Vote: how do you like the (newest) site redesign?


This blog has had five different themes in the span of twelve months, so please let us know what you think about the latest site design.

It’s been largely a process of trial and error, but it was also a collaborative one with readers and I am extremely grateful for all the good feedback you gave me (especially in this post but also in this one), which was invaluable for me in implementing this design).

I ended up keeping the multiple column display, but changing it to overcome a lot of the negative user experience  issues that plagued the old design. I also kept the thumbnail-rich visually oriented display which I briefly considered removing.

Freewaregenius Theme Design May 2013

But first things first, please vote:

Update 5/30: after 10 days the voting period has expired, here are the results.

Site Design Voting Results

Total votes: 269. Love it: 102 votes. Like it: 109 votes. OK/Neutral: 33 votes. Don’t like it: 18 votes. Hate it: 7 votes.

Thanks. The results are conclusive, with 77% either loving or liking the new site design, and only 8% feeling negatively about it.


Here’s a summary.

(1) I kept the multiple column display rather than a single column ‘blog’ layout

  • The main reason: I wanted to have a distinctive look, different from most blogs
  • I introduced ‘uniformity’ by maintaining 3 columns max, centering them, and giving all posts a standard look.
  • Note that I flirted with the idea of going back to a simple blog style and getting rid of thumbnails altogether, but ultimately opted against.

(2) Re-introduced a slider in the main page

  • Some readers like the slider (now I understand why there are so many slider plugins out there). It is somewhat strange, however, that many tech blogs do NOT have them. (Or I should say they typically consists of sliders of multiple thumbnails side-by-side, which I may experiment with at a later stage).

(3) Made the content area (in single posts) as wide as it’s ever been

  • Which makes a lot of sense for those posts that cram a lot of information into tables, of which I have a bunch.
  • I centered the content area, and got rid of the vast empty space on the right that came with left-justifying the content area in the old design.
  • Removed the rather large gap introduced by the main ad. The text flows around it now and the page doesn’t look interrupted.

(4) Responsiveness

  • My take on responsiveness: it’s a pain in the behind and not all it’s chalked up to be. But this design is fully responsive, and looks good on a small screen.

(5) Introduced Disqus for comments

  • Disqus has been (erm) discussed ad infinitum in the last post (here). So please, refer to that one for merits and de-merits, and let’s don’t go into it further here.
  • However, you can still voice your opinion about Disqus by voting below.

Update 5/30: after 10 days the voting period has expired, here are the results.

Disqus Voting Results

Total votes: 102. Love it: 15 votes. Like it: 17 votes. OK/Neutral: 37 votes. Don’t like it: 10 votes. Hate it: 6 votes.

Thanks. The majority are neutral (43%), but it is interesting that the total sum of those who like or love Disqus (37%) is higher than those who expressed a negative attitude towards it (18%).


(6) Will be introducing a ‘user submitted posts’ section soon

  • I considered a forum, and in fact installed one on my dev site. However, I don’t think I have the ability to service and maintain a forum at this point in time (thanks Gregg DeSelms and opted instead for user submitted posts (coming soon).

(7) I tried to generally keep things simple

  • Or at least, tried to make it look that way.
  • Also introduced a number of minor changes (e.g. a spiffier author bio box and other tweaks here and there).

I will confess that I feel good about the current theme, and hopefully I can now focus my attention back on writing good articles. As always, your comments are welcome.