I feel the need to issue an apology of sorts to my regular readers. My biggest human failing, I have little doubt, is a general lack of patience. I’m a lot better at finding patience than I used to be, and oddly enough, I tend to be more patient on the bigger things than I am on the small stuff.
In all of the craziness of the world, one’s blog design, I’m afraid, is small stuff. So my patience was wearing thin.
The last “new” theme I had was a somewhat reasonable substitute to the older theme, “Caulk,” that I liked so much despite the fact that its coding wouldn’t allow certain critical plugins to work properly. But that new theme also had a few issues: first, a margin that wouldn’t allow for the post text to move off the left edge of the page; and second, a slider that put far too much dead space between the image and the post text. The designer, whom I had to contact through a ticket form, sent me a message the other day claiming that he couldn’t replicate the text margin issue — despite the fact that almost everyone who commented about it was easily able to do so depending on which machine he or she used — and also admitted that despite numerous attempts on his own demo version of the theme, he was unable to make the slider stop displaying with the white space but was still working on it.
So when I read that, I realized that it might be time to try finding one other option.
This current theme, “MakNews” is that one other option. If something goes wrong with this one, I may have to downgrade Livefyre back to the previous version and go back to “Caulk.” As much as I like that layout, I don’t really want to downgrade Livefyre, nor do I want to face the inevitable customization required to make that theme work with all plugins the way I need it to. (The designer of that theme no longer does custom editing for it: he has moved on to custom web design. I can’t fault him for that, I suppose; designing websites from the ground up is certainly a lot more lucrative than patching a hole here or there on an existing one that’s already been purchased.)
This new theme, meanwhile, satisfies several key criteria:
But like every other theme I’ve ever used, there are a few minor things that annoy me:
Yeah, yeah, I know: these gripes all fall under the popular Twitter tag, “first-world problems.” In the grand scheme of things, they’re minor.
I’ll get the thumbnails to appear somehow, and at some point, I’ll get all of the fonts under control. The thumbnail issue is of much bigger importance to me at the moment, because I do like the way posts display with them. Once I work that out, I’ll worry about correcting more minor text issues.
In the meantime, I’ll at least be satisfied that the theme looks a little more reader-friendly and clean without strange spacing issues that detract from the content itself.
I hope you will agree that this option is an improvement over the last one, and that you can still find what you’re looking for easily.
@doitalone Layout ADD! I love it.
There is a great deal of truth to an old marketing axiom: when you are ready to pull your hair out out of being tired of seeing the same old design or message, your audience is only just noticing it. I wonder if that applies to blog designs: by the time our ADD kicks in, our regular readers have just reached a point of feeling that they know exactly where everything is!
In this case, at least, I think I've made things easier to find than ever, so I think this theme was the right one to choose.
The moment you dive into your stylesheets and manually edit things is the moment you gain true control over your theme ;)
@Thomas Frank A great point, my friend. I'm working on it. A stylesheet is still a bit intimidating to me, but I'm figuring it out as I go along!
What a marked improvement! It looks so clean, elegant, and kind of Apple'ish. I like it! I like being able to see more of the recent posts without scrolling down the front page a lot. The site is also considerably faster, everything loads quickly again. The social sharing slider isn't my bag, but I am sure I will get used to it. I for one am really glad you decided to change themes!
@msalakka Thanks, Mika. Definitely glad to hear it's loading faster. That was another goal. Still haven't figured out what caused all of the delays with the old one!
Like Cathryn, I like that this is so nice and clean. I have the left-hand sidebar, which I find really annoying (not just here, but the other sites that bring this stuff alongside all the way down the page). However, if I minimize the window enough, I can make it go away. :-) Weirdly enough, I miss your thumbnails--never realized how those affect the 'feel' of your page.
@psalm23 Thanks for the compliment. If it were up to me, I'd be perfectly content with the social slider NOT sliding. But that's a "further down the list" kind of change. I definitely agree on the thumbnail issue, though. I didn't realize how much I'd miss them on the post...but at least they're working better on the front page. That's SOME progress, at least.
Hopefully I can get them back on the single post pages soon!
My first impressions are that this is nice and clean. I like it. I have something weird going on over at the left margin but I think it might have to do with the fact that my work computer is set up on a network that blocks access to some pages so it might not appear as intended for this reason. I'll look at home to see if it remains and if so, I'll send you a screenshot.
@Cathryn (aka Strange) Hopefully it's your work computer. On the left margin of the post pages, there's a "share" window that is a column of Twitter/Facebook/etc buttons that slides along as you scroll down. It's possible it may not translate through a firewall.
At least, I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that that's all it is! :)
@Cathryn (aka Strange) I'm hoping that's it, too! :)