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:
- If the window is too short to display the menu on the left, the layout will switch to menu-top mode.
- Many spacing and alignment adjustments have been made. Too many to list here.
- 31 all-new daily background images! These will now fill the entire space behind the content.
- The links for stepping through a series are now white-on blue, so they stand apart from the content more.
- 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.
- 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.
- The Twitter popup / link works, for all two of the people who care about that.
- I’ve taken all the various scattered links to the Spoiler Warning posts and condensed them into this final library.
- 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..
- 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.
 The “From the archives” links to other content.
 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.
 Hi there!
 This is very common these days. According to the Steam hardware survey, 60% of all desktops run at this resolution.
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