Theme Adjustments

By Shamus Posted Sunday Sep 2, 2018

Filed under: Notices 100 comments

Yes, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about the stupid theme. Not to worry. We’re nearly done. As before, I’m putting this stuff up on the weekend when traffic is slower. Also: If something looks off then make sure to do a hard refresh (Ctrl-F5 on most browsers) before complaining about it in the comments. The problem you’re seeing might already be fixed and you’re just not getting it yet.

Here is a list of the major changes:

  1. If the window is too short to display the menu on the left, the layout will switch to menu-top mode.
  2. Many spacing and alignment adjustments have been made. Too many to list here.
  3. 31 all-new daily background images! These will now fill the entire space behind the content.
  4. The links for stepping through a series are now white-on blue, so they stand apart from the content more.
  5. The promo cardsThe “From the archives” links to other content. have returned. You can see the full list by clicking on “Top Content” in the main menu.
  6. Comment colors have been tweaked to make them easier to differentiate. It’s not the rainbow we used to have, but it has a little more variation than we’ve had for the past few days. I’m trying to balance things between people who complain that it’s hard to track the comment thread colors and the people who complained about the “angry fruit salad” look of the old rainbow colors.
  7. The Twitter popup / link works, for all two of the people who care about that.
  8. I’ve taken all the various scattered links to the Spoiler Warning posts and condensed them into this final library.
  9. Comments waste a little less horizontal space on small screens. When the view gets to be narrow there is always going to be a trade-off between the readability of the comments themselves and the clarity of the comment threading. If we give more space to the comment text then there’s less space for the lines on the left when the thread reaches maximum depthFun fact: The max comment depth is 10 and that limit is enforced by WordPress. I can’t even find a plugin to raise it. As far as I can tell, the limit must be hard-coded someplace beyond the reach of plugins. Sadface..
  10. Tightened up the graphics on level 3.

An additional note is that I’m changing the weekly publishing schedule a bit. The Diecast will still go up on Mondays and Sunday will remain my dumping ground for low-effort postsHi there!. My Escapist column, This Dumb Industry, my GTA retrospective, and Bob’s Witcher series are going to be shuffled around. I think I’ll do This Dumb Industry on Tuesdays, the Escapist on Wednesdays, and retrospectives on Thursdays.

So why do I keep messing with the theme?

Yeah, Why DO I Keep Messing With Theme?

The menu-left idea was a response to all the people who complained about how much “dead space” there is on wide screens. The main column is 1024 pixels wide, so on a 1920×1080 displayThis is very common these days. According to the Steam hardware survey, 60% of all desktops run at this resolution. that’s nearly half the screen space “wasted” on the background. So, why not put something over there?

I don’t have strong feelings one way or another, I’m just looking for the layout that pleases the most people and creates the least amount of confusion. (And also that doesn’t require a bunch of coding to let users customize their experience, because that’s a lot of work I’d rather spend elsewhere.)

The trap goes something like this:

I offer a menu-left theme:

Yuck! This is off-center and makes me crazy.

Okay, so I can switch to menu-top layout:

Arg! Look at all this wasted space on a desktop monitor. It’s just a tiny column of text floating in a vast sea of empty space.

Okay, so I’ll make the center column expand to fill the space.

This is ugly and unreadable. The column is so wide that most paragraphs are only one or two lines tall. This looks ridiculous. And I lose tracking when I get to the end of a line and my eyes need to travel all the way to the other side of the display.

Okay so I’ll switch to a menu-left layout, which starts the whole thing over again.

The left-menu thing seemed like a good idea because it takes all the crap at the top and shoves it into what is otherwise unused space. This way the content starts right at the top, and you don’t need to scroll past all the infrastructure to get to the content. I’m kind of surprised at how many people dislike the menu-left thing. Most of the default WordPress themes from the past few years have featured left-menu, and so I assumed that was the prevailing style and that everyone would be used to it.

Given the huge variety of screen sizes, it’s not obvious what the least-bad option is. I just have to put things up and see what people complain about.

As always, let me know about usability problems.

 

Footnotes:

[1] The “From the archives” links to other content.

[2] Fun fact: The max comment depth is 10 and that limit is enforced by Wordpress. I can’t even find a plugin to raise it. As far as I can tell, the limit must be hard-coded someplace beyond the reach of plugins. Sadface.

[3] Hi there!

[4] This is very common these days. According to the Steam hardware survey, 60% of all desktops run at this resolution.



From The Archives:
 

100 thoughts on “Theme Adjustments

  1. Milo Christiansen says:

    The comment format guide still takes up a ridiculous amount of space. Could it be hidden by default and only shown when requested?

  2. psychic programmer says:

    As a minor complaint the spoiler warning page is missing the white background. Because of this there is a bad case of grey text on a black background that makes it barely readable.

    1. Shamus says:

      Did you try Ctrl-F5? Let me know if that doesn’t fix it.

      1. psychic programmer says:

        Working now, thanks.

  3. Thomas says:

    The tweet box is taking up 2-3 screen lengths at the top when using portrait mode on an Android phone (Chrome).

    Is it possible to hide the tweet box when the page is squished small enough horizontally? It’s not really worth it when looking at your site on a phone.

    1. MichaelG says:

      Same on Chrome for desktop here. All tweets, then the page content.

    2. Shamus says:

      The Tweet box is hidden by default until moused over. If that’s not happening for you, then I suggest Ctrl-F5

      1. Decius says:

        Ctrl-f5 is hard on a keyboardless device.

        1. Shamus says:

          Damnit. Well, I’m stumped. I have no idea why browsers refuse to check CSS for changes. They’re more willing to re-download gigantic JPG files than a couple of kilobytes of CSS text.

          There’s nothing I can do to make this happen from my end.

          If anyone else is curious if you’re looking at the old CSS or the new: The box with the link to the previous post “You hate it already Redux” should be white text on a blue background. If you’re seeing grey-on-grey, then you’re seeing the old CSS.

          I don’t know what else to do except wait for your browser to re-download on its own.

          1. Milo Christiansen says:

            Typing “javascript:location.reload(true)” (without the quotes of course) into the address bar should work for Chrome on Android.

            This SO post has details

          2. Tometzky says:

            The usual way is to add a ?version=1.2.3 to a css link. As this is a static file it is ignored, but forces a download when it changes. Also it allows for caching.

          3. MichaelG says:

            It seems to have fixed itself for me. Or perhaps you did that version on the css thing.

            For future reference, could you include a screen shot of the site as it’s supposed to look? So we don’t play this game of “oh, it’s awful now. Need to send Shamus a bug report!”

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          You cant ctrl-f5,but there is an option to clear the cache and refresh a single website.Use that.

    3. Milo Christiansen says:

      The tweet box annoys me. Here I am running my mouse down the sidebar headed for the RSS link, and suddenly, twitter.

      1. Shamus says:

        Making the Twitter item last in the list ought to fix this. I’ll do that in the next batch of updates,

  4. Ziusudra says:

    The 5 promo cards are arranged vertically with each taking up the full width. I’m guessing that’s not intended.

    Chromium 68.0.3440.106 (Official Build) Arch Linux (64-bit)

    Hmm, if I load it incognito it looks fine but I turned off extensions and even with all extensions off their still 100% width.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Suggestion:
    Make the categories drop down menu appear on mouse going over it,like twitter,instead of clicking on it.Clicking could lead to a sort of short description page similar to the top content page.

    Also,the top content could be similar,being a drop down menu with just links on mouse over,while giving the full description page on click.

  6. Simon says:

    Not really a usability problem but I’ve noticed that the link to purchase your book(s) is dead and leads nowhere?

  7. Aevylmar says:

    Does not solve the headache problem.

    Please, please, please center the text column down the middle of the window. It can be a menu on the left and on the right, or a menu on the left and empty space on the right, but *something* other than this.

    I don’t know why this wrecks my brain, but it does. I really like your blog, but this makes it practically unreadable for me.

    1. Husr says:

      I’m a bit confused by your complaint here. Now the text column is in the center and the menu is on top. Does it not do that for larger screen sizes? If so, I agree with you that it should just work that way all the time so the menu isn’t distracting on the side.

      1. Aevylmar says:

        I see the menu on the left and the text column centered in the part of the screen the menu isn’t using. I think of myself as having only a medium-sized screen, but it’s large enough so that this happens.

    2. Richard says:

      I find it jarring and a little painful too.

      The blog text is off-centre, slightly to right because it’s centred in the space not used by the menu.

      It’s jarring and slightly painful because my monitor is carefully aligned to my face, but now the content I want to read is on the right. So I end up turning my head slightly to the side all the time.

      Please centre the text on the window instead.

      Menu on the left (on widescreen) is absolutely fine.
      Initially I didn’t like that at all, but I’ve realised that the menu isn’t the problem for me, it’s that the text is no longer centred in the window.

      1. Aevylmar says:

        I’m having your problem, but I think I’m having it worse. Nevertheless, you speak for me.

        “Menu on the left (on widescreen) is absolutely fine.
        Initially I didn’t like that at all, but I’ve realised that the menu isn’t the problem for me, it’s that the text is no longer centred in the window.”

        Exactly.

      2. Xeorm says:

        Echo this entirely. I like the usage of space, but please center the center text in the center.

  8. Fizban says:

    Shall we get a deep comment train going to test the color scheme?

    1. Husr says:

      Couldn’t hurt.

      1. Decius says:

        What would the benefit be? Also PC>>wii>xbone>ps4

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Something something loot boxes something

          1. Olivier FAURE says:

            I’m a potato.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Want some hot coffee with that?

                1. Shamus Young says:

                  I logged out so I could participate in this important scientific endeavor.

                  1. Droid says:

                    “Commending all the brave souls who gave their lives for … ”
                    *checks script, throws it off desk*
                    “… ahem … figuratively speaking, of course, for this not-at-all lethal experiment.
                    Their sacr… – their time investment will make Future Internet[tm] a more fulfilling experience.

                    Any questions?”

                    1. Last Commenter says:

                      Move along people, nothing to see here.

                    2. emptyother says:

                      At this depth the left margins takes up 1/4 of my screen width.

                      If you ever manage to remove wpress’s limit, is there a good way to do nested commenting without indenting out the mobile users?

                    3. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      I dont see an elegant solution for small screens.Maybe a x/y thing in the title of the comment,with a link towards the parent?

                    4. Zak McKracken says:

                      So, 10 layers is the answer, I guess.

                      And the scheme is … not sure if I can find a rule there, to be honest. Right now it’s green, pink, grey, pink, grey, purple/blue, light grey, baby-blue and grey again.
                      The pink ones have a strong dotted border, the blue ones a finer one, the grey ones a very fine non-dotted border.

                      I had expected them to be colour – grey – colour – grey or something like that.
                      Alternating between strong and weak borders seems like a good idea, makes counting easier, and so would alternating between coloured/grey posts.

                      Oh, and Thanks a bunch for having the reply field back inline again! That’s a huge improvement. Putting the html help at the very bottom is also better than having it above the reply field. Although I’d slightly prefer having it right below the entry field (not far away but not between the reply and the thing I’m replying to)

                    5. Zak McKracken says:

                      I was just going to post that maybe scaling the margin width to screen/window width could be a good idea, only to realize that apparently Shamus has already done just that … brilliant!

                    6. Viktor says:

                      I realize that it’s annoying that WP doesn’t let you adjust the comment thread depth, but trust me, as someone who was on Tumblr back when it had infinite indenting for reblogs, I understand their reasoning. There’s a certain point when it becomes impossible to read, and that point is reached much faster than anyone would expect.

                    7. Daemian Lucifer says:

                      The solution I like is places that offer “more comments” buttons that you can press if you want to go deeper into it.If not,its on you if you want to skip it,not on the site.

  9. stratigo says:

    So, truthfully, from a layout perspective, having the site banner on the left of the screen, as it is for me (and if it shouldn’t be… Iunno?), is a bit jarring. It’s a violation of, well, proper information layout. It’s been a few years since I was involved in laying out stuff for news, but I think the principles of how people normally read (At least using the latin alphabet) and where to draw the eye still stand. Suffice to say, the most important information should draw the eye left to right across the top (which is why titles go there). From there, everything to the left takes visual prominence when drawing the eye. It is disorienting to have your eyes drawn away from the content you are reading and into the banner.

    Also I find that the banner not moving witht he rest of the site makes me a bit dizzy as I scroll down. When most of this information was on the right of the screen, I never noticed the state of the information there unless I wanted to be cognizant of it, while right now I can’t help but twitch my eyes left every time I scroll.

    1. Hmm! You have a point about the sidebar/menu. If that scroll up with the page the space below it could be repuurposed to show the “From The Archives” stuff (they seem to have about he same width).

    2. Dragmire says:

      That must be why I find the sidebar so distracting! I mentioned that it made it harder for me to focus on the, “You Hate it Already Redux” page but I couldn’t really explain why.

      EDIT: Hmmm, I used to have a custom avatar. Gonna reply to this in another browser.

      1. Dragmire says:

        Just testing this in Firefox now.

        EDIT: Haha, I typed my email wrong in the other browser, how embarrassing!

  10. Moridin says:

    Hard refresh is shift+F5 or ctrl+shift+R, not ctrl+F5.

  11. Kronopath says:

    The background is still missing on this post, more details in this comment on the last thread.

    1. Shamus says:

      Wow. Nice catch. How did you find that so quickly? That post is 12 years old!

      Every author on the site (me, Bob, Rutskarn, Josh, etc) gets a different background color. Looks like I forgot to give Heather a color. (Fixed now, whenever the CSS updates for people.)

      1. Kronopath says:

        Custom backgrounds sounds nice. Might be a good idea to add a fallback colour though, just in case you miss another author?

        As for how I discovered it… honestly? On your birthday post, you mentioned your middle child coming out as trans, and my initial response was, “Hang on, who was that one again?” So I was poking through the archives to see if I could remind myself what Peter’s previous name was and to connect it to anything I might have remembered about him, when I came across this post and noticed it looked weird.

        (To save anyone else the trouble: Peter used to be Esther, and I didn’t quite remember reading much about him on the site, compared to the other two kids.)

  12. “If something looks off then make sure to do a hard refresh (Ctrl-F5 on most browsers)”
    Protip: Press F12 to open dev console (works in most modern browsers), then right click the “reload” arrow next to your adressbar, you should have a option that says “Empty cache and hard reload”. This is on chrome though, it may vary on other browsers.

    BTW! Shamus. I’m happy to see the background fill out the width. But any chance you could set the greu background on articles and comments to a RGBA color in the css and make the “A” less than 1.0 so it gets partly transparent? Doesn’t have to be much, maybe 0.95 or 0.85 ?
    I’m uncertain if the side/top menu would benefit from any form of transparency though.

    The “search archives” box might need a slightly different background color (just a shade) so it stands out as a input box a little more.

    All in all this new look is starting to grow on me, it looks really “practical” for the lack of a better word.

  13. Olivier FAURE says:

    I’m mostly satisfied by the banner as-is, but I agree with other posters that it’d probably be better if it stayed on top of the screen at all time. I’m really not a fan of mobile-app-style permanent banners. Also, as others have pointed out, the Twitter button is annoying; I don’t think people are going to look at it a lot anyway, so you’re probably better off making it a link.

    The big annoying thing for me in this redesign is the comment reply feature. I don’t know how it is for others, but for me, when I click “Reply” under an existing comment, Firefox loads version of the page, and scrolls at the bottom where the comment box now is.

    I find this design super annoying because:

    – I’m used to forums webpages becoming more dynamic as time goes on, not less so. It’s already bad enough that WordPress needs to make a new page load to display the comment you just sent, I don’t want to make a page load to even *start* writing the comment.

    – This makes me lose my scrolling position, and makes the “Leave a reply” box far away from the comment I’m actually replying to, which is obviously annoying if I want to double check what the comment said while I’m writing my answer.

    Other than that, most of the redesign seems like a straight-up improvement. I’m glad that the pixel-art backgrounds are still here!

    1. Shamus says:

      I miss the reply-in-place option too. Sadly, I can’t fix it from here. I’m pretty sure it’s tied to using the default WordPress comment form, and right now that’s the only way to enable the “remember my name” checkbox, which is the only way to enable cookies. As far as I can tell, to enable reply-in-place I’d have to use a custom comment form, which would remove the checkbox, which would disable cookies, which would break the reply-in-place feature anyway.

      I’m not 100% sure this is the case. Something is DEFINITELY broken on the WordPress side, but I’m not sure if that brokenness is the cause of our problem. I’m still looking into it.

      1. Shamus says:

        Ha! Fixed it. It turns out there’s some Javascript you need to include for this to work, which the docs don’t mention. Was trivial to fix once I found an obscure 2009 blog post that explained it.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          yay

        2. Richard says:

          What’s that Javascript?

          (To save you-from-the-future a little trouble)

          1. Shamus says:

            Dear future me:

            You have to include the JS via PHP, by putting the following in the page HEAD:

            if ( is_singular() && comments_open() && get_option(‘thread_comments’) )
            wp_enqueue_script( ‘comment-reply’ );

        3. Droid says:

          “Nevermind, I figured it out.”
          *Thread closed*

          Do you not see how you have become the monster you were fighting, Shamus?!

          EDIT: Damn, Richard beat me to it!

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      Just in case that this opinion isn’t represented enough: I like the banner on the right. That’s where those things have been since the late 90’s, so that’s where I expect them.
      If I want to read an article without other distracting elements in the way, I can just make the window narrower until it shows only the article.
      To me, this is the best solution to havign the banner contents constantly in view, as it does not take up valuable vertical screen space — waaay better than a non-scrollng thing on top!
      Talking of vertical screen space: At least on my end (Firefox, multiple versions, multiple OSes), the comments still have pretty large spacings. That is:
      * paragraph breaks within comments (Edit: ohh, those are empty lines! Did it not used to be that simple breaks were ignored and only double-return would create a new paragraph?)
      * spacings between the entry fields when commenting, and the lines above the entries (“Leave a Reply”/”your email address..”/”Comment”)
      I wouldn’t mind if all of those were reduced to at least 50%, some even more.
      * spacing between comments,

  14. Lee says:

    So, this isn’t so much a “this is broken” as it is a “this would be nice.” I see what you did with the side menu moving to the top when the window is to narrow. Would it be possible to create an option to make this the default, even in a wide window?

  15. Tometzky says:

    There’s something that is pretty annoying and was like that for a long time. When I click on a footnote link it shows a yellow popup of the footnote text. But there’s no way to hide it back other than clicking on another footnote link or an image within the article.

    It would be great if a second click on a footnote could close the popup.

    I’m on iPhone browser – Safari.

    1. Nirami says:

      Yes please fix closing of footnotes on iOS. As it is right now it’s impossible to close them in any other way than to find another footnote to open. Same thing in both Safari and Chrome.

      This has led me to constantly calculate risk vs reward of clicking the footnotes while reading.
      “I’d really like to click this footnote I just reached but if I do it will obscure the text of the article. I don’t know where the next footnote is, or if there even is one, so I can’t close it easily. I’ll just continue reading until I’m far enough away from the footnote for it to obscure anything. … there, now I’m almost a solid dozen lines below it. Now I surely can open it without risk! *Tap* Nooooo!
      http://imgur.com/QtP2OwY

  16. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shamus,is there a reason that you chose to put the banner on the left and not the right?That seems to be the biggest problem for anyone who is complaining about the banner being on the side.Is that something hard coded into the theme,or can the placement be switched?

    And if you want it to be fixed,maybe when the screen is too narrow it could move to the bottom and not the top and then remain there?

    1. Shamus says:

      On the left is a little easier, since elements naturally flow left-to-right and top-to-bottom, so one little CSS conditional can switch between the two. I suppose I could make it float right if I messed with it, but I didn’t think anyone would care. Most of the default WordPress themes from the past few years have featured left-menu, and so I assumed that was the prevailing style and that everyone would be used to it.

      Example: https://twentyfifteendemo.wordpress.com/

      The menu-left idea was a response to all the people who complained about how much “dead space” there is on wide screens. The main column is 1024 pixels wide, so on as 1920×1080 display that’s nearly half the screen space “wasted” on the background. So, why not put something over there?

      I don’t have strong feelings one way or another, I’m just looking for the layout that pleases the most people and creates the least amount of confusion. (And also that doesn’t require a bunch of coding to let users customize their experience, because that’s a lot of work I’d rather spend elsewhere.)

      The trap goes something like this:

      I offer a menu-left theme:

      Yuck! This is off-center and makes me crazy.

      Okay, so I can switch to menu-top layout:

      Arg! Look at all this wasted space on a desktop monitor. It’s just a tiny column of text floating in a vast sea of empty space.

      Okay, so I’ll make the center column expand to fill the space.

      This is ugly and unreadable. The column is so wide that most paragraphs are only one or two lines tall. This looks ridiculous. And I lose tracking when I get to the end of a line and my eyes need to travel all the way to the other side of the display.

      Okay so I’ll switch to a menu-left layout, which starts the whole thing over again.

      And so on. Given the huge variety of screen sizes, it’s not obvious what the least-bad option is. I just have to put things up and see what people complain about.

      1. ccesarano says:

        I myself don’t really have any complaints. I like it. Then again I’m easy going and am one of the .05% that shrugs off changes Facebook makes no matter how inconvenient, because I know it’ll change again in another year or two.

        However, the navigation being on the right occurred to me as well. When I was first starting in web development navigation on the left via iframe was just coming out of style, and after taking some classes on usability and the “eye moving in a counter-clockwise spiral” (I think?) I began putting main content on the left. Oddly enough, I went and redesigned my own blog using yours as inspiration, and to fill empty space on larger monitors I dropped in a couple of direct links to certain content that is unnecessary on smaller devices. It’s all on the right, meaning your attention is still primarily on the content first.

        However, for those complaining about the text being “off-center”, that’s probably not really going to be a fix. It’s easier for me to say as I don’t have a huge blog filled with Patrons giving me cash each month to be accountable to, but I think it’s possible you gotta aim to please as many as possible with pleasing everyone as an unfortunate impossibility.

        Then again, I imagine you’ll have a larger user base with massive desktop displays rendering the page at a massive width. Whereas they’d be maybe 1% of the views for a professional company or regular website, they’ll probably make up a large chunk of your own crowd.

        Hrm. Perhaps for larger displays/resolutions, navigation on one side with thumbnails/links from the archives on the other? Navigation on left would make the most sense in that regard, but I’m still thinking of the comment above where they mention wanting everything centered. That might be overkill, and I’m also uncertain how to go about that in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. My skill points just aren’t allotted in Graphic Design.

        I will agree about the Twitter hover, though. Partially because my mouse hovers off of it way too easily, so even if I want to use it the thing vanishes on me. Otherwise, I got no complaints and am growing to like the largely cleaner look.

      2. Chris says:

        how about you keep the main text in the centre of the screen and then fill the empty space on the left with the menu. Then it is not off-center but also not empty. I know some people will get ticked off the left side and right side of the background arent equal in size but I’d prefer it.

      3. RichardW says:

        Well… in my case, I’m one of those people who still uses the *proper* bookmarks sidebar in Firefox with all my links down the side, so having the site’s menu be on the left next to that is a bit awkward. Most of the main dropdown menus also show on the left as well though, for what it’s worth.

      4. SupahEwok says:

        I’ll go ahead and chime in that I’d also prefer the sidebar thing on the right. In left to right reading cultures, the eye is drawn naturally to the left; having that big blobby bar always present there where your eyes naturally go back to is uncomfortable.

        That may just be because I’m educated in some of the subtleties of the psychology of aesthetics, so I have a part of my mind telling me that it’s suboptimal, rather than it being truly uncomfortable for the average reader. In cartography, we’re taught that the human eye will first travel down a map or other mainly nontextual visual piece from the top left corner to the bottom right, and will eventually settle to just below center; its something we’re supposed to keep in mind when determing where the main weight of the piece will fall, along with placement of contextual elements such as the title and legend.

        Edit: as an addendum: I think a left-side bar is good in cases where it’ll be a part of your workflow and its something you have to reference often (such as in games, which I’ve seen mentioned in another comment). However, there aren’t any functions on there that I think people use most of the time they visit the site. Certainly I don’t, when I check in daily for the latest article to read. Therefore, those functions are in the way of the typical user experience. Putting them on the right side still leaves them easily accessible, but out of the way, as seldom-used tools should be.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      Weird that this should bother you. Left side is where those things have always been since I started using the internet (in 1997).
      And since most people start reading on the top left, top or left is where it should be since it is the header/main menu.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Im not bothered.I usually zoom in to have the text cover the entire screen,so for me its on the top anyway.But there are plenty of people who have commented that it bothers them.

        Also,”thats how it always was” is never a good reason to not improve something.In this case,plenty of sites either have the menus be hidden unless you mouse over/click on the specific button(usually top left),or remain forever at the top,where it disappears if you scroll down.It makes the menu less intrusive.

  17. Roofstone says:

    Honestly the sidebar is still a huge issue, it is just too big. I have a giant white box constantly in my vision, and the entire website is shifted to the side instead of being centered like most sites.

    It makes it very ‘uncomfortable’ to look at the website, if that makes sense?

    1. Syal says:

      I’m starting to get used to it, but I still don’t like it.

      I won’t know if moving it to the right would help unless it happens, but I’m pretty sure making its color scheme blend into the background more would. I never really noticed the menus on the other version because they were blue and felt like decoration in themselves. The muted black and white still looks like an exposed frame, like the site just isn’t big enough to stretch all the way to the left.

  18. Mephane says:

    Replying to a comment still jumps all the way down instead of opening a comment field right below the one you are replying to.

  19. Misamoto says:

    I don’t think anyone needs “from the archives” section between the post and the comments. On mobile it takes more than a whole screen.

  20. Content Consumer says:

    I like the new colors! The dotted outline on comments is nice too.

    Unrelated – I was re-reading DMOTR and noticed a problem with the title on one comic:
    https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1014
    My brain reads this as “Shraqdinger’s Familiar” ;)

  21. Did you completely remove any kind of a “contact me” link? I can’t seem to figure out how to send you an email or similar. If that’s not a thing any more, that’s cool.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The email is still there in the about page.Though I forgot if Shamus got the access to that one back in all the site moving that happened.The diecast mail also works,and that one is posted in the image of all the diecasts.

  22. Wiseman says:

    As someone rocking the 768 resolution laptop I get my preferred layout of having the side bar moved up. The world is at peace. All’s well. It’s also nice to see Heather incorporated into the site.
    Header and Heather, get it? sadface

  23. krellen says:

    Shamus, what about a menu-right layout? Still uses the same space, but with the menu on the right perhaps people will be less prone to notice it “wasting” space?

  24. Totally off-topic (unless you think Shamus is cool and GOG is cool in which case they are tot’s relative to each other), but Noclip recently release their GOG: Preserving Gaming’s Past & Future documentary.

  25. Bubble181 says:

    Just to confuse matters a bit – though mainly to make sure the Vocal Minority isn’t taken as a majority without opposition – I just want to say that I, personally, like the left-side menu lay-out. It’s easy, flows the way I expect it, balances the screen. Word, SimCity, Dungeon Keeper, my professional software suite, they all have left-hand menus. heck, half of the world’s media websites have it. I vastly prefer a fixed left-side menu over a “scrolls away” top end, or a “sticks to my screen” top bar. My screen’s almost twice as wide as it is high, use that width!
    I also saw someone suggest centering the text on the whole site instead of just its own panel – now *that* will look lopsided. The way it’s laid out now is really pleasing and comfortable to my eyes on a desktop.
    I think you might want to experiment some more with the mobile layout, which I’m not that big of a fan of, but so far so good.

  26. MadTinkerer says:

    The trap goes something like this:

    I offer a menu-left theme:

    Yuck! This is off-center and makes me crazy.

    Simple fix: rotate the entire site 90 degrees. Call it Alto Style. 100% guarantee no one will have that specific complaint anymore.

  27. OldOak says:

    Sidebar good — you can always resize the window to get rid of it (heh, you see, I’m resizing the window, don’t care about the screen size:) )

    … *but*: when resizing the window vertically (making it less taller) _the sidebar also goes top_, which really consumes window real estate (reminding me of the office applications that were filling horizontally the windows with their toolbars). I’d see two options to help here:
    1. make the sidebar scroll-able once things start to get hidden vertically
    2. create a sort of scroll-able pop-down for it on the side (e.g. to keep it out of the way); people can expand, scroll, and select it when they need it.

  28. Nick-B says:

    Despite having 1920×1080 desktop resolution, I prefer to run my browser windows in a 1600×900 window. This allows me to space less important windows (steam friends list, torrent downloader, other windows, computer folders, etc) around it for easy task switching. Thus, I like there to be no sidebar, and am frustrated when sites squish so much there I am forced to full screen the browser. Your choice of mixing the two themes is perfect. Makes a normal window show the content I want, and if I full screen I lose the massive space waster (imo) that is the side menu.

    Thumbs up!

    Edit: I was expecting the not a robot box. The site just kind of ends down there. Hmm. I don’t like fluff down there, but having NONE seems odd. Guess I just got too used to ignoring the bottom 1/5th of each page. :D

    1. Geoff says:

      I was actually wondering what percentage of users run their browsers at full monitor resolution. Unless a given website behaves badly at smaller resolutions (content doesn’t scale) or benefits from the extra room (interactive spaces, 3D previewers, full screen YouTube videos), I personally anchor my browsers to one side of the screen (Win Key + Left / Right Arrow). Therefor my browser window is typically, at most, 960 px wide (less the scroll bar and browser frame for the contained content) which is significantly less than the 1024 px wide column.

  29. RFS-81 says:

    In some posts, you have the alt-text of images also written below them. That text used to be set apart in a yellow box, but now it looks like all the other text. Example: https://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1965

  30. Blake says:

    I view this site on my vertical monitor (1080 x 1920), Looks good, tiny bit of a border on each size which frames everything nicely, and a great big wall of text.

  31. Daniel says:

    I really liked the slightly transparent background, it’s a different visual quality altogether.

    Maybe there’s a way to apply the idea to the comments too?

  32. Brendan says:

    Is there some way to let the user minimize the left menu? Like, you click a button and the menu disappears except for a thin vertical bar. Click that bar again and the menu reappears. The state of the menu could be embedded in a cookie, so it would follow you around the site.

    I know Reddit did that with their old layout (I don’t know if they still do it with their new layout) and I’ve kind of gotten used to it.

    EDIT: While we’re on the subject of site layout, I’d like to point out that on the Shamus Young main page, the highlight on the controller button in the background makes it a little difficult to read the text that’s in front of it. It’s not a big deal, but I either have to highlight the text or move the screen up and down to read the text.

  33. Redrock says:

    Yay for angry fruit salad!…That’s all I have to say on the matter.

  34. LadyTL says:

    I am with people on disliking the sidebar. It adds alot of white space to the screen which gives me a bit of a headache (part of why I love your layouts is they aren’t white color centric). The headache gets worse though because of the off center text. My eyes have a real hard time focusing on it from any angle and I do have a widescreen monitor. I would love an option to minimize it if moving it isn’t a great option.

  35. PPX14 says:

    I usually have images off in Chrome and the window quite small, for browsing at work – so from a practical standpoint the menu doesn’t matter to me.

    However (with pictures turned on), the new menu does look rather less exciting than when it was at the top with the banner picture (and individual pictures for the different links?) I can’t remember exactly but previously it just looked rather exciting visually – it might be nice to have some pictures on the left.

    It was also nice having those links to the various popular bits – Mass Effect writeup etc.

  36. MelTorefas says:

    So, I have a chronic pain condition (doctor’s currently think fibromyalgia) and turning myself to ‘center’ the off-center text is actually sort of painful for any prolonged amount of time. I have a suggestion for the left-side bar: shrink the d20 icon, the Twenty Sided text, and the size of the search box, down to about the size of the RSS (Comments) link then shrink the entire bar down to just over that size. Then you can center the column on the screen and, even though there will be more space on the right than on the left, it won’t be that extreme, and it will be centered.

    Also, you could make the left-side bar transparent like the main column/comments, so the background shows up behind it. This would make it less visually distracting I think.

    Thanks for continuing to work on this. :)

  37. Sniffnoy says:

    31 all-new daily background images! These will now fill the entire space behind the content.

    Geez, just as I had started to record what they all were, you go and change them… :P

    1. Shamus says:

      I had no idea anyone cared. If it saves you the trouble, here you go:

      “bg_pop.jpg”,
      “bg_metroid.jpg”,
      “bg_bubble_bobble.jpg”,
      “bg_mario.jpg”,
      “bg_lsl.jpg”,
      “bg_tempest.jpg”,
      “bg_space_invaders.jpg”,
      “bg_qix.jpg”,
      “bg_dig_dug.jpg”,
      “bg_galaga.jpg”,
      “bg_punch_out.jpg”,
      “bg_robotron.jpg”,
      “bg_asteroids.jpg”,
      “bg_frogger.jpg”,
      “bg_pitfall.jpg”,
      “bg_1942.jpg”,
      “bg_joust.jpg”,
      “bg_centipede.jpg”,
      “bg_doom.jpg”,
      “bg_tetris.jpg”,
      “bg_river_raid.jpg”,
      “bg_kings_quest.jpg”,
      “bg_adventure.jpg”,
      “bg_combat.jpg”,
      “bg_spy_hunter.jpg”,
      “bg_ms_pac_man.jpg”,
      “bg_burger_time.jpg”,
      “bg_donkey_kong.jpg”,
      “bg_pac_man.jpg”,
      “bg_yars_revenge.jpg”,
      “bg_1942.jpg”,//////////repeat

      The new list shares a lot of games with the old list, although I still had to re-make all the images to make them fill the space the way I wanted. Each entry is a day in the month, so the 1st of every month will begin with Prince of Persia. February will end with Donkey Kong while August ends with 1942. You can see I cheated for day #31 and re-used an image.

      1. Sniffnoy says:

        Hahaha, thanks! I mean, I have to say, I *didn’t* particularly care — I’d made something of a mental note of some of the ones I’d seen, but never thought of trying to record them all — until you said that they were per day of the month (I had always assumed they were random) and then I was like, well, I have to go noting down what these are now…

  38. MilesDryden says:

    “10. Tightened up the graphics on level 3. ”

    Thank you for helping to keep this meme alive.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Might want to loosen the graphics a bit. They are beginning to squeak, which could be a result of binding.

  39. Confanity says:

    If left-menu is a problem for a lot of people, might right-menu be better? It feels more intuitive to me somehow, perhaps because I’m right-handed. Or because a lot of the blogs I read already use it just by coincidence, perhaps. Either way, I assume it’s an option beyond left or top.

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