Phase 2 of The Blog Herald Design Upgrade

Filed as Editorial on March 6, 2009 9:41 am

The phase 1 post is here. If you’re reading this in a feed reader, do visit blogherald.com and take a look at the design upgrade.

As you can tell, the site just got upgraded again. You might want to make sure you don’t see cached stuff right now, by reloading the page (Ctril+R or Ctrl+F5 in Windows, Cmd+R in OS X). If things look weird, you might need to close your web browser, or clear your cache any other way.

Right, so what’s new in this second phase of the Blog Herald design upgrade?

First of all, there’s been some tweaking since phase 1, and there most likely will be on phase 2. Things happen, things come up, and things could always get better, so do share your thoughts in the comments below so that we can make this a nice upgrade.

This is new in phase 2:

  • The Guides section got a bit of a brushup. We’ll highlight popular series on the page, as well as possibly do some other things to help you get the best of the archives..
  • Also, Guides posts are presented to the right of the featured post section. That means we won’t have Guides posts as featured posts, they get excellent exposure anyway.
  • Search moved to the menu bar.
  • Ads were added to the front page, below the authors list in the sidebar.
  • We’ve removed a lot of ads on post pages. Some might come back, but hopefully we can continue to keep it this clean.

That’s about it. Some small fixes as I said, but those are the main things. Do share your thoughts in the comments, we’re always happy to hear what our readers think, and I personally want to make your visits her enjoyable both content and design-wise.

Phase 3 is as much of a content addition as it is a design upgrade. It is a week or two away though.

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  1. By Rob O. posted on March 7, 2009 at 3:37 am
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    Progressing nicely, but I’ve still got to insist that the ads in the header are poor choice. The ad banner completely overpowers your nice, clean logo.

    Also, I wonder about there being so much other “stuff” that the most current content is “below the fold.” Your content is great, so shouldn’t the newest article posts be the most prominently-displayed item on your main page?

    Reply

  2. By Randa Clay posted on March 7, 2009 at 9:47 pm
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    Looking much better- easier on the eye with some of the clutter removed.

    Reply

  3. By Brock posted on March 8, 2009 at 3:18 pm
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    It’s great that you are seeking feedback. I’m no design Guru, but it’s still nice that you care. With that said:

    I like that the Popular Series now look more balanced with the Featured Posts.

    This may not be a big deal, but I’m wondering why the category/comment/author line below the post title has a gray background. I feel like it breaks up the post in a strange way, especially on the front page where it seems to separate a title from it’s post, and as a result “groups” that title with the post above. Not as big of a deal on individual post pages, but that is where I first noticed it. I think it is a good idea to distinguish or set apart this line somehow, but maybe if it were another color (to differentiate it from the other gray backgrounds on the page), or just white with some other differentiation (an icon, or different alignment or font).

    Also, Rob O’s comment above got me thinking – I like how the Featured Posts/Popular Series box looks, but then you also have the Guides section in the sidebar. That’s three “Featured” lists but they are awkwardly split between the main column and the sidebar. It had me asking why split them so arbitrarily that way. Maybe they could all be together in the same box, and it could even stretch across the width of the header, having the main column and sidebar start below it.

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  4. By Thord Daniel Hedengren posted on March 9, 2009 at 5:01 am
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    Thanks for your comments all! Really appreciate it.

    Rob O,
    You mean the ad to the right of the logo? It’s been there since last version, the only change to the header is the fact that search moved up there… The option would be to give the logo more weight, perhaps, or rethink a bit more. It’s necessary to have some strong ad spots above the fold, and since we’ve removed the cluttering ones high in the sidebar, the top banner is even more important.

    As for the content flow being below the fold, that’s only the case on the front page. Personally, I don’t think scrolling is such a bad thing, but I’ll keep it in mind. Maybe there are cooler ways to do the featured section to move the content flow higher, I’ll keep it in mind, if nothing else as for the next version of the site.

    Randa Clay,
    Thanks!

    Brock,
    You might be onto something regarding the author line. I’ll mull a bit over that one, thanks!

    As for Guides in the sidebar, and it feeling like a separate part from the featured posts section: That is intentional. Guides will distinguish themselves more and more from the rest of the content, since Guides are more or less evergreen resources, whereas news, interviews and features are more news-based. I did consider a full width featured area, split like it is now, but not using the right column background. The reason I’ve chosen not to go with it is flexibility with ads and other things in the future.

    Reply

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