Oooh, sniny!

I don’t know how long it will be up (maybe permanently), but Lousy Canuck is now using the new site redesign template. Take a look, it may soon be sweeping through all the FtB sites.

If you’re concerned about the font size (I am), I’m also pretty sure I’ll be able to tweak little things like that once it’s in place. I’m kind of fond of the familiar 14pt Georgia I use here.


  1. says

    I do like the new FTB logo, but, like you, I’m not wild about the smaller, sans-serif Arial. Why do web designers love that font and only that font for websites? Hopefully we will be able to tweak and choose once the new design goes live network-wide.

  2. says

    Yeah, we should be able to. Go to the control panel, then the appearance menu, and then the “edit css” widget — it lets you tack on additional css definitions.

  3. jose says

    Martin, I believe there are a handful of addons for firefox and chrome that will let you tweak styles by domain, so that your changes apply to the whole of FTB. Stylish comes to mind.

  4. Randomfactor says

    Guess I’m going to have to tweak my screen resolution again, or just dig into the stash for a wider monitor.

    I’m celebrating my realization that the gahdoffal scrolling Pimsleur etc. ads seem to be gone, though…waiting for them to finish unreeling so I could close them was seriously pissing me off.

  5. Stella says

    Yes, please use a readable, serif font.

    Why is the FTB logo so far out of proportion to everything else?


  6. rq says

    Better font would be nice; this one makes FtB look like any other old site, and I like it looking a bit different. Otherwise, shiny!

  7. Sunday Afternoon says

    Sniny, yes, but I agree with Stella – the FTB logo is way out of proportion, dominating the screen at the expense of the blog banner and actual content.

    Another observation is that the blog banner is offset to the right with respect to the content of the blog. This is also the case with the original theme but it is less noticeable to me for some reason. In the new theme, this looks very disjointed. What if the huge FTB logo and blog banner were to swap?

    Agree too that the font is just a shade too small.

  8. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    The blogroll is too far down page and the list of recent posts that includes all FtB doesn’t exist.

    I will read many fewer posts if the all-FtB post list is absent or buried. Ophelia Benson, in particular, will lose out. She has a way of writing great titles that suck me in, but then covers topics about which I’m aware on in ways that don’t go beyond my own opinion. You might think I’d want to read someone that agrees with me, but really I’m interested in someone who thinks differently – although someone who thinks similarly but is exposed to very different news is great: then I won’t have already done similar analysis when I read the news item b/c I won’t have read the news item.
    I’m rarely sad I spent the time to read something @ Butterflies, but the overlap in our awareness & thinking is too great for me to seek her out independently all that often.

    And yet… I still read many of her posts, just not because I read the front page of her blog. So she would lose out big time. Others might lose out to a lesser extent.

    And then there’s me. I wouldn’t get exposed to content that is otherwise very valuable to me.

    Plz make sure that is part of any new template.

  9. chezjake says

    Add me to the list of those who strongly prefer a larger, serif font.

    I also agree with Sunday Afternoon’s thoughts on the FTB logo.

  10. Pilum says

    Setting font size in pixels really is a stupid approach.

    And yes, the new size is so small that it’s a strain on my eyes.

  11. becca says

    I’ll agree, the font is way too small – this is what keeps me from reading Orac’s posts… I literally can’t read them.

    Count me in for a preference for serif fonts, as well. And I agree, the FTB blogroll should be higher up so I don’t have to go searching for it.

  12. steve oberski says

    @theophontes (坏蛋)

    Tiny text bad, big text good.

    My understanding is that big text uses more pixels and clogs up the intertubes.

    It’s also more expensive.

    San serif fonts are preferred to serif fonts as there is less chance that sharp edges will tear the fabric of the internet.

  13. says

    Widget placement (e.g. the sidebar) on my site is atypical of the rest of the network, at least for testing purposes. They’ll be rearranged, and bloggers have the option to do stuff with them. Including add custom CSS to tweak the size up on an individual blog, as PZ mentioned. It’s just that he seems to be the only one with both the know-how and willingness to tinker with it.

  14. Scientismist says

    Even as it is, I ever more frequently find myself cutting text and pasting it into an editor where I can control font, size, and word wrap. I looked at the sample of the new format, and found it even worse. For lengthy articles of interest, I will even load them as text to my Kindle, where the default is much more readable. But then I have to go back to the PC see the graphics. I tried following PZ’s suggestion — “Go to the control panel, then the appearance menu, and then the ‘edit css’ widget” — and could find no such menu on the control panel. Anybody got other suggestions for old, tired eyes?

    BTW, I still subscribe to the old Pharyngula on the Kindle, but it is almost useless. Besides only carrying occasional articles, anything “below the fold” is eliminated by Amazon, so it’s often only a teaser.

  15. muskiet says

    Forget font size, what’s up with all the advertisement?
    And that floating one is wreaking havoc on my mobile phone!
    Oh well… back to my mobile blog reader which makes it all look good again.

  16. carlie says

    Logo is HUGE. It’s taking up a very large amount of my laptop screen. The current layout has the first new post already a little more than halfway down the screen (if you include that there’s a browser bar taking up some space at the top as well); the new layout has the first new post about 3/4 down the page below the huge logo, huge banner, and huge ad. That’s really too much. Especially if it’s ok for the text in general to be smaller, why are the banners so much bigger?

  17. says

    #18: my instructions were for a fellow blogger — authors have the ability to tweak a few things. Doesn’t help a bit if you’re just a reader, sorry!

    I will be adjusting things to better suit my old eyes, though, if that helps.

  18. Lofty says

    It looks good on my 17 inch hi res laptop screen (I like sans serif font), but I can see it would be difficult on a small screen. Needs tweaking, to be ssshure.

  19. d.f.manno says

    @Rodney Nelson (#10):

    I like Ariel. It’s easier for me to read than serif fonts like Times New Roman.

    Readibility studies find that for text, especially long blocks of it, serif faces are easier to read than sans serifs.

  20. Amarantha says

    I read somewhere that sans-serif fonts are generally considered more readable on screens and serif fonts on paper. Apologies for lack of citation. It might have been the Head First book that taught me HTML.

  21. davem says

    <blockquote.If you’re concerned about the font size (I am), I’m also pretty sure I’ll be able to tweak little things like that once it’s in place. I’m kind of fond of the familiar 14pt Georgia I use here.
    I prefer the new one. The small print is a big difficult, but not as difficult as the old one.

    To those who object to the font being too small, just hit Ctrl-+ – that sorts it out for me. Chrome remembers that you did that for all the FTB blogs. Probably FF and IE do the same?

  22. Heather H says

    I don’t care for the new style. Also, I have read that Serif fonts are better for blocks of text, it makes the type flow better, Georgia being one of the best styles. While sans-serif is ideal for titles and short strings of text.

  23. DLC says

    suggestions : font size needs to be at least 12. Arial is easy to ‘get lost in’ if you’re dyslexic or tired. or dyslexic and tired.
    Honestly it looks a bit too slick and … bubbly. the borders between areas of the page are a bit too sharp. It’s an odd esthetic perhaps.

  24. psanity says

    The font size looks OK to me now; maybe Jason tweaked it? I agree with others that the logo is too big. It manages to overpower while looking very bland and dull — that may be the gray-and-red. By shoving the title banner over so far, it makes the blog title visually subservient to the ad banner.

    The format of the frontpage is very cold and severe. It looks more like a comment page, with the “date” block standing in for comment numbers.

    I’m actually fond of Ariel, and find it easy to read, but in the new format it just seems to add to the general blandness.

    If a “cleaner” look is what’s wanted, please find a way to visually distinguish the title banner and sidebar content from the ads; I’m sure I’m not the only one who disables AdBlock to support FtB, but if the ads are too distracting it’s very hard. (And BTW, please, by everything unholy, that floaty one has got to go. Please. I’ll send money.) Also, get rid of the multiple horizontal lines between posts. Whitespace looks much less busy and more, I dunno, literary.

    A new logo is welcome, but I’d have hoped for one with a little vitality.

    So, other than that, it looks great! (crab, crab, crab…)

  25. timberwoof says

    As annoying as it may be to the graphic designer, work from the assumption that the text is the important part. Keep the font a nice readable serif font in black on white. Not black on gray, not gray on black, not dark gray on light gray. And large enough to read, too, please: The lenses in my eyes are not as squishy as they used to be.

    Messing with browser settings to subvert the graphic designer’s artistic intent and actually read the text is annoying. Don’t lead me to conclude that the presentation is more important than the content.

  26. Stella says

    In order to read any text on FTB I have to use 4v magnification. I also have to enlarge the text in Firefox seven or eight times. Don’t make it more difficult for me, please. I’m already scrolling horizontally and coping with text that overlaps other text.

    Readability, please. I have no clue what’s in most of the pictures here; please don’t mess up the text.

    Thank you.


  27. Olav says

    Timberwoof, #31:

    As annoying as it may be to the graphic designer, work from the assumption that the text is the important part.

    QFT. The less styling and d-zign, the better.

    Keep the font a nice readable serif font in black on white.

    Agree 100% with regards to black on white. Concerning type style and size, why specify them at all? Users can set their own preference in the settings of any modern browser. People forget this because on most websites it does not have much effect. So, do not be one of most websites ;-)

    Pages should be readable and structurally/logically correct even when CSS-support is disabled altogether. That way, even the blind can use them.

    For seeing users, the emphasis on banners and logos that take up vertical space is unfortunate, both in the present and in the new design. My laptop has a 1366×768 screen, not uncommon at all I believe. But it means that in the vertical, there is not much space and it gets divided over panels, toolbars, statusbars, browser tabs etc. Then a nice big “FTB” logo shows up and only half the screen height remains for reading…

  28. janeymack says

    Do not like! The font is big enough to read (maybe it has been tweaked by now?) but the whole thing is seriously ugly.

    I don’t like the new logo–way too big (and I never thought there was anything wrong with the old one, besides). Shrink the logo and enbiggen the individual blog banner; that might help.

    But taking a second, serious look at it, to see if I could articulate what I disliked about it, I finally came to the conclusion that it just looks too crowded. It’s hard to read not because of the font size, but because everything is just to squished. Part of that seems to be the dark borders down the sides. Needs more “breathing room,” somehow. I wasn’t originally that thrilled with the format here–thought maybe it had too much blank space–but comparing now, the more white space option is much easier to read.

    And pretty much everything timberwoof said in #31. I come here for the content, not for a fancy design. A “nice” design will not keep me here if the content is crap; unfortunately, a design that makes the content harder to find and/or read *will* frustrate me and chase me away. That new design is verging on the “chase me away” territory. I realize it is still being tweaked (I hope he tweaks hard).

    Keep it simple; keep it clean!

  29. michaelparmeley says

    Just set the font size to 1 em and then people can adjust if they want with ctrl/cmd +/-. On all browsers I know of 1 em is 16 pixels. Large text in a sans-serif font like Arial or Verdana are the easiest to read.

    When I go to Lousy Canuck the font size is reasonable large (larger than it is currently on Pharyngula). So I am not sure why people are complaining about it being too small (unless it has been changed since those comments were posted).

  30. bruceh says

    I don’t mind the sans-serif font so much, but the line spacing could be increased. Decenders meet ascenders in several places, and that makes the entire block look clunky and disorganized.

  31. says

    It must be annoying that everyone has an opinion, but you might appreciate one coming from a pro. I’m happy to see motions to improve the site but I don’t think this design accomplishes much. Sorry. With all the graduations and cheesy icons (i.e., folders, calendars), it already looks dated. Colors are too heavy and aggressive. I don’t mind the new logo design itself too much but it’s waaaayy too big for an element that repeats itself throughout the entire site; no need to shout every time. Anyway – I really like what you do here so keep at it!

  32. StevoR says

    Sorry but I gotta say I preferred the old look.

    Minor thing but the new logo , just looks like a ‘T’ inside a ‘B’ with the ‘F’ kinda disappearing and I can imagine our critics making lost of cheap shots about the “free” part apparently being dropped. Think you have to make the ‘F’ clearer!

    Not sure why you’re feeling it necessary to change – the FTB blog style / format was fine as it was in my view. Let’s avoid any “New Coke” or “vegemite 2.0” type stuff ups here shall we hey?

  33. StevoR says

    Typo fix – lost of cheap shots = “lots of cheap shots” & I prefer the current look here.

    One thing I would prefer would be an editing function so we can fix typos like those perhaps with a reasons for editing box included like they have on the Bad Astronomy Universe Today forum.
    (Anyone else remember / go on that one?)