Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Small Changes

I have switched back to a serifed font (which, honestly, I never meant to get rid of in the first place) and have embedded the comments so that they no longer appear in a white pop-up window. These changes eliminate two small problems with the new design.

I recognize that, with three columns, I squeeze the middle post column a bit and also that it makes the site less legible for readers using certain browsers and devices. That's something I'd like to fix, but I also really like having that extra column. What I'm considering now is shrinking the column sizes somewhat but I don't know if that'll solve the problem.

As for the white on black text, I'm willing to make some alterations to that. However, I really do prefer a dark overall look to the blog. So, if you're someone who finds the current color scheme problematic, I'd appreciate some suggestions of alternatives that don't involve a white background and black text. I'd be even more appreciative if you could provide some HTML color codes to assist me.

Thanks again for your patience as I work to get this right.


  1. Serif font is good.

    I am just very happy that you didn't choose the Century Gothic font that matches the old school books. Some bloggers and message boards do that and that font really looks bad on a computer screen!

  2. I like the changes. Black background and white text make for an easy read. Also good that you stuck with serif.

    My advice when it comes to the appearance of the blog: Keep it simple.

  3. Actually, with the serif font, the white-on-black is easier to read than it was yesterday.

  4. If you want a font that reads really well on the screen, try Georgia; there should be versions. It was actually engineered for reading on screen. In fact, it works so well on screen that a variation of it is one of the basic fonts for the Android operating system.

  5. You may not want to hear this, but because of the way font rendering gets done on-screen, serf'd fonts are a lot harder to read light-on-dark, than sans-serfi'd fonts, while some people claim the opposite (I'm looking at you, @Anthony 8)). With the lower pixel density, I think sans-serif fonts are nearly always better online, especially at lower font sizes. But it's your blog, James, you get to do what you want. 8)

  6. Try shades of yellow for the font.

    Yellow on black is supposed to be readable.

  7. Blue-book blue for the font:
    color: #3a6993;


  8. I don't know if X-windows color codes translate well to browsers, but I long ago settled on a greenish color with black text, the current version of this color I'm using is B0DBBF.


  9. The white on black works fine for me. And I prefer three-column designs so overall I like the changes.

  10. The right column seems to be too narrow for some of the text kept there (the Chaucer quote and the Blog Archive). Perhaps a smaller font could be assigned to those or the margins thinned out to allow more text space?

    I favor the serif over the sans serif for clarity of reading in general. I'm not certain what Viktor is talking about, perhaps on smaller screens it's an issue? (I'm viewing on 21" flat panels at 1280x1024.)

    To be honest, I hadn't noticed the background change due to frequent readings of Lord of the Green Dragons who also uses white on black.

  11. I'm not super happy with the three column format, as it requires you to scroll a lot as you read.

    However, I am super happy with the fact that comments no longer pop up in a separate window

  12. Oh, and you may realize this, but right now, I think it is impossible to spot linktext in a post (no color change, and underlines only with a mouseover).

  13. *sigh*

    White text on black background is NOT good. It's hard on the eyes. You might think it looks cool. But it is not. If it wasn't such an eye strain, then it would be used by many mainstream big-business websites.

    This is a list of the most popular websites on the internet, as of today:


    Every single last one of them use a dark text on light background. This is because it is physically less of a strain on the eyes and the reader can read it quicker, thereby absorbing the information efficiently.

    Don't use a ffffff white background. That's too bright of a white. Use an off-white like f2f2f2 or a cool f2f2ff. Don't use something warm like fff2f2. For the text, USE BLACK.

    If your banner is dictating the color scheme of your blog, change the banner.

    Frankly, I liked it all the way it was before the change.

  14. I liked it when you first changed it.
    I still like it with the serif font.
    I liked it before the change.
    It's hilarious that you have gotten this many people complaining about the aesthetic appeal of your blog, not to mention how many experts there appear to be these days about what color schemes work.
    I really should have avoided reading any comments until there was discussion of gaming, literature or movies back up.
    Enjoy the hell you have created yourself, my friend.

  15. @tedopon: I don't think people are "complaining." People are offering suggestions, since James asked for them. When you go a creative exercise like this, all of the sudden everyone thinks they are an expert and can offer opinions. But, that does not immediately invalidate the opinions.

    It'd be different if James said "Here's the format. I'm not going to change it, so get used to it." But, he didn't. He said, "Here's the new format, what do you all think?" And, I think the "complaints" you mention have been very tame and offered up in good spirit. No one has said, "This sucks!" or anything like that.

  16. I don't mind white on black, but I actually dislike black on white, which is why I ended up with the muted green background. It seems to be pretty easy on the eye, gaining the benefit of black on a lighter background, without the lighter background being too bright.

  17. Color/font choices and columns don’t matter too much to me, since I read the blog through RSS readers. (Where I have control of such things. And I’ll take control of them when reading directly off the web if need be. It’s really sad that browsers aren’t more about helping the user get the content displayed as it works best for them & their device.) I can’t believe so many other people aren’t doing this. Check out Google Reader and other RSS reading solutions, everyone.

    I am very happy to see the comments popup option go. I was getting tired of working around that. I even submitted a request to Blogger to eliminate that option altogether. It’s almost never a good idea, and should be left up to the user in the few cases where it might be.

  18. On the subject of blogspot, another thing I love is to have a recent comments box in one of the margin columns. I find it really helpful to find active discussion in older blog posts (and on my own blog, find and eliminate spam on old posts...).

  19. @PatrickW What I'm talking about is pixel /density/ and serifs. Number of pixels for the display expanse is only part of the equation, you also have to know how densely packed can those pixels be (that is, how many dots per inch, roughly, can you get). Pixel density on the hard-printed page is much denser than on-screen. Serfis evolved to help letter forms be distinguished at small fonts sizes and in dense text arrangements, but the harder those little "hints" are to distinguish, the harder the eye has to work, and the harder text is to read. When the pixel density drops to a certain point, those serifs become quite "fuzzy" and the benefit of having them there drops off, to where the letter forms are more easily read without them.