Tuesday, June 08, 2010

More changes around here

You'll notice some more changes to the layout. This will happen for a while still, while I learn php and simplepie and whatever else I need to make it look just right. Here's what I've done lately:

  • I got rid of the Status page. This was brilliant in that you don't really need a whole page just for 140 characters. Instead, I have my status (from Twitter still) posted as the blog description, under my name in the top left of every page. It updates automatically. The feed is the same, so if you subscribed to my Twitter posts, you're still all set with that.

  • I made my blog the front page. Without the status page, this seemed like an obvious move. Now, when you click on my name or go to ericachampion.com, you get the latest blog posts.

  • I moved the navigation bar to the bottom. Without needing to click on "Blog" to get there, the navigation bar didn't seem that important. Now it only links to the about me page, links to friends, and my google reader shared items page. So I moved it to the bottom. On those pages, it still appears in big white letters, but in the blog posts it shows up as a vertical list in the bottom right. I also changed the titles of these pages, for shits and giggles.

  • Improved formatting on the links and about me pages. It was bugging me that the gray background box changed places on these pages (and the reader page) compared to the blog page, so I added some meta data to the left to bump it over. Actually, I only added some filler for meta data. I'll probably end up putting some of my own links there, but I haven't decided yet. If you have any ideas, let me know.

  • Formatting of reading in progress. I wasn't happy with the way the Recommended Reading plugin was displaying my Google Reader Shared Items feed, so I set it up using SimplePie. This is better because it shows the title and publication date in the same way as the regular blog does. However, the Google Reader feed is dumb in that it combines my annotation (comment) with the actual shared item content, so each item has a little blockquote bit at the beginning saying "Shared by Erica" and whatever I had to say about it, which is ugly, first of all, and it is a link, which is dumb, and I want it out of there. I would rather display that annotation on the left, with the publication date. I also want to add over there the source of the post (e.g., Lifehacker) and any tags I may have given it. However, I'm not a SimplePie ninja yet, so I don't know how to split the shared items feed and grab custom tags. So I'm still working on that bit.

Any suggestions or comments to further improve my design would be welcome. (M, is the blog feed still funky for you? I tried using Feedburner to fix it.)

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