'Splainin' to Do

mouseThis morning, I blew up this website. I run this site with Movable Type, so all the entries, pages, comments, categories, etc. reside in a MySQL database. That gives me a lot of flexibility when it comes to site redesigns. Once I write the new CSS and XHTML, I just have to paste them into the right templates and publish the site.

If you hate the changes, blame Twitter. My old design was from the pre-Twitter era when I needed one column for navigation and Adsense and another for content. Now, as I Tweet more and more, I needed a third column for my most recent Tweets. That's the spark that set this site ablaze.

While I was mucking around, I finally fixed my pagination issue. The pagination within categories now displays 10 at a time and actually adds up. I also killed the ad at the top of the category pages, because I thought it looked awful.

I also got rid of the popular header status message feature, because I don't have time to create a new image every day. Throw in a new favicon and a few other tweaks, and it's all new. Whether it's all good or not, that's yet to be seen.

Please share constructive criticism below. I'd love to see some change requests. Whattyathink?

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Comments (43 - click here to join in!)


I like the Tweets on the right - one stop shopping.

It's a nice clean layout. I like it.

March 17, 2009 @ 3:37 PM


I love the layout...very clean! The text is quite light on my computer? Maybe darken it up a bit?

March 17, 2009 @ 4:11 PM


I don't like it.

March 17, 2009 @ 4:30 PM


Looks great! I like the layout. Totally agree with Alison.....your colour scheme gives it a washed out look. Make you blue hue a little brighter and am not fond of the grey shade to the text. A bit of a strain to read for my eyes. How do you coordinate your blog posts with twitter is there a specific application or does it have to be done manually?

March 17, 2009 @ 5:44 PM

james edgar

BRING BACK the "popular header status message feature"even if it's not daily. Those are often a highlight .AND they're popular! Jill is right darken the text. On my work laptop with the high resolution I think it would be hard to read.

March 17, 2009 @ 6:01 PM


The text has to be darkened quite a lot. You should try to have something unique in your blogs appearance as very similar to many others.

March 17, 2009 @ 6:25 PM


So wait a minute, what's gonna happen to "a week in headers"?

March 17, 2009 @ 7:43 PM

Toronto Mike

I'm back from kicking ass in volleyball. Good feedback...

I just changed the default font colour to #000 a.k.a black. The best contrast is always black on white, so this should make it easier to read.

Jill, I use twitterfeed which takes my RSS feed and auto-updates twitter. It's not manual at all, because Movable Type auto-updates the RSS feed. Blogger would do the same for you.

The_Voice, A Week In Headers would die. When I was doing that daily, I'd literally edit a PSD file in Photoshop every day, upload it to my web server to put it live on the site and upload it to Flickr so I could do that "Week in Headers" thing every Friday. I just thought it was a bit much.

I think I'll replace The Week of Headers with The Week in Comments, posting the ten most interesting comments every week.

Keep your feedback coming!

March 17, 2009 @ 9:08 PM


Most of the content text looks fine to me in terms of contrast, but you need to tweak your form CSS. The text that I enter into the comment form is barely visible against the background (name, email and url only, the comment text itself is fine). Also the "preview" and "post" buttons are barely visible.

March 17, 2009 @ 9:09 PM

Toronto Mike

Oh and Sammi, I'm not surprised. You're like Argie without the sense of humour.

March 17, 2009 @ 9:19 PM

Toronto Mike

Daniel, I just changed the input colour in the CSS. It's black, now.

March 17, 2009 @ 9:35 PM

Buffalo Boy Mike

Mike I like it, I need to learn more

March 17, 2009 @ 9:38 PM


My honest feedback - not trying to be a dick - it looks like one of the templates I can choose from Blogger over on my blog...it's boring man.

March 17, 2009 @ 10:20 PM


I'm with Elvis on this one (there's a sentence I never thought I'd say)! I think the other one was better. Or try to keep both sidebars on one side - left or right, you chose.

March 17, 2009 @ 11:12 PM

Toronto Mike

Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant shit to me...

March 17, 2009 @ 11:15 PM


Do you need a sense of humor to like this washed out new look you have? Looks like you created it on an old IBM typewriter.

March 18, 2009 @ 6:32 AM

Toronto Mike

The primary objective with this redesign was to bring Twitter into the fold. I wanted to give Tweets a pronounced place on every page.

The secondary objective with this redesign was to make the content king. Make it easy to read and find what you're looking for.

I don't think I'm done. It might be a little too clean. I'm thinking I need a third accent colour, and maybe a graphical header.

This evolution will be televised.

March 18, 2009 @ 9:30 AM

stephanie Wilkinson

Am I the only one on a mac that has everything completely centred? If so, what do I have to do when I'm using this computer to see it the way I'm supposed to? Currently, all tweets are at the very top and then everything else is underneath but every line is centred.

March 18, 2009 @ 9:58 AM

Toronto Mike

I've only actually check this out in Firefox and IE in Windows.

Are you using Safari?

March 18, 2009 @ 10:05 AM

Toronto Mike

I just checked it in Firefox on Linux and it's fine. Stephanie, can you email me a screen cap of what you see?

March 18, 2009 @ 10:37 AM

Toronto Mike

I threw my Mac quandary at Twitter and bflosenrab helped out right away.

"@torontomike I checked it in both Firefox and Safari and it looks normal"

March 18, 2009 @ 11:15 AM


Hey, I'm seeing a large blank space in the middle column. The middle column doesn't start until below the right column. I'm usingn IE6.

March 18, 2009 @ 11:26 AM

Toronto Mike

Stupid IE6. I hated that browser. It never did play right with valid CSS.

I could throw some hacks in the CSS and get it to work in IE6, but IE7 has been out for a while, and IE8 is a heartbeat away.

Ray and other IE6 users, embrace tabbed browsing and update your browsers! http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie/getitnow.mspx

March 18, 2009 @ 11:33 AM


Wanna email my IT department then?

Sending you a screenshot of what I see now.

March 18, 2009 @ 11:55 AM

Toronto Mike

Luckily for me, Mr. Elvis, I know you're an RSS man via Google Reader, so nothing actually changed for you until you decided to swoop in and bless me with your comments.

Ok, I see the issue in IE6. IE6 doesn't like the CSS.

I have three columns: Navigation, Content and Sidebar.

In the CSS, I have the Navigation float: left and the Sidebar float: right.

If there's a quick fix, I'll do it. If it becomes a pain in the ass I'll have to remind myself this is just a hobby and blame IE6 users for not using Firefox and for not updating IE. :-)

March 18, 2009 @ 12:41 PM

Toronto Mike

Ok, I just added a clear: right to my #sidebar CSS.

Now I need someone with IE6 to check it out for me... please.

March 18, 2009 @ 12:50 PM


IE6 user here. Still have the problem of the content column not starting until below the sidebar.

March 18, 2009 @ 1:55 PM

Toronto Mike

I did some Googling and it seems there's this IE6 float bug that I didn't anticipate. Heck, I may as well drop the DIVs and make it a good old fashioned HTML table.

Or maybe I'll blow it up and try something completely different....

March 18, 2009 @ 2:02 PM

Toronto Mike

I decided to drop the pure CSS solution for an HTML table. Say what you will about the table, but every damn browser knows what to do with it.

Let me know if this is still broken for you...

March 18, 2009 @ 2:39 PM

Toronto Mike

Ray! Where are ya?

I just need confirmation that this works in IE6.

And for the record, I like this look - everything in its right place. *pats self on back*

March 18, 2009 @ 3:38 PM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com


i commented on another entry about this

it's way too busy and hard to focus IMHO

yeah it's one stop shoppping.. but it's overkill

i think i liked two layouts ago the best

March 18, 2009 @ 7:19 PM


This is just another reason for me to not like Twitter.

March 19, 2009 @ 7:03 AM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com


i'm no dummy! my eyes just can't focus with al the distracting trendy twitter hullaballoo on the side!

March 19, 2009 @ 7:04 AM

Jason | GetYourOJ.com

You've inspired me to write a parody. It's going to be called "twitter me softly"

~Twitter me softly with his blog.. twitter me softy... with this blogggggggggg... twitter the whole night... ~

March 19, 2009 @ 7:07 AM

Toronto Mike

Maybe I'll give the Twitter sidebar a different background to make it easier. You might have a point...

~Twitter me softly with his blog.. twitter me softy... with this blogggggggggg... twitter the whole night... ~

March 19, 2009 @ 9:15 AM

Toronto Mike

I think you guys were right - it looks way better with the Twitter sidebar shaded off to differentiate that column from the main content column.

Any more tweaks?

March 19, 2009 @ 8:22 PM


Try browsershots.org, it helps :)

March 20, 2009 @ 2:07 AM


Site is formatted fine with IE8 btw.

March 20, 2009 @ 6:46 AM


Looks good in IE6 now. Keep up the good work!

March 20, 2009 @ 8:46 AM

Toronto Mike

I heard IE8 came out yesterday.

The old Mike used to say "Get Firefox". The new Mike says, "You obviously aren't going to Get Firefox, so update to IE8".

March 20, 2009 @ 9:17 AM

Toronto Mike

And a quick note about browsershots.org...

I used to swear by it, but now you get 30 minutes for free and the common browsers never display in under 30 minutes, so it expires.

Daniel, have you tried it lately? I think they're pushing the $22 / month plan, because browsershots.org was absolutely no help to me.

March 20, 2009 @ 9:18 AM

Florance Lindburg

What is the best place for background checks that are not on the Internet?

February 8, 2010 @ 10:19 PM

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