Friday, January 2, 2009

New Look - Like It?

I've just given my blog a redressing for the new year.

The goal was to tidy up the clutter of the sidebar, but still keep that information easily available. As I thought about how to accomplish this, I realized that I deal in images - why not let them speak for themselves?

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear it. And to those who got a bunch of posts in their readers today, my apologies.

More redressing ahead for the sales blog and the website...perhaps another day! :D


Kasie @ ~The Art of Life~ said...

Very nice Rose!
I like it.
Look at you; already getting a jump on your New Year's goals. You're inspirational to me. :)

Jennifer Rose said...

The graphics on the side are really eye catching but to my eye the other side of the blog looks really empty now. But that is just me.

Jeanette said...

Very clean and professional looking Rose. You've done a wonderful job on this. Will your website match?

One of my areas of concentration this year is branding and a consistant look. I'll be doing a little face lifting on my blog as well!

Rose Welty said...

Kasie - I sincerely find this time of year exciting and motivating! (And, I got this idea a couple of days ago and haven't been able to sleep well, so I decided I needed to just do it!)

Jennifer - The jury is still out on the right or left sidebar. "Good practice" tells you to put the sidebar on the right, but I thought I'd just live dangerously for a bit - being different can be good. Thanks for the thoughts, I'll keep it in mind.

Jeanette - Yes, I will get around to the website, but I need to do some real art for a few days :D. I'm thinking about keeping the grays, red, and font consistent, but then use slightly different images in slightly different ways - keeping things fresh.

Thanks for your thoughts ladies!

Trish said...

love your new look! have a great weekend!

Katherine Tyrrell said...

That's great having images for the basics info in the left hand column. Maybe you could share with people how you did that - I don't think I've seen that done before. Well done!

However I've also got some of other comments which you might want to have a think about. We know each other well so you know this is not criticism so much as saying I don't think this works - and why.

The first comment relates to something you already know. The second is about the new header image which I really don't like for a number of reasons.

First - I note the 'living dangerously' comment but according to Neilsen, the web usability guru, people always lean towards reading the left hand side of the page. That means whatever you want them to read should be always on the left hand side. If you want info to be available - but not distracting to the eye then put it on the right hand side.

Basically, if your aim is to get people to read your blog, I'd swop your column from left to right.

Next the one thing I've not taken to at all is your new blog title header. I personally find it very busy and difficult to read. Headers should ideally be very simple - you should "get them" in a split second.

I think that nice as it is to use images behind titles (and I liked the last one), the use of a series of images rather than just one creates a busy image which competes with the words.

The image also doesn't fill the header box. The two options to improve how it looks would be to either take off the border or change the width of the image.

Having words as black on darkish grey or complex images suggests to me that you don't want people to read them! Did you try white as an option? I'd very much recommend making the title clear and giving it a clear simple background. Jeanette's is a model of good practice in this respect. If you want to keep things fresh why not just use one image each time and then change it on a regular basis? You could then change the font colour to whatever suits the image.

Also I think you've got a 'name' for the blog and a strapline which explains it. I'm wondering whether they both need to be in the same font size? I'd personally be much more inclined towards making the strapline a bit smaller.

I hope this helps!

Rose Welty said...

Trish - thanks! I will.

Katherine - It's not a complicated thing, but I will put up a post this week about what I did.

I am very thankful for your thoughts. No, I don't see them as criticism. I asked for opinions because I want to hear them. I didn't expect everyone to love it, and I thank you for your honesty.

You've given me good food for thought...I'll mull it over and make a decision. Thanks again!

Nithya Swaminathan said...

I just have one suggestion. Since you have put up your contact info and newsletter as separate posts, I'd suggest you change the dates of these posts to some very old date, so that it becomes the first post in your blog. You still have the link, but it would not pop up in the middle of your blog obstructing the reader.

Rose Welty said...

You all are so good for me...I've tweaked it again a bit and it is better.

K - the header was too busy, I could see that today after a break from it. And, I had forgotten about that header border. I switched the sidebar - I like how it stretches better, as Jennifer pointed out.

Nithya - I did move the posts, and now they will be easy to find, just like the avatar picture. Thanks!

Teresa Mallen said...

Hi Rose,

I checked your blog a bit earlier and I saw it before you made more changes. I liked the sidebar on the left. I understand the notion that we read left to right but I also think that a sidebar on the left can work well - I really like the look of Paula Pertile's blog.
I like your use of images as background for the text.
Also, I liked the former banner, black text, more images and go figure. I might have suggested eliminating the words 'a blog with'.
So at the end of the day, listen to the feedback, make some adjustments if you wish but stay true to your vision. A blog is a very personal creation after all.

Robyn said...

Very impressive, Rose. It really does encourage one to click links and move around.
How did you get rid of the tag words that so clutter my blog?

Rose Welty said...

Teresa - Thanks for your comments. I do believe that a blog is a very personal thing. And, as well, I do think they "evolve" over time. I've made a bunch of changes in a short time, something I had told myself I wasn't going to do, but at least now I've set the stage for being able to make incremental changes to keep it fresh. For one thing, I'm not so thrilled that I have so many red flower work is a little more diverse than that :D. But, now I can see that, which is important. Thanks again for your support and encouragement.

Robyn, thanks. I'll post on Monday about what I did. But as for the links to archives and categories, just open them up in the blogger layout page and "remove" them.

Paula Pertile said...

Hi Rose,

Hey, my ears were burning! (thanks Teresa).
I didn't see this when you had it the other way (on the left) so can't comment on that. But I think it looks just fine now, whatever you've done.

I love the blogroll thingie (I know Katherine as well as others have that too). I've been wanting to fiddle with mine, and have directions on how to make 3 columns, but decided to wait for a day when I'm feeling really sharp to do it. I tried one day and was getting cold feet.
I actually think I might practice on one of my defunct blogs before I do it 'for reals'.
Anyway, looks good Rose!

Rose Welty said...


Thanks for stopping by. You do have a nice blog. The blogroll thing, in blogger, is just a widget, you just put in urls and click the box next to the thumbnail option.

You know how to get a 3 column in blogger? Do share if you get it working. I would love to have that.

Thanks again!

Paula Pertile said...

Here's the site with the blog "secrets", including how to do 3 columns:

Look on the left side under links, then Blog Secrets.
There's lots of cool stuff!