New Look Update

I think I have it pretty much where I want it at the moment, though I might do a little bit of further tweaking around the edges.

For those who are curious, the design is WordPress’ “Twenty Thirteen” theme, lightly tweaked via basic personalization (colors, images) and with a little CSS work to shrink the headlines down from their previously somewhat obnoxious size and to bump up the size of the main body text. Also, if your computer has the font Cambria in it anywhere, you’ll see the body text in it; otherwise it should be some sort of san serif.

Generally speaking, I like the new look. It feels a little more open and airy to me than the previous iteration of the site, and I suspect the bumped up typeface of the body text means it’s easier to read on retina-level tablets and laptops (also, for those machines, the sidebar automatically slides down underneath when your tablet is in portrait mode/your browser window is sized smallishly). In all, it brings the site up to, well, 2013, without making it overly complicated.  It’s mostly the same, in fact; just a little bit prettier.

60 Comments on “New Look Update”

  1. Hm. The green comment bar seems to overlap with the Administrivia and Big Idea sidebar items in a way that doesn’t look like it’s intentional. Otherwise, it looks cool.

  2. Site looks nice! Still has that clean look…but the new touches are welcome! I especially like the banner at the top. (nice yard, dude!)

  3. Yay for bigger fonts! I have started using slightly larger fonts on my projects than in past years. “Readable without squinting” is a design aesthetic that I embrace wholeheartedly.

  4. I opened it in three different browsers on my Nexus 7. Type is very readable. But, can’t get the side bar in landscape, even after requesting full site. Menu appears in Chrome and the AOSP browser, but not in Dolphin. I like the site very much – easy to navigate through and it opens quickly. Nice job.

  5. It definitely feels more open, and I like the green scheme. The header photo is a beauty, but man does your neighbor really have a bumper crop of dandelion going there!

  6. Looks very nice. I kind of expected to see your daughter and dog romping across the vista. But it is a really great presentation of your section of Ohio.

  7. On an iBook G4 14-inch Mac laptop, all the “sidebar” boxes remain at the bottom. While I love the new look and larger type, having to scroll through a massive number of entries is not optimal. But it does look pretty!

  8. My experience is similar to Mr. Caplan’s. looks fine in Firefox on my Mac, but in Safari on the iPad all the side bar content is at the bottom after center column with the actual posts

  9. Well, since I’ve had cataract surgery, the larger font doesn’t do too much for me. But whatever floats your boat…

  10. Are you sure that the comment bar overlapping the sideboxes is intentional? On longer comment threads, the green bar behind “Leave Comment” runs into the green at the bottom of the page, and it looks really nice. Here, when the comment thread is too short, it’s white-green-white, and looks a bit awkward. Instead of a green bottom of the page, it’s just a bar.

    Not as if you have many short comment threads here, but when a post is first made, it looks odd.

  11. I like the look. Though the subtitle (they were a lifetime together) is overlapping just a tiny bit with the road in the picture, and the white on light grey makes it a bit harder to read. Not impossible, just a extra second of effort.

  12. Love what you’ve done with your blog, Scalzi. I’ve always had vision problems, which have only worsened with age, so the updates make it much easier for me to read. Thanks! :-)

  13. On the retina macbook 15”, in the regular multiple window interface, and on Safari the sidebar is also at the bottom. So from the homepage its a long scroll to get to any of it.

  14. Looks great – FireFox on an oldish Lenovo ThinkPad. Superior to the Pre-Cambrian site, enough so that I might even call it Ordovician. But that is not an actual thing, so I won’t.

  15. Snazzy.

    The larger font will take some getting used to, but if it makes the site more readable for others I count that as a good.

  16. Warning. Warning. Incoming dissenting opinion.

    Your website is shouting at me.

    The banner takes up a third of the page which overpowers everything else.

    Pick a font – any font, and then stick with it. From the top I count seven changes in seven lines. Stop that.

    More white space at the sides, or a coloured background (like the comments entry area) to tone down the HUGE print you’re using. And for the record, I’m a geezer not a whippersnapper with 20/20 eyesight.

    I love your writing. I own a nice collection of Scalzi books. I’ve read and admired Whatever for years. But do get some help with this web design thing. And don’t go re-wiring your house, either.

  17. When I saw the “They were a lifetime together” under the banner I thought I had entered an obituary site by accident. That is kinda depressing, as in they had a good life, but now they are dead …. Probably just me though.

  18. The New Look has some fine aspects — remarkably legible type, especially — but in my browser (a somewhat antique version of Safari for Macintosh) the right-hand Column overlaps about a quarter of the text, and I seem to be getting too old to cope with /s/h/i/t/ stuff like that. (Mind you, you’re not under any obligation to accommodate your site to outdated software.)

  19. It has very much the new cleaner, flatter feel that Google (and now Apple) is embracing. Other than the capital T in the subheader line blending unfortunately with the picture, looks good.

  20. In the comments, there is a large amount of white space on the left, and the early comments disappear under the sidebars on the right. So the page is unbalanced, and those comments cant’ be read in their entirety.
    I like the type, though, and the layout is otherwise good.
    I do miss having the number of comments/clicklink at the top of the post but will obviously adjust to that :).
    And I do still miss the days of numbered comments (sigh).

  21. I like most of it but like Marina I feel like the titles are shouting at me. The main font is fine but I think the titles could shrink a bit. (This is in an older version of Firefox on a laptop.)

  22. Two things which occur to me.

    1) To quote someone or the other (whose name escapes me at the moment) “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself).

    2) I like the new look.

  23. It’s your house. Put the furniture where you want it.

    Greatly appreciate the different text, displays much better for me.

    The openness is nice and roomy.

    Absolutely love that the ‘view comments’ button is at the bottom of a post where it should be. Really annoying to have to scroll back to the top of a post to click that.

    The question I have for you is from an archival stand point. Part of the experience of any post is how is displayed. Apparently when you change things up it retroactively applies the changes to all the older posts. Do you have a way of capturing which post were made using a specific layout/site design. You know, so you can go back and look at the Whatever’s bellbottom photos and say “oh my, really, I was doing that?”.

  24. As an old guy I never thought I would say this: The fonts too big!

    I do like the look though, very clean & bright

  25. damn an author who has some technical skills. As a career IT person, I a got a mild shiver of pride when I read this post.

    If john starts blogging about pointers and how kids today don’t know how they work due to the dumbing down of college computer science programs, I will swell with pride.

  26. Am I having hallucinations again, or was there a search function that has now disappeared?

  27. Should have said, I’m using Google Chrome.
    I have also noticed that the ‘read comments’ line seems now to be a bit big, and floating free off to the left.

  28. The comments are messed up for me. On the places where there is a sidebar, the last ten or so characters of the comment go under the side bar. Even when I stretch my browser out to full screen, the page pads more whitespace between the commentors name/icon/posting time and the actual comment so that the comment is still overlapped by the sidebar.

    This happens when using Explorer 8. I know that’s an old browser, but unfortunately, its the one I’m stuck using on this machine as I’m not allowed to update it or install something like firefox or chrome.

  29. I like the look, but I really can’t overstate the loathing I feel for the stupid ‘endless scroll’ thing. At least it doesn’t automatically add more stuff at the bottom as you scroll down like it does on some website, but the lack of actual pages makes it much harder to read through things, especially if you want to go back more than one or two pages.

  30. Just adding data: the search function is half-hidden on my desktop because the window goes big enough to have to scroll sideways. Not sure if that’s my end or yours (I’m on a Windows XP machine with IE 8).


    “You can’t please everyone, so you’ve got to please yourself” is from Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party,” about the time he was booed at Madison Square Garden for singing his current stuff instead of his classic stuff. It has become my latest earworm, but it’s a pleasant enough earworm.

  31. I’m not sure what antiquated version of IE my workplace has forced me to use, but I also had the comments being covered up by the sidebar! An experiment with the zoom level fixed it for me – I rezoom your site to 125% and everything works out fine…


  32. I like the clean look of the new design. However, long comment threads are going to require a massive amount of scrolling (Firefox on Mac) There is more than a centimeter of white space between the end of a comment and the separator line to the next comment, followed by another .5 centimeter to the top of the date followed by about .75 centimeters to the start of the next comment text. So, almost an inch of mostly white space between comments. My tendonitis is getting inflamed just thinking about scrolling through and reading a multi hundred message comment thread. This is after, having reduced the font size done a couple of ticks. In Safari (also Mac) before changing the default font size, the gap between the end of one comment and the start text of the next is almost an inch and a half.

  33. “Shrink the headlines down”? On my browser they look bigger. And what it does to narrow the columns on the comments has to be seen to be believed.

    Another example of what appears to be a universal rule in computers: updates are always worse than what they replace.

  34. On my 13″ MacBook Pro with Firefox, the sidebar was appearing on the bottom until I hit Command-minus to shrink the fonts a bit. That made the sidebar appear on the side as it did before, and the text was still big enough to read easily. (It seems to be larger by default than it was in the old style.)

    So if anyone’s still having trouble with the layout, try hitting Command-minus or Ctrl-minus a time or two, and see if that helps.

    Regarding the “endless scroll”, I like having all the comments load up on a single page instead of having to page my way through them; so I hope that doesn’t change.

  35. I love the photo behind your title theme… reminds me of growing up in the country.

  36. It looks so much better to me. My aging eyeballs love bigger fonts. I’m using a Chromebook (cheap, no fancy display) and it’s much easier to read. I don’t see any of the overlapping that our mobile-using pals have.

    It’s purdy.

  37. The sidebar blocks the right half of the first batch of comments in my browser as well.
    I’m running Windows7 and using Internet Explorer 8.

  38. Looks fantastic. Like Lurkertype says, the bigger font size is a easier on my aging eyeballs as well as the larger user icons.

  39. I can’t find anything to complain about with these changes, and, frankly, the complaints I do see strike me as first-world-problems-meme worthy.

  40. The new layout looks great on my laptop, not so much on my iPhone 4. There is an excessive amount of white space between the Menu/Search bar and the banner, so much that only the top half of the banner can be seen and none of the site’s actual content. In landscape orientation, Menu, Search and the expanse of white are the only things that can be seen without scrolling down.

  41. Is that your driveway in the banner photo? ‘Cause it looks like you could have, like, drag races on that thing.

  42. On a 1920×1080 monitor (that is set to 1919 x 1080 so’s my laptop will get close
    to not pissing me off about limitations in i… ehh, sorry.
    Uhmm, right.
    Page looks great, love the headline pic, and?
    Awesome thing. The on mouse over drop down lists work! – – I’m used to drop
    downs that vanish when I take the mouse off of the button and so make it impos-
    sible for me to select something from that list, and others that open a new tab
    named ‘void.’
    I can actually middle click items in the dropped list and have them open in a new
    My love to the WordPress programmers.

    And? Oh, SOB, why is it saying I’m “Shawn” when I’m “Shawn T.”
    Probably a M. Firefox hiccup. Damn thing has been a damn thing for the past
    few upgrades.

  43. Oh, my. Such ughy reformatting.
    I grew up on a typewriter.
    I expect pages to look like what I typed.

    Maybe some decade I’ll get used to my bifocals and websites that
    change my formatting.

  44. 1. I really like your blog and read it regularly.
    2. I really like your books too.
    3. I don’t like the new look because
    a) the text is too big and cannot be made smaller on my Ipad which means that I have to scroll after about 20 words.
    b) there is too much white space which means that I have to scroll a lot on the pc too.
    c) the big font makes it feel like you are shouting. It’s like using all upper case.

    Otherwise it’s nice.

  45. Just a heads up. I noticed that, on mouseover, the user-icons shrink, but change aspect ratio as they do so. They get squashed top to bottom. It’s only a tiny thing, but I find that it bothers me more as time goes on.

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