give myself away.

I like it now, just would like to be able to search more easily.

Phil 3:14 said...

I assume it will have many more:

"This Ad will end in 15 seconds" screens

Donald Douglas said...

Keep it simple. Some Wordpress blogs are disastrous for negotiating. Do a Minima facsimile over at the new place, but with more dramatic color. Ease of reading and easy access to the comments are the highlights of Althouse, not to mention the photography. Make things visible from the frontpage, and not just a bunch of links where folks have to search around.

Omaha1 said...

The simpler the better. The only thing I would change (and I wouldn't blame you a bit for not doing it) is to host photos somewhere besides Flickr. For some reason our Sonicwall work browser blocker does not allow us to see Flickr pictures :-(

Robert G. said...

Any new design won't matter much to me because I usually view your site through Geocities-izer.

David Smith said...

Keep it simple...that part ain't broke, so it don't need fixin'

Freeman Hunt said...

It should have blinking text, a flash introduction, and automatically play music.

Heh.

The music, of course, should be whatever was at the top of the Billboard chart about eight years ago.

Freeman Hunt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

And people should be able to comment using clever, animated GIFs lifted from online forums.

Also, sparkles.

Fairies and anime characters naturally. In fact, your new avatar should probably be a caricature of you as an anime fairy.

Ann Althouse said...

"Any new design won't matter much to me because I usually view your site through Geocities-izer."

LOL. I'm putting through another -izer.

Earth Girl said...

I'm with dbp, threaded comments would be wonderful. Even with this comment, I need a thread.

Freeman Hunt said...

Having seen Izer's other site, I'm sure the new one will be most excellent.

HT said...

What do people mean by a "thread?" Is that what Blogging Heads has? Because if so, BIG NIX on that one. Not user friendly at all. This is much better.

Freeman Hunt said...

There should be a set of smiley icons from which Althouse can select her "mood" to be displayed alongside her avatar.

Penny said...

So we all know that Althouse is German. I thought we might find some hint as to how her heritage might determine the future design. Googling "Germans are noted for..."

THIS popped up first.

ha ha Goodbye, Blogger!

Freeman Hunt said...

On a serious note: I hate threaded comments.

(But I'll deal with them if that's what there is.)

Ann Althouse said...

I hate threaded comments too. I haven't looked into the details of the comments.

I have never understood how to read threaded comments. Chronological order makes sense to me. The blog is in chronological order.

Anyway, in threaded comments, you can jump up to the top, late in the game, by replying to the first comment, right?

Penny said...

Another funny Google response.

"The Germans were noted for their order, quietness, friendliness, steady work, frugality, and their ability to get along with the Indians."

That's our cowgirl, Althouse!

Penny said...

OK, last one, promise!

"Germans are known for their “Bratwurst”."

She's bringing Meade. Yum!

AllenS said...

Jake Tapper has a nice blog. I like to read what he says. However, if you look at the comments, they are arranged with the newest comment at the top. So, when you're reading the comments, someone will comment on a commenter, and you don't know what they're talking about because you haven't read the comment yet. How lame is that?

John Lynch said...

As long as there's a big flashing siren whenever I comment.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

LESS ADVERTISEMENTS. The pop ups, commercial tracking programs and other 'under the cover' programs slow the page loading are extremely annoying. I am never ever going to click on an advertisement in your blog or any other blog. EVER.

Simple layout with readability, especially since your bog is a photo intensive blog, the less other crappola that the blog needs to load will speed up the process and make it more pleasurable to participate.

Freeman Hunt said...

However, if you look at the comments, they are arranged with the newest comment at the top. So, when you're reading the comments, someone will comment on a commenter, and you don't know what they're talking about because you haven't read the comment yet

I hate that too.

Palladian said...

cough!

Oligonicella said...

madAsHell --

"or is it because the advertising downloads before the content, and I change the channel."

Get AdBlock.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

On a serious note: I hate threaded comments

Actually, I like threaded comments because if you are discussing something in the comment section with a particular person or group of people, you can easily focus on that aspect of the comment thread.

In addition, threaded comments may give us an easier way to ignore the Jeremy and other annoying trolls. If I see a comment thread subsection heavy with those type of comments, it is easier to know where to skip.....or jump in if I feel like I want to join the fray.

The comments are the main drawing feature of this blog. Interesting topics which are then enhanced by the various commeters.

Also comments by oldest first. The other way makes no sense.

Kirk Parker said...

dbp,

No, no, a thousand times no! Threaded comments are a terrible, evil abomination. The comments should be (and currently are) a conversation. Nothing is gained, and much lost, by making them into some kind of hierarchical wiki thing.

And yes, comments in (forward) chronological order should be the default. Did I mention the comments are, first and foremost, a conversation?

Oh, and did I mention that threaded comments are evil?

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"Anyway, in threaded comments, you can jump up to the top, late in the game, by replying to the first comment, right?"

Top has no meaning there.

Kirk Parker said...

DBQ. Nope, threaded comments are a cure worse than the disease for that particular problem.

What you need for twits is a twit filter.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What you need for twits is a twit filter

LOL. True. However, some of the best conversations have centered around the commenters refuting and slapping down the twits. So, I suppose you should just read everyone.

For Althouse, the color of font and background needs to be readable. I have seen some blogs that are very pretty, but the contrast and SIZE of the font makes it very difficult to look at, sometimes even physically painful.

wally said...

Legibility and simplicity are paramount. Although an interesting header would be fun.

C R Krieger said...

Will fashion demand that we all leave "Blogger"?

Regards  —  Cliff

zbogwan99 said...

What ever Ann decides is fine with me.

Big Mike said...

'Tis a gift to be simple.

edutcher said...

Where's the option for, "It's your blog. Be creative"?

Seriously, whatever you decide, test the design on several different machines differently configured; i.e., not only architecture (Linux, Win, Mac), but processor and memory. (obviously you can only do a few, but try a slow one, fast one, etc.)

Some websites go crazy embedding videos and take forever to load, as an example.

WV "haria" How ironrailsironweights likes his women.

AllenS said...

Another feature that would be really cool is the taser. That way we could jolt idiots like Jeremy with about 100,000 volts of electricity when he spouts off.

WV: ingnab

I really like WV.

edutcher said...

You're a hard man, Allen.

Penny said...

Another funny Google response.

"The Germans were noted for their order, quietness, friendliness, steady work, frugality, and their ability to get along with the Indians."


They never heard of Al Sieber.

Dark Eden said...

Since you are a halfway decent artist/doodler, I would personally love to see a banner that was some artwork you did yourself that had some kind of significance to you or would fuck with people's heads as you enjoy doing. Maybe rotate it.

But as far as websites go, simple and elegant almost always trump flashy and stylish.

Jose_K said...

Since your demographics is old than 35 males, it is ok the way it is. without the vegetarian militant and the hate Palin ad out would be perfect

MayBee said...

One feature I generally like is a sidebar displaying where on the blog the latest comments have been posted.

I would also like a feature where, after I've made a comment and Freeman comes along behind me and says it more succinctly, my comment is automatically edited to say what she said.

Ann Althouse said...

"So we all know that Althouse is German."

Where does this knowledge come from? Althouse is a German name (Althaus), but my heritage is Pennsylvania Dutch in America since long before the Revolution. Outside of the Althouse lineage, I have ancestors who were English, Scots Irish, and Moravian. My mother's maiden name was Beatty (which is the MacBeth clan).

"Since you are a halfway decent artist/doodler, I would personally love to see a banner that was some artwork you did yourself that had some kind of significance to you or would fuck with people's heads as you enjoy doing. Maybe rotate it."

The way to rotate stuff like that is to do blog posts. I considered having a drawing or photo of myself, but in the end, I rejected it. I'll have a picture of myself -- in a photo by Meade -- from time to time in regular old post, so you won't forget to associate the Althouse name with an image.

And thanks to all who reinforced my decision to embrace the existing simplicity and go even further in that direction. It will be simpler, and I hope you appreciate the improvements in the elegance and beauty of the simplicity, achieved by putting MInima through the Palladianizer.

The Crack Emcee said...

You've got a winning formula, girlfriend - it's all about you - I wouldn't fuck with it.

I want to mess with mine a bit, separate the various topics (cults, music, politics, etc.) on the home page, but until I get this money-thing out of the way, I just don't have the time yet.

Shit, I haven't even finished my blogroll,...

Almost Ali said...

In the immortal words of the goddess Nike: Just do it, already.

Kirk Parker said...

MayBee,

Not a good idea--without your comments for contrast, how would we recognize how brilliant Freeman is?

Ann Althouse said...

"In the immortal words of the goddess Nike: Just do it, already."

It is being done. It's not like I'm stalling.

caplight said...

Simple design like we have now. It is about readability and content.
Hate thread comments.
Black print on white background. Anything else is too hard to see.
The less clicking the better.

Robin said...

I hate blogs that are visually busy. I also don't like blogs with teeny tiny text. As far as I'm concerned your blog is pretty perfect right now.

Almost Ali said...

That's another thing I like about Althouse; she listens, she engages, she responds.

Fen said...

Yeah, the new software will provide a much better comments experience. I think there will be buttons for the various html code things.

An ignore feature, so our Libtard Trolls will take out their mommy's trash instead of spiking threads here.

Fen said...

Or this:

Another feature that would be really cool is the taser. That way we could jolt idiots like Jeremy with about 100,000 volts of electricity when he spouts off.

Freeman Hunt said...

Thanks, MayBee. I really enjoy your comments too.

Trooper York said...

"In fact, your new avatar should probably be a caricature of you as an anime fairy."

That's why Palladian coughed. He wants the job.

virgil xenophon said...

Ann, a Wordpress blog-site that handles threaded comments well PLUS graphics but otherwise follows the KISS rule is the Milblog "Neptunus Lex" (just voted milblog of the year!) You should check it out..

Jason (the commenter) said...

Trooper York: That's why Palladian coughed. He wants the job.

The jokes on him though, 'cause Althouse has "opinions".

JohnG said...

I read the RSS feed (except when commenting or looking for your Amazon link), so make it pink on purple for all I care(*).

(*) Not actually true. More aesthetically pleasing things in the world is always better than fewer.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, a Wordpress blog-site that handles threaded comments well PLUS graphics but otherwise follows the KISS rule is the Milblog "Neptunus Lex" (just voted milblog of the year!) You should check it out."

That does not look simple to me. That has a very busy look. It's busier than my current blog, and the redesigned blog will look significantly cleaner. I hope it sends a new standard of clean, such that everyone will want to be evanized in the future.

Trooper York said...

ironrailsironwieghts said...
Sometimes cleaner is not better.

You know what I mean.

Peter.

mariner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jp said...

What a bunch of...conservatives.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Althouse: That does not look simple to me. That has a very busy look. It's busier than my current blog, and the redesigned blog will look significantly cleaner.

We've already seen cleaner, it's called tumblr. And most people only see the posts on those blogs in their dashboard (without seeing any of the "cool" design work).

You can't make things clean, and nice looking, and packed with information. You have to make sacrifices. I wonder what Althouse is planning to sacrifice. (But feel free to prove me wrong.)

Browndog said...

I'm kinda suprised she's giving up her brand name.

She worked hard to keep it.

But, Although.Sweden is kinda catchy.

Must be that long lasting infatuation with Andrew Sullivan...

Quirky. It sells....and sooo "Madison"...intellectually, of coarse.

Oh, well.

Penny said...

"Where does this knowledge come from? Althouse is a German name (Althaus), but my heritage is Pennsylvania Dutch in America since long before the Revolution. Outside of the Althouse lineage, I have ancestors who were English, Scots Irish, and Moravian. My mother's maiden name was Beatty (which is the MacBeth clan)."

I was well aware of your Pennsylvania Dutch heritage because you've stated it before. It's also my heritage, this Pennsylvania "Deutsch",German, americanized to Dutch for some reason?

Anyway, I was unaware of your maternal heritage. Perhaps if you called yourself Ann Beatty Althouse Meade it might have made your bona fides as a Heinz 57 more evident.

Penny said...

Just looked at the poll results again, and I see that most of us want the site the same or simpler.

Hope this change works out for you. You said it would have more ads, which hey, I doubt your readers will mind that you make some more money from more ads on your blog. You are surely deserving. Not that you are making this change for more money of course. But more because Blogger lost your files once. In how many years?

All in all, I'd have to say you made me a personal fan of Blogger, and of Althouse on Blogger. But, just like everyone else who hangs out here, I am sure I can adjust to the "edginess" of .se and will even help you put up the cafe curtains to make your new house homier. Whatever the design, I wish you well.

Methadras said...

Hopefully it won't eat up comments when submitted and you hit the back button. It's pretty shitty right now as it is.

Philip said...

I remember back when you made the commitment to write fewer words with more impact.

That was a good commitment.

Keep going.

Kirk Parker said...

Trooper,

LOL @ your pinch-hitting for Peter!

Penny said...

Methadras, the only thing different about Blogger since I first showed up two, three years ago is that Althouse now says, "Blogger is bad."

She was freaked about Blogger losing her cache. It's her "quirk", and, for whatever reason, she seems incapable of being objective about that, yet otherwise? Quite sound.

While I don't share Althouse's particular "quirk", I surely understand. I have my own.

Which is why I'm now interested in, get this, ... QUARKS!

pdn said...

I used to read Michelle Malkin's website daily. Then she changed the format where you have to click on each post rather than just scrolling through. I don't visit her site anymore. Keep the scrolling, make sure you can click for older posts at the bottom, and if possible -- allow comments to pop up in a side window so we don't have to go back to your blog, we can just close the comments window. I come here mostly for your posts, not the comments, but I do like to take a quick look occasionally.

Don't change what works or you will lose traffic.

LawGirl said...

I completely agree with everyone re: simplicity.

The only thing I'd love to see change is the ability to tell when a thread has new comments that have been added since I last clicked into it. I used to participate in a blog that did this and have often wondered why not all blogs do.