After a week spent tinkering unsuccessfully with the old design at Testing Mixed Bag, I finally gave up and started afresh on my return from Jaipur. The result is the current minimalist design that you see, and it didn’t take more than a few hours to finish. I began with the minima theme that you get as a standard blogger template, but it’s been modified beyond recognition.
I’ve incorporated the following external tools:
- ‘I recently read’:
is a list of the last 15 links that I’ve bookmarked and would like to share. These are updated frequently and automatically. I created a del.icio.us account and modified the code that Ankit had incorporated in his template. I’m using Firefox and have a ‘post to deli.cio.us’ link in my bookmarks toolbar.
- Tags used as Categories:
I’ve attempted to use Technorati tags as categories. I noticed that categories in WordPress are technorati tags- so why can’t it work the other way round? Even though old posts will not be included in the categories (I’ve tagged them and pinged technorati, but it doesn’t work), the new ones will.
The tags that you now see at the bottom of each post are also easier to add thanks to a Greasemonkey script for Firefox, again from Ankit, who had modified the original script.
- Blogrolling: I use the blogrolling list on my blog for visiting sites regularly, and not Google Reader (or even Bloglines), which I use for news. This means that I know when a page has been updated, or a new comment has been posted.
I focused on the following aspects of design:
- The width of the main content area should be increased and not demarcated: just about every blog has adopted the page down the middle style, with well defined borders (the WordPress/Kubrick effect).
- Increase the width of the sidebar to reduce the number of forced line breaks and make it more readable. This works particularly well for the ‘I recently read’ feature. Most blogs either try to limit the content in the sidebar, or have too many line breaks.
- No images in the template, lots of white, and simplicity of design and navigation.
Current issues with the design:
- The Japanese numbering which looked uber-cool doesn’t work with browsers other than IE, and on computers that don’t have the font installed. In Firefox, they’re replaced by question marks. I’ve replaced it with
greek numeralscircles, but they’re just not as good looking. But do they work for you, or do you see only question marks? I don’t like the thick bullets. Lack of indenting in the sidebar. Only works for blogrolling.– done! (Thanks Ankit) Visited links are underlined. Should change that to a ‘change in link-colour’, instead of a permanent underline. Too much underlining across the page, otherwise.– done!
- Distance between bullets and list items to be reduced
This template looks/works best when viewed with Firefox, 1024 x 768 screen resolution. It is still a work-in-progress. If you’ve got suggestions, do comment. Any useful tools or scripts?