Stylesheets over substance

Well, since everyone else seems to be revamping their blogs (and also because I'm expecting visitors soon), I thought I'd try to keep up with the Joneses or at least not fall too far behind. At first I was just going to put in a header graphic (as seen above), but I found it wasn't easy to do with my old (and first) WordPress theme (which is no longer being updated) and so I decided to hunt around for an entirely new theme instead. I settled on Tarski, and I think the word for it is "spiffy"! I've tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes, mainly in the CSS, and although some things about Tarski take getting used to, it's growing on me more and more. And into the bargain, the upgrade has yielded two really big improvements over the old theme and associated plugins. One, a search function that actually works! Two, a recent comments function that actually works!1 Oh, and the tagline now more accurately reflects the content matter :)

I've tested out the new look on a few different platforms and browsers and it's mostly ok (except for Internet Explorer on OS X, and even that's still usable), but any feedback on usability/readability would be welcome -- especially on the default font size and colour (it could be darker, perhaps).

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  1. That's now actually handled by a different plugin. Another new plugin handles the new-look archives page. []

10 thoughts on “Stylesheets over substance

  1. Awesome design! So clean and organized. And the comment form totally rocks. I might have to appropriate some of this for my own site!

  2. Brett Holman

    Post author

    Thanks guys (on behalf of Tarski's designers!) Clean is definitely what I was looking for.

    There are still a few things I can play with, but only one thing that I really think needs to change -- the way there is so much whitespace between the post and the comments, if the post is short (ie like this one). First time I looked at it I wondered where the comments had gone ... hopefully there is a way around that, or else I will just have to start writing longer posts!

  3. To fix the comments issue, you could take most of the information in the sidebar on single post pages only and either leave it out or move it down below the comment form, into the sidebar to the recent articles section (below the search box). Neither should be too difficult to achieve. You might still have to put up with it occasionally if you write any very short posts, but it would be fine most of the time.

    My only quibble with the design is that there could be just a little more vertical white space between the sidebar and the main column (by either adding a bit more right-padding to the sidebar or shifting the main columns a few pixels to the right). And/or maybe the font-size in the sidebar could be fractionally smaller than the main text to differentiate the two. It feels slightly cramped and lacking a distinct break between the two columns. Other than that, I really do like it.

  4. Brett Holman

    Post author

    Thanks, Sharon. You are right about the sidebar; taking out (say) just the blogroll and the page links would solve most of the problem. I have actually suggested something similar to the Tarski developers already, if they don't want to follow up on that I can roll up my sleeves and start mucking around with the PHP myself, but for now I need to get back to some real work :)

    I'll ponder your other suggestions, it does maybe seem a bit cramped, now that you mention it. (Or perhaps it's just cosy!) It might be an either/or thing -- doing one might help fix the other.

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  6. No, much as I'd like the cop-out, that was operator error at this end... Multitasking becoming multitonking.

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