Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A New Look for Blog Time Passing

So, did you notice?  The new look?  For this blog?  If you haven't been over to Blog Time Passing before, okay, that's understandable.  If you have, though, and you just don't remember, here's a screen capture to help job your memory:

Let's call it Blog Time Passing Classic.  And I do hope this new look does better than New Coke did.  If you're too young to remember how Coke changed its formula and then had to bring back Coca Cola Classic, or if you were otherwise disengaged from American culture, here's a link to the Wikipedia entry on New Coke.  It was quite the debacle.

Why the change?  Well, the main reason has to do with my students.  This semester, I set up blogs for two different classes at Fordham and Fairleigh Dickinson Universities, and had students in a third set up their own individual blogs (see my previous posts, Online Writers at Fordham University, Cold Class Communications, and One More On Social Media).  All that new blog-related activity got me thinking about the templates that blogger now offers.  

And I also had to admit that my students' blogs and the two class blogs, where I had the students decide on the template, all looked better than poor old Blog Time Passing, whose original look, well, let's say time has passed it by.  It goes without saying that when you teach, you learn a lot from your students, but there, I said it anyway.

I had also heard, previously, that the contemporary style in websites favors a light colored, wide open look, and while I am not exactly a slave to fashion, somehow it does look a lot better to me now, whereas the older styles did look great to me a couple of years ago.  I still don't understand how that works, maybe there's an explanation in evolutionary biology, I don't know.

But there was also a practical reason for making the change.  When I first started blogging, I was mostly sticking with text, and it didn't make much difference.  But as I became more experienced, and started to add pictures and videos more frequently, I started to run into the problem of items not fitting properly into that narrow band that the template reserved for blog posts.  Eventually, I learned how to change the size of images and videos, but it's still extra work, and I'd rather have those items be larger, not smaller.  I never could understand why posts had to be forced into those skinny tubes!  Why all that unused space on the sides?

I've also  been using a larger font in recent posts.  I'm still not sure about that, but as I get older and my vision gets worse, size and legibility become more of an issue for me.  It also has to due with the fact that I've been working from my laptop more often, and I find it harder to read off of the screen on that computer than on my desktops at home and at the office.

So, anyway, this new template gives me more room to spread out in my posts, and that means a great deal to me.  I've also taken the opportunity to change the color scheme to make it consistent with some of my social media profiles (as well as making it more to my liking than before).  And while I was at it, I dropped the advertising from the blog, as I wasn't making any money off of it, and prefer a commercial free environment anyway (although the "bookstore" on the side still links to Amazon).

In case you're not familiar with how this all works, none of the content from my previous posts has changed, everything is still there, it's just the style, the format, that has been altered by adopting a new template.  As my friend John McDaid explained to my Writing for Online Media class last night, websites used to be like documents, now they're like databases.  So the database remains the same, it's just the interface that's changed (did I get that right?).

So that's the story, and I thank my students for opening my eyes, and I thank you, dear blog reader, for sticking with me through thick and thin templates.

Of course, I can always change it back or change it to something else.  So tell me, what do you think of Blog Time Passing's new look?


Yulia said...

I like the bigger font and the colors (some of them match the color of your shirt on the picture - as did the color of the banner in the previous one though - is it on purpose? :-)
However I found it a little easier to read when the posts were located in a box separated from other elements of the page and when everything was kind of centered in the middle of the page and not spread around it. The lines of the text are longer now which is on the one hand more convenient because it makes big posts more reachable, and allows to post larger pictures, but on the other hand it slows down reading (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
Overall I think it's a good change but it'll take time to get used to it ;)

Lance Strate said...

Thanks for the feedback, Yulia!