Housekeeping: TTAG’s New Look

Hey night owls, I’m about to start messing with the site theme. You may experience some issues for the next hour, but at the end you should have a nice new theme to play with. Wish us luck!

comments

  1. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I said this when a post slipped through in this theme a couple weeks ago, and then that post disappeared, but I intensely dislike this theme. I like the 11 point Times or Georgia or whatever it is on the existing site, and I hate hate HATE the 16 point Arial or whatever it is on this theme. Please don’t do this.

    Arial needs to die in a fire, and cartoonishly large 16 point Arial needs to die twice.

    Good luck other than that.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I’m replying to myself both to see what replies look like and to say that while the mobile version of the site is unchanged, when I put my Android in Desktop mode, the site looks like some half-desktop, half mobile thing, where the theme is rendered like the non-mobile site, but only shows post titles, no pictures, no text, until you click on them. If I look at the desktop site on my phone, I want to see exactly what I’d see sitting at my PC.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        Here’s a screen cap from my phone of what the site looks like when I put my browser in Desktop mode. Under the old theme, I’d see exactly the same thing that I’d see if I was sitting at my PC looking at the site. Now I see this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/miy2kcia7vufi8j/2013-08-02%2002.16.22.png

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          And this is how it looks when it first loads the page (again, in Desktop mode) on my Android phone: https://www.dropbox.com/s/s5e3u2h45uvptdy/2013-08-02%2002.22.54.png

          (Also, I’m checking to see what a tier four comment looks like.)

        2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          The layout on the Android app is a bit rebarbative. On the plus side, the giant font makes me feel special… Like have to wear a helmet at recess special.

    2. avatar Craig says:

      This format sucks. I don’t know how to say that in a cute and cuddly and polite way.

      1. avatar Bob says:

        On win 8 phone all I see is the post title, there’s no first paragraph showing. Can we get that back please?

      2. avatar John says:

        It is pretty awful on the ipad.

    3. avatar traye says:

      Do not like, but I am just a guy so oh well.

    4. avatar Andrew says:

      I hate serif fonts with a passion.

  2. avatar Daniel Silverman says:

    Oh Nick!!!! Lmao

  3. avatar wvumounties8 says:

    Definitely interesting……………………looks ok, but will need a little time to get used to.

  4. avatar Don says:

    Not sure if your are done yet but I like the old theme better. Is it user customizable?

  5. avatar CA.Ben says:

    I like the arrow on the side of the page that scrolls with the article. That is awesome.

    The font sucks.

  6. avatar RLC2 says:

    I’m ok with new format- I see it views much easier on a smartphone, or device smaller than a laptop, with these font sizes and layouts.

    Add in those applications I see why the side arrow circle-tabs work so well.

    I’d much prefer something other than lipstick red, Comrade- but its your makeup party – FORWARD!!!

    1. avatar RLC2 says:

      It will take some getting used to – but its a cleaner look- and everything seems to run fine with NoScript on, DNT, and Ghostery blocking 8 widgets,

      so thanks for not sticking us with java applets or Disqus to comment…

  7. avatar In Memphis says:

    Any chance we could ever see a more freindly mobile theme? I can type short comments in the box but anything larger I have taken Matt In FLs advice and typed it in a text message then copy and paste to here. The problem is if I excede the size of the text box here, I can not scroll through the message without scrolling the entire page. So basically, if I click out of the text box for a moment, I cant scroll down to where I left off. Not sure how else to describe it but would I love to see that fixed if y’all get what I am describing.

  8. avatar elbushy says:

    My iPhone likes it.

  9. avatar joe smith says:

    I like the other theme better. I really don’t want to have to get used to a new one.

    1. avatar Joe S. says:

      Please change it back by morning please

  10. avatar Matt in SD says:

    MY EYES!!!!!!!!

  11. avatar Frank says:

    Change=bad

  12. avatar DJ9 says:

    Did we permanently lose the link in the top menu bar that goes to the forums?

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      Working on it. I’m half drunk and at the end of a 10 hour shift, some things won’t work for a few.

      1. avatar DJ9 says:

        Well, get busy! After you’ve finished getting drunk, you can “pivot” to finishing the site upgrade!

        (I keed, I keed, thanks for all your hard work, and the same to anyone who is helping you, too!)

      2. avatar Sean says:

        Gotta hit the Balmer Peak.

        http://xkcd.com/323/

  13. avatar Steve says:

    This must be the fast food restaurant theme……

  14. avatar Mark Horning says:

    This theme is super ugly and hard to read. Go back to the light tan one.

  15. avatar Mark Horning says:

    Oh yeah, the side arrow? Java. Java is the spawn of Satan. Java is evil. Java makes sites load slower than Barbra Boxer trying to do differential equations.

    1. avatar In Memphis says:

      Switch to decaf?

      I kid of course.

    2. avatar Russell says:

      Box A Rox doing math = good one!
      You cracked me up!

  16. avatar C says:

    I could maybe get used to the layout, but i really liked the old background color. Font could stand to be more bold and the divider between comments is barely visible.

  17. avatar Charles5 says:

    If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Initial impression is Blah, but I may get used to it.

  18. avatar miserylovescompany says:

    You can probably reduce the font to 14 point when your hangover dissipates 😉 If this does away with the awful Java stuff (my computer constantly tells me a Java update is needed) then I’d be perfectly happy with the funky red background. fwiw, the site looks the same as always on my cheap smartphone (straight talk samsung galaxy proclaim).

    Also, and this is a big one for me – please restore the ‘X number comments’ feature ASAP! It’s a useful way to gauge interest in a given topic at a glance.

  19. avatar gof says:

    My initial reaction was WTF, have I somehow reached a cooking show sight, or maybe a shopping site? Once I had confirmed it, I thought…blech.

    Then a resounding…meh.

    I will say a san serif font is harder to read than serif.

  20. avatar JuanCudz says:

    AAHHHH!!!! It Burns Preciousssss!!!!

  21. avatar Gtfoxy says:

    In a word:

    LAME

  22. avatar benny says:

    no…
    just no….

    “i say we nuke the site from orbit. its the only way to be sure.”

  23. avatar g says:

    Hmmm. The red color I associate more with “The Firearm Blog”… not sure I’m liking this theme.

  24. avatar DrVino says:

    yech…

  25. avatar JW says:

    HOO HOO!

  26. avatar Not So 1337 says:

    Eh… I’m not really feeling it. Kinda… too simple.

  27. avatar AngryGerman says:

    The title font is horrible. You can see where the edges are breaking…

    As for the format, nothing has really changed. Ads are on the right. Article, then a bunch of ranting from the followers below.

    Some changes to the color, but nothing special.

    1. avatar brian says:

      Agreed on the title font

  28. avatar Ryan says:

    The tier comments on this theme are terrible. It’ll make it harder to have conversations on the story.
    Not a fan of the font either.

  29. avatar Dirk Diggler says:

    Nick – sorry but at this hour you should be doing other things and not geek theme revisions. I volunteer to set up a fund to help pay for a date (dinner, movie) and ultimately, get you laid, maybe not by someone of Robert’s high standards, but with the lights off, everyone is a supermodel.

    I will put in $20. C’mon boys – just send me your cash. :-). It is for the children(TM).

  30. avatar Hoosier57 says:

    It is not bad, I like it . I got to say at least the change is not like youtube or google, forcing you for hours to figure it out, while flipping s**t.

  31. avatar In Flagrante Veritas y Libertas says:

    Like the old style much better. It showed some unique character. This style is just magaziney/corporate-ish.

    Hate the red banner that I can’t get rid of. Takes up waaaaay to much space. If it would stay at the top of the page instead of the top of the browser window I wouldn’t mind so much.

  32. avatar J in Ga says:

    Meh. You’re a lot better at writing articles then messing with site themes.

  33. avatar Stu says:

    The (nearly) white background is harder on the eyes when those of us insomniacs are reading this blog while try to keep the house dark for the family. The tan wasn’t quite as bad.

    The black print with the red and white menus/background, the first thought that came to mind was the Nazi flag. The color combo just seems too harsh. I personally don’t have big issues with the font either way.

    I understand you are trying to improve things, but why does everyone nowadays insist on improving on a great thing and instead ‘effing’ it all up? Kind of reminds me of what they are doing to the US Constitution.

  34. avatar Pascal says:

    I am Ok with the new theme, put not how it displays on mobile devices. The header menu takes up the whole screen. Look at this mobile theme –> touch.wtnh.com

    See how they have the floating menu at the bottom and the menu button at the top left hand corner. This allows you to have more screen for reading and there is less scrolling.

    As far as the background, checkout the Arstechnica.com website for an example for layout and the fact they allow users to change background colors and fonts

  35. avatar user3369 says:

    Not even a little bit of a fan. Looks terrible

  36. avatar sota says:

    call me when you switch back.

    seriously, this new theme is an offensive assault on my eyes.

    1. avatar Mark Davis says:

      true that.

  37. avatar Mike in NC says:

    Very slight improvement over the last theme on wider screens. Too bad none of the themes seem to scale for wider windows.

    At first glance, there is one feature missing from the old theme which I have come to rely on for following comment conversations: The direct link to comments (with count) for each article on the main page. Please bring back this functionality.

  38. avatar NWGlocker says:

    I won’t mind the font but I used to view the desktop version on my iPhone (didn’t like he limitations of the mobile format). The new theme doesn’t play nice.

  39. avatar Totenglocke says:

    I like the overall format, I’m just not the greatest fan of using red for the main bar (though I love how the main bar follows you as you scroll down the page).

  40. avatar JeffR says:

    Take a look at the new theme from an iPad. The spacing is way off and jams all of the text to the left side of screen with lots of blank space on the right side. The text also seems to be pushed lower, so that it feels like your only able to view content in the lower left corner of the screen. Not an enjoyable experience.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I don’t know if this is causing the “pushed to the left” issue that JeffR is talking about, but on my phone, the banner ad at the bottom of the page is rendering at more than double the width of the page content, like this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/qu7on4o57yzn28q/2013-08-02%2008.45.00.png

      About one time in (a lot), the page will show up like it “should,” with the content fully filling the width of the screen, but that’s just my browser zooming in. The superwide banner is still down there, and it’s possible to scroll to the right into blank white space.

      Also, due to the cartoonishly large font, this is how tier 3 and tier 4 comments render on my phone: https://www.dropbox.com/s/l1vliiw7m2cnjc7/2013-08-02%2008.57.51.png

      The old theme used to do the “one word width” thing back in the day, but it didn’t happen ’til tier 5 or 6, which is why y’all limited it to 4 levels.

      Also, I just discovered something else I dislike. Under the old theme, when you hit Reply to another comment, it would open the reply window directly under the comment you were replying to. Under this theme, it scrolls all the way to the bottom of the page to open the Reply box. This is very inconvenient if you’re trying to cut quotes from the person you’re replying to, because you have to then scroll up the page to find the original comment.

      1. avatar brian says:

        Ditto on the annoying comment feature

  41. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

    Put my vote in the “NO” column to the new theme.

    Old look = warm, relaxing, elegant
    New look = cold, clinical, cheap

  42. avatar P-dog says:

    This is one of those themes that want-to-be blogs use… you know, like websites that don’t get any views… just sayin.

  43. avatar bluezdood says:

    Ditch the white background.

  44. avatar loub says:

    h8ters abound, damn yo! The old theme was soooo OFWG

  45. avatar Christian says:

    Thumbs up – I like the new theme…I like clinical and professional themes. The old theme was okay, this one feels more like a professional news source. All down to personal preference, but I happen to like it a lot.

  46. avatar OODAloop says:

    Nick, this is what it looks like on an iPhone in Chrome
    http://i1063.photobucket.com/albums/t501/cminigo/2013-08-02055711_zps9c24e39e.png

    Not very pretty and half the screen is whitespace…

  47. avatar Mike in NC says:

    For those of us with the lower-cost “TN” LCD panels, there is too little contrast between the background and the light-grey body text.

  48. avatar JAS says:

    Looks like a phone app on my laptop. Thumbs down.

  49. avatar racer88 says:

    Yeah…. I’ll chime in with those that don’t like the new theme. Is the the new “Twenty Thirteen” theme from WordPress? I ran my blog through the preview feature and didn’t like it at all – and rejected it. It really is not appealing at all. It’s a step down from the previous theme for a number of reasons.

    First… the proportions are really bad. The “content” or articles are now only about 60% of the screen with the “widget area” (links column on the right side of the page) taking up a disproportionate 40% of the screen. It’s as if the content is being DE-emphasized and the widgets emphasized.

    There’s too much white space. Even the spacing between the comments is too much.

    The colors just aren’t right. I’m not a graphic design maven…. but, I just don’t like them.

    Change for the sake of change is not always a good move. Go back. Go back! 🙂

  50. avatar Crashbbear says:

    I don’t care for the colors. Commie red and stark white = to bright. Me thinks a gun metal grey and parchment would be better. but who am I? not like graphic design is my job or anything /sarc/

    and im on an iPad, but there’s a quarter of page space that has nothing in it, to the right of the ad space.

  51. avatar SubZ says:

    Fix it til it’s broke? I hate when sites confuse change with improvement. OK, I’ll quit bitchin now.

    Can you bring back the titles to previous and next entries?

  52. avatar T-Money says:

    The old theme was better. This one doesn’t look as professional. It looks cartoonish, like something a child would use for their site if they had one.

  53. avatar Sam S says:

    Like a few readers above, I read TTAG almost exclusively from my phone in desktop mode. Not really feeling this new theme, odd colors and difficult to read on a phone, my vote is to go back to the old one

  54. avatar TheThingThatGoesUp says:

    You need to lose the red. It’s the worst possible color choice for a number of reasons.

  55. avatar Tom says:

    the new layout sucks.

  56. avatar Skeev says:

    This new theme has a very generic WordPress/Tumblr/Blogspot feel to it, the colors, the fonts, everything.

    Also, the new font has a grayed out appearance on my monitors making it look moderately blurred and definitely not as easy on the eyes.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      Yes…. gray font against white background (on my laptop) = difficult to read.

      Seriously… the previous theme was MUCH better.

  57. avatar Matt in FL says:

    Hey, you know who else uses cartoonishly large sans serif fonts? Gun control advocates. See? http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/08/foghorn/gun-control-advocates-playbook-leaked/

  58. avatar Merits says:

    I’m afraid the voting on the new look is showing our demographics. Fresh? Clean? Bright? Modern? Yeah, it’s atrocious.

  59. avatar Runnerzdad says:

    this grey is a PITA to read. Can we at least go back to black?

  60. avatar shawn says:

    Can you set it up so we can type in a specific page number and it jumps straight to that page

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      You can do that already, by just appending /page/3/ onto the URL in the address bar, if you want.

  61. avatar I_Like_Pie says:

    Here is my objective take on the new layout.

    I like the feel of the new format, but there seems to be too much white space. I like contextually rich, detailed, and efficient layouts. I believe that this one can accomplish that,but it needs to “squish” (for a lack of a better word) the unused white space in the new layout.

  62. avatar KMc says:

    It wasn’t broke, so why did you “fix” it? Change. It. Back. Now.
    Thanks.

  63. avatar gof says:

    You know what? I don’t hate the new theme. I can live with it as long as there is good content.

    My previous comment about the font selection stands. I was writing earlier on my Android tablet. Now that I am at work on my widescreen monitor I am having trouble seeing the font.

    Yes, I am an OFWG with eyes that are not as good as the young whipper snappers…..LOL

    Please consider a less modern font (hint, one with serifs) for your posts and comments. The comments about the greyness of the font are correct. When reading, contrast is your friend.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I’m really disliking the non-full-black text. It’s fuzzy and constantly feels like I need to blink because my screen is “not quite in focus.” http://i.imgur.com/2V5y9q2.png

      On a related note, I’m sure it’s got some theory behind it like “keeping the focus on the content,” but I really dislike the way the “Recent Comments” section looks, with the names in full black but the post titles in even lighter shade of gray than the main body text. The contrast with the white background is so low that I can’t just glance at it, I have to look at it and read it.

      This whole theme is just really, really, really bad. The pushback on this seems to have been stronger than it was on Disqus. Can we end the experiment now, please?

  64. avatar brian says:

    Just my thoughts here: I hated the old “new” look the last time around but I got used to it. If you left everything the same, I’d probably learn to love it in a week or two. That said:

    Grey text on white is extremely hard to read.

    Consider going back to a serif typeface. It’s much easier to read in large blocks than sans serif.

    Red is an angry color.

    I know you’re not just fiddling with things for the heck of it, but change without improvement is not a good thing.

    Part of what has made you guys so successful is that you have learned to not take things personally and listen to your audience’s input. Hopefully you’ll do that in this case as well.

  65. avatar brian says:

    I also miss the link to the comments/comment counter on each post from the home page.

    1. avatar racer88 says:

      +1

      I’m unable to find a single “improvement” with this new theme. But, I can find many things that are worse… much worse.

  66. avatar K says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What have you done, Nick?!?!???????!!!!!!!! It’s bad enough that The Firearm Blog got a crappy new theme, but if TTAG switches permanently I’ll break something.

  67. avatar cz82mak says:

    There’s a 2″ thick red bar with a few links on it running across the top of the page.

    Is this the new cool thing to do? It’s really annoying.

    1. avatar Mark Horning says:

      It was a new cool thing to do 8-10 years ago. Now it just screams low-rent and dated. You can make it go away by turning off javascript.

  68. avatar Mark Davis says:

    the new format looks like sh*t.

  69. avatar Don says:

    I like the clean looking layout but the background is a bit bright. If that could be toned down a bit it would be really nice. If the text could be black instead of gray that would be better too. A color other than red for the menus would be a bit warmer. This theme is very similar to TheFirearmBlog as it is.

    -D

  70. avatar Frank says:

    Man, have you seen the firearm blog? You must have…because the new format looks almost EXACTLY LIKE IT.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      Heh, that’s kinda funny. The still use ugly Arial, though at least theirs is a reasonable 11 point or so, not cartoonishly large. Oh, and theirs is full black, not sorta-kinda 70% gray.

      Arial is still crap, though. It’s fine for one or two sentence blurbs, but in the kind of multi-line paragraph content that’s often seen here, it becomes pretty hard to read.

  71. avatar Ed Ranger says:

    Admittedly my default reaction to any changes is: “NO!”.

    Having said that, I have given this several hours and numerous return visits to adjust myself to it, but it ain’t happening. Too Bright. Altho, after staring at the site on my desktop, I have decided to be checked for cataracts……when ever I look away from the screen, my vision blurs.

    Having not been aware of any problem that warranted this change, my vote is to return to the happy state we all resided in yesterday. As others have said, this appears to be a solution where there was no problem…….You are not planning on running for Congress are you?

  72. avatar Stephen says:

    There is a loss in functionality in that I cannot go directly tot he comments. I have to click an article then scroll down. Minor but annoying.

  73. avatar matt_ says:

    I hate the new theme, from the stupid red pop up menu bar that wastes 20% of my iPad screen real estate, to the lack of direct links to a post’s comments section on front page blurb, to…. Yech…

  74. I do NOT like the navigation of this theme. My standard practice was to come into TTAG, hit the older posts link at the bottom of the page until I got to an article I recognized and then go into full article mode and use the link to the next story (at the top if I didn’t feel like reading the whole thing) or at the bottom above the replies.

    Now, I can’t easily back up a few dozen stories and the next/previous controls only appear if I actually scroll down a bit.

    Not good usability for me.

    Richard Jensen

  75. avatar macgearailt says:

    What the hell? Why are you fixing that which isn’t broken? Visual assault !

  76. avatar Daniel Silverman says:

    Nick I don’t mind the layout, but can we change the color. All the red is just a bit bright. Maybe something in a more earth tone, green or blue.
    Also the mobile format seems ok.

  77. avatar Nelson says:

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  78. avatar Tom says:

    The iPad theme is good.

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