Sourcerer Redesign. Feedback Encouraged.

This is a mock-up of the new Sourcerer. If you have an open channel to me anywhere on social media, I would appreciate feedback. I do not care which channel you choose. Private communication is just fine.sourcerer_image

I’ve decided to go with Twenty-Eleven for Sourcerer because it’s the best free theme I’ve discovered in a year of searching. I love both the look-and-feel and the functionality I get with it. I will explain my reasoning, then ask you questions.

A proper blogroll is as much trouble to maintain as an index page. I don’t believe blogrolls are worth the effort anymore, so Sourcerer will not have one. Here is what I will do instead. There is a whole strategy of sidebar construction.

The purpose of sidebars is to give interested readers other options. Once the redesign is done, Sourcerer will only allowΒ  three options.

  1. Follow us somewhere on social media.
  2. Visit a friend’s blog.
  3. Find something else you like in the archives.

If you look at the sidebar, you’ll seeΒ  a lot of “Recent Posts” alternated with ways to follow and ways to dig into the archives. There are a couple of Easter Eggs for you here. The order of the social media widgets tells you my priorities and the “Recent Posts”Β  feature a few contributors we’ve not announced yet. The widgets work like this:

  • Follow this WordPress blog, and here’s a contributor. By the way, we have archives.
  • Follow on Twitter, and here’s a contributor. By the way, we have archives.
  • Check out our categories (which I must straighten out very soon) and here’s a contributor.

Get the idea? The Facebook widget is at the bottom because it’s the most exclusive, and that means it is the least likely to be followed. It is there so REALLY interested bloggers can find it. I am watching the Like notifications from Sourcerer’s fanpage carefully.

The final version will also have footers. I did not bother with them here, but they’ll be set up for the most part like the ones at Just Gene’O. Important widgets:

Blogs I Follow. I don’t like and comment from the Sourcerer account much, so I will unfollow everyone from this reader and then follow bloggers I am keeping up with on three or more networks. If you blog and we Tweet together, you don’t need to be personal friends with me on Facebook to get into the Sourcerer reader. But you do need a Facebook page.

Or else you need to follow me on a third network and let me know you did. You can find me on G+, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest if you look. I don’t engage on those networks, but I have accounts. I check them from time to time and pay attention to who is adding them. If you are a friend, I am happy to follow you back on any of those networks eventually. I don’t mind you using this thread to tell me where you followed me and drop a link. That makes my life easier.

My Community: So we can all see who stopped by recently.

Meta : It’s convenient. It allows contributors to sign in easily.

Other Stuff: Things like category clouds, image carousels, etc. to give the footers interest.

Now questions.Emanuel_Wynne

  • Is this a better blog than the one we have now? More reader-friendly? More strategically sound?
  • As a reader, how do you find this blog? Does anything about it interfere with your enjoyment of the content?
  • Do I need to mute the color of the front page a little? Is it so white it hurts your eyes?
  • Should the sidebar be on the right or on the left? I put it on the right here so you can easily compare it to Sourcerer and Just Gene’O.
  • Is there any other feedback you would like to give me?

Taylor, David, Sheena, Lizard. Pinging you with this because I think you will be interested, and pings are the best way to be sure you see. Taylor: you ping me so often, and one good turn deserves another πŸ™‚ David and Sheena: you are just awesome! Lizard: We had a conversation about this WEEKS ago on one of myΒ  threads and that conversation was so helpful to me, so I want you to see this.

Note: This is a reblog site I set up over the summer and tested for a few weeks, then mothballed it. I am using it for development right now, but I can connect it to the social media and start slinging links into the ecosystem from here any time I want.

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36 thoughts on “Sourcerer Redesign. Feedback Encouraged.

  1. I like the way this one looks on mobile so far. I will check in again in a few hours when I am on my computer (and can type more)

    I think the background helps balance out the whitespace. I don’t like a stark-white or monotone blog for myself, and before my current theme became available this is what I was using, so I think this is really good. πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Thanks! That is very helpful. The current background was too yellow for this theme, but fortunately I found this one, and it’s by the same artist, which is cool.

      The mobile one of my biggest concerns. I don’t like the way the theme I am using now displays.

      Like

      • If I had not just messed around with mine and fixed it again, I would have gone for the new one they just advertised this week…2015 πŸ™‚ Though, I do prefer my menus on the right so I would have likely switched back by now.

        I am at work now, will check the “whole site” out in a bit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ha! I mean, all-white, monochrome, with no personal touches πŸ™‚

        I have the brightness settings for my monitor down low just for such snowy schemes. And work stuff, of course πŸ˜€

        Liked by 3 people

  2. I like these changes! I think they make sense and I can see the logic behind why you’ve done what you’ve done. I can say this might be a little more reader friendly because it’s wider and easier to see. The white doesn’t bother me or hurt my eyes. I have no preference on the sidebar…but I’m interested to see what it’ll look like once it’s finished. I’ve been comparing with Sourcerer and what it looks like now. Part of me is sad that it’s changing but I’m also excited because it sounds like the changes are going to be great for the blog!
    And thank you so much for the ping!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Do you have CSS/customization? I remember one of my personal peeves with this was the headers on the side menu widgets not standing out. That is just me though. You’ve seen my space, I tend to go bold more often than not πŸ˜€

    Looking at it on a regular computer, I also like the way the comments are stacking so far. That’s another thing I look for: If there is going to be a conversation, when does it become unreadable (if at all).

    Great job so far! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t have customization. Haven’t spent one dime on any premium service up to this point.

      The comment nesting is one of the major drawbacks with this theme. It does get wonky after a while, especially on a phone. I’m looking at a couple of threads at the personal blog and trying to figure out where to cut them off. They’re ok to go four to six deep, I think, and that’s probably enough because you can always just go reply to the original comment again and pick the conversation back up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: We’re Getting a New Look Soon! | Sourcerer

    • Thanks! I’ve got high hopes for it, and I’ll tell you. This kind of overhaul on a year-old blog that’s posted more than once a day on average the whole time is a bit of a chore πŸ™‚ I appreciate the feedback very much!

      Like

  5. I like it. I think you had the same issue I’m having. My content is squeezed in to a narrow space and for long-form writers like me it just makes the post seem that much longer! Especially mobile. My thoughts on the Blogroll is it can clutter up the sidebar if you have a lot of other stuff going on and I know I would be awful about updating it. Also, I don’t know if I’ve ever clicked on a blogroll link. But maybe that’s just me…

    Like

    • Yes on the narrow text field. I have to zoom to read Sourcerer on my phone right now.

      On the blogrolls: Back in the day, when blogs were weblogs, people used them to jump from blog to blog and figure out affiliations. Now we have feeds all over the place and Twitter. I don’t do more than scan them at this point, and only click through links if I see a friend there and want to visit them next. And site-wide links hardly count at all to the search bots. I think they are obsolete, and a waste of real estate.

      Much better for me to feature contributors and display their last three headlines on the sidebar. That way people who like them can check them out, whether their own blogs are mentioned in the post or not.

      Like

  6. As a reader, I Like it. I really like that it’s main body is wider, which makes it easier to read and requires less scrolling. I’m on an ancient desktop pc. I prefer that over tablets and phones. I can’t help with feedback on how it looks on mobile devices. At first, I thought it had too much white, too bright, but, it’s not bad after adjusting. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on a link on blogrolls, I won’t swear to it. I know I’ve clicked on several links to other blogs when featured in re-blogs or referenced in main content as relevant to the story/post of the day. Oh, and I am not fond of the black side frames on Sourcerer, personally. It just seems unnecessary as a style accent and a waste of space, to me. So, this eliminates that. πŸ™‚ Maybe it’s just a personal taste thing. I do like the retention of the gears and hues in the new background. It connects with Sourcerer’s old background, indicating positive/forward-motion change but maintaining a visual connection to the familiar. πŸ™‚

    Like

    • Thanks for this very helpful feedback. I am not fond of the side frames, either. I picked that theme originally because it was good for displaying video content, and that’s almost all I was doing there. And I’d pulled my hair out on the design thing, had two live blogs to manage, and just needed to move on.

      Agreed on the consistency of the art. I’m doing randomized headers eventually, so you’ll see lots of cool and very diverse sorcerers when you visit. The original one will still be in the mix, and will be displayed on the sidebar to break up the text widgets. And since it’s the same theme as my personal blog, there’s a consistency of structure, too.

      Like

  7. I like it! It’s fresh and easy to navigate. I like the background, it’s visually pleasing and the width of the main text is great when it comes to reading posts and digesting them without distraction. I think you’re on to a winner πŸ™‚

    Like

  8. Perhaps my brain is broken (always, always a possibility), but I don’t see any sidebars…just a blog roll at the bottom of the page. Should I be seeing things in the sidebar or just imagining them? πŸ™‚

    Like

  9. Pingback: Deconstruction In Progress | Sourcerer

  10. My main issue with this look is the amount of white, especially in the text space. I see it’s been mentioned before in the comments, so I won’t go into detail but it’s literally hard for me to read. I don’t know if that’s going to be an issue for the majority of readers. I have migraines and visual problems, but I pretty much won’t read a blog unless someone links me a specific page they want me to look at or I happen to know something’s going on if it’s this bright. I won’t scroll through to see what I’ve missed or look closely at the sidebar. I’m not gonna go messing with my monitor settings every time I want to look at a blog, because I have them set the way I want them for artwork and I don’t think a lot of people would do that anyway. It’s the reason I didn’t go with 2011 myself.

    Like

    • That question about too bright is there because of a conversation you and I had not long after we started talking about whiteness and sidebar functionality. It’s always a concern for me with a new design. I may be able to mute it by making the text field more gray. I’ll see what I can do about it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    • seems like I can’t mute the text field.

      All I could do with it is fix the background image so it doesn’t go away when you scroll down, and I am not sure that helps one bit.

      Now I’ve got to go look at the theme you are using.

      Like

        • No need to be sorry. It’s a concern. I’ve got three blogs up right now, comparing them. Part Time Monster, yours, and this one. I had Diana mute the text background on hers when she put that theme in because it was blinding to me.

          My own eye doesn’t register a difference between the three unless i put them all up side-by-side, but when I do, I see.

          Your white space has more yellow in it than mine, and hers has more gray than mine.

          I’m at a point where I have to just go with it for now and hope to customize later, though. Too far along to pull back.

          Like

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