A New Blog Theme?


Reader Lily complained that this blog was hard to read. While I never really considered it an aesthetic tour de force, I always figured that it was readable. Perhaps it isn’t.

The theme was the default one at the time I signed up. The original blog description was something like “Default theme, default settings, Default User” (ho ho!). I have considered selecting a new theme before but ended up leaving things alone. My reasons for stasis were:

  • Laziness (the “its fine” excuse)
  • I have inline styles that I would have to check worked with the new theme (I do mention this problem in my post).
  • I might have to lose (or remake) the logged-on-as-default-user graphic. While the graphic is ugly, I like the humor. Indeed such geekiness is part of my brand (groan!)
  • Special little snowflakery: Some of the nice/interesting themes are in use by other bloggers in the sphere. The site has a look of its own (perhaps there is a reason for this). I would prefer not to be just like another blogger.

However, Lily’s slight against my style (“such narrow columns”) prodded me to re-think my stubborn resistance to change. I love a well styled site but hate one that prioritizes style over substance or useability. If readers found this blog hard to read (for reasons of layout not content) I would gladly make a change.
[I can change the theme with a few clicks. Changing my writing style is more difficult]

So over to you dear readers: Love or loath the style? Readable or unreadable? Hope and change or stick to the knitting?


I find that many sites have columns that move towards been too wide. There are many theories on the ideal line length and most agree that too wide is as bad as too narrow. A too wide column (long line length) is harder to track from side to side, taxing the eye muscle. A too narrow column (short line length) forces to many breaks as your eye has to find the next line.

A quick search found these articles: http://www.maxdesign.com.au/articles/em/

Again, if you do find the text hard to read please let me know. I may end up changing the theme anyway . . . just because, but would still be interested in your responses (I am interested in readability, useability and other design issues).

8 Responses to “A New Blog Theme?”

  1. chic noir Says:

    I’ve always liked your blog theme.

    anyway, who the hell is lily??? How the heck can she come into our home and tell us how to decorate???

    *chic noir stomps foot for added drama*

  2. Default User Says:

    I was more concerned that it might be hard for some to read. I certainly do not want to drive readers away because my pages are hard to read. I certainly have clicked off web pages because, due to color or style choices, they were hard to read.

    I am glad you like my decorative taste. Perhaps it is functional and cozy rather than Architectural Digest material.

  3. Lily Says:

    lol @ chic.
    [Ed: Chic always *makes me smile*]

  4. chic noir Says:

    I’m happy to make you smile default.

    *chic gives lily the onceover*
    and you too lily 🙂

    I certainly have clicked off web pages because, due to color or style choices, they were hard to read.

    yea, I have too. I hate blogs that look to cluttered. I’ve stopped reading blogs that I like when the set up was changed to someting that was too clutered.

  5. An Unmarried Man Says:

    I vote for Keep It.
    I like your theme for its crisp economy.

    Your column width seems the perfect size for extended internet reading and I really like your masthead, it’s clever and differentiates you.

  6. ddl Says:

    it was just a shit test by lily – you know what to do – let the sphere training kick in!

  7. chic noir Says:

    haha DDL called it. Oh well default will never hit that e-bootay. Good for me 🙂
    [Ed. See my answer below. I never really considered it a test but a customer comment. Sometimes you have to let them have their little victories.]

  8. Default User Says:

    @ddl, An Unmarried Man
    You have to be careful of taking such training too literally. Part of game is callibaration and part of product design is hearing the voice of the customer. A blog is a product (with useability and satisfaction factors to consider) and has customers (readers).

    Now, it is true that you cannot listen to all the clamoring voices but you cannot ignore what could be legitimate comments either. Now a woman I was gaming telling me that my blog “ain’t all that” deserves to be dismissed with an alpha “Phhft! Who invited you to read it?” A reader (male or female) who might enjoy reading my blog is a different matter. My “game” here is to keep a reader; the notch is on my page count, not my bedpost.

    I am interested in web design and am interested in those things that affect ease of use and reading. I find few things more annoying than products whose design gets in the way of their function.

    I have thought of changing the look a few times. Indeed, I have stepped through the various themes on offer, but nothing really grabbed me. Aside from the “logged on” graphic, the sidebar titles, and of course, my name, elements of the blog have trapped me a little. The current look (“Kubrick” is one of the older themes) suits the old mainframe motif. As An Unmarried Man pointed out the logo is different and does differentiate the blog.

    That said, I am a little bored with it. Indeed a change of look, and perhaps change of name might be in order. For now, though I will probably stick with it.

    Wow! That was a long answer to a throwaway comment but I had been considering elements of the design before Lilly’s comment.

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