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call for criticism on site redesign (24 posts)

  1. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I just completely overhauled my site:
    http://www.tylerwillis.com/

    I started out with Chris Lin's Imohtep theme and kept modifying and modifying and modifying to where it's more or less unrecognizable.

    In any case, I know there are a few issues (particularly in IE, grrr), but I would love feedback as this is my first WordPress design.

    Thanks!

  2. chrishes
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Lots of content, that's good. But it does seem a little overwhelming. A lot going on and nothing to draw the reader/surfer in.

    Just my small opinion.

  3. ctrygstad
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I'm on Firefox, 1440x900 resolution, and your "Numbers" section on the right is wider than the rest of the right column, and spills over into the content. I would try reducing the categories on the right, or add some structure by adding a hierarchy. "The Syndicate" section seems a bit much too, with all of those logos. The dotted line box in the middle with "Recent Comments" and such, try changing the background to a light gray or something, the dotted line outline just doesn't fit with everything else.

  4. msadventures
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Hi there.
    Well, couple problems.

    In IE on a 1240x768 screen resolution:
    The "Numbers" box on the right side has some sort of error in it. The box is extended out to the right. It says "185 posts
    87,962 post words
    148 comments
    8,924 comment words
    9 registered users
    17 commentators

    Warning: strtotime() [function.strtotime]: Called with an empty time parameter. in /home/tyler/domains/tylerwillis.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/wp_jvisitors.php on line 204
    9,424 visitors
    random stats."

    The middle section section just below the top post has been pushed down the page to where the right sidebar ends.

    Personally, although I do love using colors myself, I feel there's a bit too much in the way of color/graphics going on in the sidebars. Perhaps if you reduced the number of different colors, or simplify the graphics - you've got a different color and texture inside every box in the sidebars, and personally, your content is the last thing I'm looking at because I'm trying to make sense of what's going on in your sidebars. It's a bit distracting. Just my opinion.

    It looks much better in Firefox, no errors, and all your content seems to be in the appropriate places.Hope that helps. :)

  5. WarAxe
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Some good ideas... I like the rotating header images and topnav idea. A bit too many links going everywhere though... and not really enough consistent layout structure or colors to visually organize it all.

    Most obvious, though, are the warnings! :-) Geez, mon! :-)

  6. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @chrishes - thanks. I've been thinking that there might be a bit too much on the page, as I've been adding stuff as I though "oooh, neat." I may certainly take out a few sections.

    @ctrygstad - I chenged my resolution back and forth a good bit (I don't have your particular res) and looked at it in IE, Opera, and FF, and I can't seem to reproduce your oddity... wish I could, so I could fix it. As for the logos, I may take out the feedburner, but I wanted to keep the rest for ease of use in adding to rss readers... would you recommend putting those on a seperate page or changing them to text links? Unless I'm missing something, the recent comments box DOES have a light gray background... is it not showing up for anyone else?

    @msadventures I don't think I've ever seen your error, it's certainly not appearing right now. I've been thinking about doing away with that plugin, so I'll add that to the consideration.
    Was it the index page that was being pushed down? What browser/resolution, if I may ask? I was aware of a few problems with content being pushed down, but I thought that I had gotten rid of most of them - especially on the front page.

    I do see the points about the sidebars overwhelming the content, I appreciate ya'll noting that. Thanks for the pointers, I may keep plugging away at this after all. :)

  7. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @WarAxe - warnings? Are you getting the same as msadventures? I certainly don't see any warnings... I may be new to designing WP themes, but I'm not a complete moron. :)

  8. spencerp
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Besides the mentioned above, overlapping and clutter and stuff...for "us" or those cheap bastards that have a cheap and crappy dial up connection, it takes forever to load. LOL!

    Anyway, that's going to happen because my JUNO sucks! But again, that's just a cheap dialup, what else would you expect lmAO! Other then that, the "look" of the layout isn't too bad really. =)

    spencerp

  9. msadventures
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Yes, it was on the index page, I admit I didn't go through the whole site. It was Internet explorer on 1024x768 that I saw the error with the "Numbers" box, and also where the content was being pushed down.

    When I viewed the site in Firefox on the same resolution however, it looked fine - no error in that Numbers box, and all your content was in the right place. :)

  10. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @spencerp: Thanks for the input. Based on fb, I'll probably reduce the amount of crap on the sidebars and that should make it load a bit faster.

    @msadventures: Thanks for confirming. I've removed the J_Visitors plugin call (I think that was what was causing the error, based on what you said earlier), so hopefully it will looke fine (no warnings) now. The plugin is no biggie, and I'm not gonna waste time trying to fix something I can't even see. :)

  11. moshu
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    A little bit of horizontal scrollbar - FF 1.0.6.
    All those different img backgrounds for the sidebar "boxes" seem un-necessary: they distract but don't communicate anything.

  12. WarAxe
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Okay, the warnings are gone.

    The meta box is broken in IE, though... it gets wider.

    Yeah, I really, really agree with moshu. Your sidebar boxes would be more effective if they didn't have the different colored images behind them. It just gets a little busy.

    Also, you have some IE disappearing text bugs happening. Go to positioniseverything.net for fixes (it's fairly easy).

    I know you're not a moron... :-) ...but just as a reminder don't forget to design in Firefox, but then debug the output in Opera and IE afterwards. :-)

  13. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @Moshu - I never noticed the horizontal scrollbar, I'll look into it.

    @WarAxe - I was just noting that I would have fixed the warnings had I seen them. :) And I design in Opera since it's the only browser that regularly does what I want it to. I'll check the site you listed and see if I can find out why text is disappearing.

    @practicallyeveryone - I'll be reducing the number of sideboxes in a (soon) future update, and reducing the images used so that there's not so much distraction. I probably should have done it before this since the site is not quite just my personal blog anymore, but I guess it took multiple people telling me to make me realize it.

    Thanks for the criticism, everyone. I'll keep an eye on the thread if anyone else wants to mention, and I'll prolly send a reply once I fix a few things.

  14. msadventures
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Sitting here sick at home and just had another look. You've redone the sidebars and it looks much better! Thumbs up! :)

  15. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @msadventures: Thanks. I was just about to see if anyone had further criticism as I've fixed most stuff on the site.

    Fixed: overwhelming sidebar (hopefully), horizontal scrollbar, text disappearing in IE, broken meta box in IE, removed call that was generating errors.
    Changed: color scheme (it no longer looks like a rainbow's rejection pile) and post styling.

    I would welcome general thoughts, of course, but I did have a specific concern: I use the plugin that was generating errors for everyone in my comments section. It's a different function, but I'm concerned that it's generating errors that I can't see.

    If anyone would mind, please take a look at a post that has comments (http://www.tylerwillis.com/2005/10/14/fable-the-lost-chapters/) and see if it's generating errors. I've actually written up a little how-to on the comment technique I used, and I thought I would share with the WP community at some point... but it would be *very* embarrassing to write such and then have a broken comments section.

    Thanks!

  16. WarAxe
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    AAaahh!! *klaxon sounds* We've detected 1px IE rounding error!

    ...and it wouldn't be so bad if that one little pixel didn't push the ENTIRE center column to below the side columns. :-)

    It's usually best never to have all your columns' widths add up EXACTLY to the width of their container... leave some slop in there... like 3 or 4 pixels or so.

    You can fix the 1px IE rounding error at (one of my fav's) http://www.positioniseverything.net

  17. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @WarAxe: *I could have sworn that I fixed that.* In any case, I modified my CSS so that it should display properly in IE down to 1024x768. Tinkering didn't seem to help at 800x600, but I've never really designed with that resolution in mind. Thanks for pointing it out.

  18. moshu
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    So, on the frontpage in the middle(?) grey area I click on the latest from zoocat: - and I get this (quote)

    "
    [...]Your options

    1. Contact tylerwillis and tell him that he's a moron.[...]"

    ;)

  19. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @moshu: I wish you could see how much of a laugh that got out of me. And right after I declared not being a moron. In any case, thanks for pointing it out: it was a matter of having moved zoocat's bio post (which apparently changed the permalink?) and not updating his user profile. Fixed now. :)

  20. moshu
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    ;)
    I was hoping you wouldn't get offended and I'm glad you didn't. It was so funny to see that 404 message that I couldn't resist...

    The site is getting better and better.

  21. vkaryl
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    tylerwillis: your site's a really great advertisment for the nifty things you can do with wp. You've done a remarkable job of giving your site its own look and life. You've taken constructive criticism gallantly and used it to make your site even better.

    I nominate you for "site of the year" (we don't really have an award like that, but maybe we should!) and for "good guy" of the year too - or maybe for the "grace under fire" award!

    You GO, and may you KEEP going!

  22. tylerwillis
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    @moshu: Offended? Nah. Anyone with that kind of custom 404 page deserves to have it thrown in his face on occassion. :) I was just happy that it turned out to be an easy fix. And it's also nice to know that the 404 page is still working.

    @vkaryl: Thank you. A lot of people don't get constructive criticism and perceive it as an attack, but I've always been one of those people who prefer to hear what's wrong with what I've done... cause I can try to fix it. Of course, compliments don't hurt either. :)

    At some point, I may try to reduce it down to a packagable theme for the WP community, but I haven't upgraded to 2.0 yet... and there might be more tinkering to be done.

  23. vkaryl
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    I think that would be wonderful. For one thing, there's always room for a 3 column theme - there aren't that many, and what there are don't seem to work as well as yours does; and for another, your blog is original and interesting and provides a really great example of what can be done with wp, and what a blog should aspire to.

  24. WarAxe
    Member
    Posted 8 years ago #

    Well, Mr. Willis... you're getting the highest praise from the highest WP masters. Enjoy it! :-)

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