Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A summer redesign

Tuesday, 14 August 2012
Dan's Media Digest underwent a revamp last Sunday evening, as you've hopefully noticed. (Unless you don't visit my blog directly and instead leech its RSS feed.) The changes don't feel too substantial in some ways, but it's still a brand new template combining aspects of the old with something new. The impetus behind this summer change was threefold:

  1. I wanted THREE columns, to enable more sidebar content and increase advertising space. It also necessitates the return of the 'Archive' widget (where you can browse previous posts at a glance, without flicking through multiple pages), and it will also mean the Disqus comments pane can be increased in length.
  2. I wanted easily adjustable columns, so now their dimensions can be changed in Blogger without requiring HTML coding. For me, this is a godsend if I ever want to amend things in the future.
  3. I missed the ability to embed videos that can be played directly from the main page, without needing to click through. The old template could never "preview" a video on the front page, which is why I always had to include an image for the template to use as a preview. This will encourage more posts, where I ultimately just want to embed a video and offer a brief comment or two.
Industrious HTML maven Alan Woodward spent a LOT of time combining two templates together (the previous template and a Blogger-made three-column), fusing them into a unique crossbreed. Not for the first time, I can't sing his praises enough here. He's done a fantastic job and indulged my every brainwave and random suggestion. We took the opportunity to improve DMD in some aesthetic ways, beyond the three-column objective. The social buttons now come courtesy of ShareThis and appear to be counting clicks better, too. I've been surprised by how much content gets shared in ways other than Facebook and Twitter, actually!

This isn't a radical overhaul, in my eyes, and hopefully retains DMD's classic feel with the vestigial blue-white theme (albeit with some funky colour strips). More importantly, it shouldn't dramatically alter how you navigate or read content. It's basically a mixture of the best elements from ALL the templates DMD's had over its six years.

Let me know what you think about the redesign below. If there are any issues or problems you have, I'm sure Alan and I (but mostly Alan) can fix them if they're reasonable complaints. I've been worried the blog is now too wide for some people, so let me know if you agree. (It helps if you tell us your operating system, web browser and screen resolution settings.)

And if you have any ideas to further enhance DMD, I'd also love to hear about it.