More minor layout and navigation changes…

I’ve been avoiding a sidebar because it looks cluttered, but I’m also convinced now that it’s near impossible to find older posts or navigate the other content easily; trying to figure out how to change the widths was a bit more of a pain, however. Let me know what you think – all feedback appreciated, thanks! MT

Comments

  1. Hi,
    I’m sorry to say that, but the old site layout was much better: sharp, focused and professional. Indeed, finding older posts was difficult, but the overall impact was outstanding.

    What I don’t like:
    * The old site made it explicit that that horology and Leica are special subjects. Now, those are lost in a list with many other categories.
    * There’s no way to browse for individual articles – categories are rendered as very long lists of articles.
    * A “Search” field on top of the page is not needed, most users use Google to search
    * Facebook and subscribe by email should be discreet, maybe at the bottom of the page, or accessible by a small icon, otherwise it looks like you’re begging for subscriptions and “likes”.
    * The left side of the page is empty, the design feels unbalanced.
    * Overall it has a “cheap” look. Your wonderful pictures and insightful writing deserve a better blog layout.

    I’d suggest:
    * Keep the old header and top navigation buttons, perhaps with some minor updates/improvements
    * Add a side navigation bar (maybe on the left side, but that’s a matter of preference and style), with 1-2 levels of dynamic hierarchical menus. Thus it can be minimalist and still functional.
    * Have subscribe, facebook, etc. options visible and accessible but in a tasteful way
    * Maybe, contact a professional user interface/web designer for help

    Well, it’s just my opinion. Without regard of what layout you chose, I’ll continue to love your work and I’ll read your blog every day.

    • Appreciate the very detailed feedback, Dan. My feeling is that I like the old layout too, but the main problem is that nobody can find older posts – I had a lot of people emailing asking about things I’d already written about, or asking for archives. Sadly WP doesn’t give you a lot of control over how the FB link looks. In any case, it’s still a work in progress – I can promise that the site will continue to evolve, and I won’t stop until I’m happy. The funny thing is that the changes were made on the suggestions of a friend who does design web pages for major brands 🙂 Thanks for your support!

      • Was that friend me? If not me, i would agree with your friend.

        Though, there are some newer trends appearing nowadays that utilize dynamic HTML5 technology — it allows for you to have your cake and eat it too. The sidebar is hidden until the mouse hovers near the side, then it appears. The rest of the time your content auto-expands to fill up the page. There is still some debate on the viability and usability of this tech for heavily visited websites, but my feeling is that such dynamic design (though not necessarily the one i described) will be the next stage of web usability evolution.

  2. LaPetiteMaligne says:

    I miss having the photos take centre stage on the screen and second the suggestion of having a link to an archive page. It may not minimize clicks but its what makes your blog look and feel different.

    • 😦 Give it time to settle in, and let’s see again in a week or two…in the meantime, you only read the email subscriptions anyway!

  3. Ming, there is something wrong with the way the font looks. At least in Firefox which is the browser I am using. It looks pixelated and it is not very pleasant to read the text

    • It did that the first time on mine, after it pulls the font API from Google it’ll be fine the next time – please try dumping the cache, refreshing and let me know if you still see the problem.

  4. Hi, there’s good things about the old look and the new, but the fact that your posts are so useful and interesting makes the new side bar look more functional and better for me. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the feedback. So far it’s 50-50…I should run a poll again in a week or two once people have had a chance to get used to it.

  5. Hi. Although I did write to you earlier about the difficulty in finding your old posts, honestly, I prefer the old more minimalist look without the sidebar. Maybe better to have a link to an archive page in the top menu bar, if that is indeed possible….

    Great content on your site though. One of the best photo blogs!

  6. Hi. Although I did write to you about the difficulty in finding your older posts, honestly I prefer the look without the sidebar. The pictures should take center stage. It would be great if there is a link to an archive/search page in the menu bar above so as not to clutter the main page.

    Best photography blog I have come across. Great job!

  7. Tom Hunter says:

    The sidebar looks fine. It’s easy to navigate nice job on the addition.

  8. Matt from Missouri says:

    PS:

    You’ve made me a Zeiss junkie. I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you!

  9. Matt from Missouri says:

    I think sidebars are sometimes a necessary evil. It is certainly more convenient for most readers to shift their eyes to the side of their screen, rather than scroll down to the bottom of the page, especially for those who don’t regularly use hotkeys to dart to the top and bottom of web pages instantaneously. At any rate, I scrolled quickly through some of your more photo-heavy past entries and took no note of the sidebar being obstructive. Not a real test, of course, but my impression is that it’s O.K.

    Slightly different note: There have been plenty of times I’ve wanted to look for past entries and relied on the search function, or on your tags. This has managed to serve me well so far, but as your content continues to grow (and great content it is, by the way), I would think this would become a more burdensome task. However, I’m not aware of a magic bullet solution for this: more content means more effort finding it. It’s a burden I am more than willing to withstand as your entries here have been fantastic, and I trust they will continue to be.

    Signing off from Singapore (temporarily).

  10. I like the new changes… being able to navigate easily and find the information you are seeking is very important to me. I’m more than happy to make the trade-off.
    René

  11. Dan Thompson says:

    I discovered your blog about a month ago. thanks so much, love your work and will probably register in your class. I am in asia sevral times a year, KL being one of my favorite stops. My wordpress experinces is centered around a premium them called Thesis. You will find the site here: http://diythemes.com/. Superb SEO optimization and i find it clean and effiective from a design perspective. He has done a good job abstracting the code away, and makeing simple functionality choices to drive the behavours and appeance. Hope this helps, or at least encourages you further and you find a great solution. Cheers, -dan

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