Friday, April 7, 2017

An end to eight years of gray

Some changes are gradual, the result of lots of thought, planning and market testing.

Others occur overnight.

Kind of like the long overdue decision to change the layout of my blog, something I have not done once in its eight-year-and-three-month history, despite numerous advancements in layout design and the related technology.

Why has my blog been a drab, uninviting gray for its entire existence?

It's hard to say, except that every time I demo'd another template -- and I did check the other options every year or so -- I always came back to the good-old defining blandness of my status quo.

Mind you, I didn't really consider it bland. Rather, I decided I would let my banner do the talking, and would prize readability over all the other design flourishes that popped in and out of Blogger's offerings, some of which are still available. 

I've got other blogs I visit that are just too hard to read with the text they've chosen against the background they've chosen, and consequently, I just don't visit them as much anymore. (An overall lack of time the more children I've gotten -- from zero to two over the life of the blog -- has also contributed to this.) I didn't want my own site to be a site people stopped visiting because it hurt their eyes to look at. 

But it's time for a change. In fact, it's long past time for a change.

It's not a radical change, but it's all I can handle for right now. For example, it still retains the format where the top post appears on the top of the page, and the rest of the posts appear consecutively in reverse chronological order as you go down the page. There are other options for how to do this, believe me. Lots of them, even without porting my blog to a pay service like Squarespace. And some of them are quite attractive.

But on a lot of those other layout styles, where you see the artwork and post titles only and you have to click into them to get any text, it looked like I'd be losing attributes of my current blog. Some of the post titles were in all caps, and would lose the italics I stuck into them, replacing them with the actual HTML used to indicate italics (which looks like this, if you're interested: < i > and < /i > ). On others, the italics were lost in the body of the posts. And over eight-plus years of writing this blog, I've italicized a lot of movie titles. (Not to mention the italics I've used just for emphasis, as in the previous sentence.)

So this is what I've decided on, and I may explore some tweaks on it in the coming days if I decide there are things that don't read perfectly or that I can modify to the site's benefit. It retains most of what I like about my blog without remaining hindered by a slavish adherence to gray.

Will I stick with this for another eight years? Probably not. Now that I've dipped my toe in the water, I'll probably have the courage to be a bit more ambitious with my design layout, maybe even going for one of those other attractive layouts, italics be damned.

But for now, this is enough. I'm hesitant enough to officially make the change. But make the change I will.

Right ... now.  


Christopher Meade said...

I'm a newcomer to this blog and now you primarily from your prior work at AllMovieGuide. I just want to say that you are a fascinating presence in the reviewing world and that your reviews are great entertainment.

El Rondo said...


This is off topic but I have noticed in my blog dashboard there are links coming from this site. My blog is called God is Hate.

Is there a link to on one of your articles?


Derek Armstrong said...

Wow Christopher, thanks! It's been more than five years since I stopped writing for AllMovie but I do miss those days. Really nice to know that I made an impression. My reviews on ReelGood are linked on the blog -- the most recent three, anyway. Thanks for reading!

El Rondo, I don't think so as I have never heard of your site. Not sure how we would have gotten connected. But all traffic is good traffic, right?