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Look Familiar to You?

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You know, when I posted my whiny entry yesterday about how my layout was annoying me I had no intentions on changing it. I was going to fiddle with the structure a bit and get a search box added somehow, but then Rose said:

I like this layout better than the previous one, but I’d really love to see the return of something like these: past layout 13 / past layout 11 / past layout 08

(Past layout 11 being the original version of this one, released for the Fall CSS Reboot back in 2005.)

I admit, although I was fond of this design I grew very tired of it quickly, so I’ve no idea how long it will last. However, it has been tweaked to give it some new ‘life’ so it can’t be all bad. The search box is back, the drop-down menus are gone (HOORAH) and there are some new things: ‘quick’ image links to some of the features of the site on the Home page sidebar and five random categories displayed too.

At the moment there are some little glitches. The search box and button are not lined up and the whole thing is totally screwed up in IE because of it’s dislike for percantage-based paddings. I’ll be popping in a conditional statement for IE tomorrow morning (done) and in the mean-time you saddos still using IE need to get a better browser :p Feel free to mention any other bugs or breakages you spot.

As a final note, can I just say how amusing it was to watch some of you switch opinions so quickly? If you don’t like my layouts, say so! I’m not going to rip your head off unless you act like a knob. However, telling me one moment “OMG!!! I love it” and then quickly switching “Er, sorry, but I’m not a fan of this layout.” does not inspire me with confidence about your ability to give me an honest opinion. I’m not ‘picking’ on any one of you in particular (despite the given example), but half of you did it!

Updates/Feedback

Thanks for all of your feedback guys. :)

Some of the things that have been picked up on are ‘accidents’ due to a lack of time to fix them last night (it was almost midnight by the time I uploaded this/blogged, and I was tired). The colour of the navigation on hover, the messy looking quotes, etc. Other bits need me to research fixes — getting the sidebar to reach the footer in a fluid layout, etc.

If you’ve suggested a change/addition or noticed a bug, chances are I’ve got it in my list of things to-do, so keep your eyes out for my ‘fiddling’ this weekend. I’m also hoping to return to ‘normal’ posting and write about something other than my own site, but I’m not promising nuffin’ ;)

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

55 comments so far

  1. Sara said:

    I love the pixel-ish look of the header with the grid background. It’s techy, but very subtle. I’m also a huge fan of brick red with dark grey – it’s quite possibly one of my favourite colour combinations.

  2. Nick said:

    Wow, the screenshot does not give this layout justice. I like the techy-ness (its a word now :P) of it. I wish I was able to come up with layouts like you do. =)

  3. Katie said:

    I like this one better than the other one. Though I do wish the pattern of the sidebar didn’t stop when the content ends. I like things to line up. Ah well. Maybe a bottom border would help, so it has a real ‘ending’ instead of just ceasing to exist :D

  4. Corinne said:

    I’m not a fan of this one. I don’t like the header (or now the footer, what does it look like centered?) much. For me, the colors at the top clash. It’s kind of impersonal too. Although, if you were going for professional, I suppose you did it. It’s more functional. I like the last better than this, although–as I said before–there were elements to it that I didn’t like. Out of your layouts, I think I like 14 better. I didn’t see 13, but I might have liked it. (I’m going by the numbers in the images.) I do like the background. ;-)

  5. Kirsty said:

    I did like the other. Aside from the drop down navigation which just made me want to strangle them. Ahem. I rather like the simple, minimalistic look of this one though. IE should just die. I was amazed (and pleased) to find Firefox on a brand new Microsoft laptop as default browser. :)

  6. Stella said:

    o_______o I just here awhile ago and the layout is different, dudeeeee. :( Anyways, I like this a little bit, I did the your previous one. This one is a bit way too wideeeee or maybe it’s wide because I have a widescreen? I just like a professional look on some sites :( I need to learn how to code all over again

  7. Shannon said:

    I like the comment format, but the layout, in whole, looks disorganized somehow. The bolded quotes are annoying. The navigation just /ends/ when the content is longer. The bright (well, in comparison) red line under the headers and on the top image above ‘Jemjabella.co.uk’ doesn’t seem to match (especially when the top image’s red line meats the grey background). Hm. The headers in general seem strange. The top image gets a so-so rating to me. I like it, but it gets to me. I think it’s because the pattern is just… repeating.

  8. Carina said:

    I’m a big fan of bright colors, simple patterns and gradients and you incorporated them all very nicely. I love the way the sidebar has the gray pattern and the combination of red and blue is very cool. The only thing I think could be improved is the bottom of the sidebar- since the content on some pages is longer than the sidebar so that the bottom of the sidebar doesn’t have a border. I’m not a PHP or a CSS ninja so I don’t know if there is a way to fix it (If it was a fixed width layout I think you could use PHP ‘if’ height=00px then do this?). I love the way the comments are displayed. They are unique but not ‘message-board-like’. A problem I have a lot with layouts is using 2 colors. If I have, say a gray and lime green layout, if I add a full-color photo it looks odd because the colors of the photo look awful against the limited color of the layout. I don’t think this layout has that quality at all, it is very versatile and looks great. I just realized that on the original post I said, “I like the colors” and then on the one prior to this I said, “I don’t like the colors”. Um, I’m bipolar.

  9. Melissa said:

    I really like this one, but I liked everything about your previous layout except the image header! I especially like the comment layout. I don’t know why, it just strikes me as really neat and tidy without being totally boring. :)

  10. Sami said:

    I like everything about this layout, but the font in the image header. Everything looks really classy and professional and then the font sort of brings it down to a geocities template.

  11. Jack said:

    I don’t think I would have picked that bright a blue with that dark a red, but it works very well, probably because the blue compliments the grey and the red is a good contrast. I’d second the person above though who says that the sidebar stopping makes it a bit unbalanced.

  12. Amber said:

    What worries me even more is that I was one of the very few to wave my hand around in the air and shout that I liked it. I liked the grandpa pattern! You were making grandpa’s everywhere that little bit cooler. I don’t know, for some reason it annoys me when people give too much criticism to other people’s themes. Especially when they don’t have the capability to think of it, or do it, themselves.

  13. Belinda said:

    Me, I’m not a fan of the red and blue colours (but hey, you can’t please them all). I read your blog for your content anyway, I’m not fussed about what it looks like.

  14. Jem said:

    for some reason it annoys me when people give too much criticism to other people’s themes .. I don’t mind criticism, it helps me improve. I do mind people flittering back and forth between two completely different opinions. :X

  15. Rachael said:

    Hey! I’m using IE6, and I personally think you shouldn’t add that conditional statement. I think it’s really funny how the links move as soon as you hover over them. That actually had me in giggles. I’m a saddo, I know.

  16. Shari said:

    I didn’t really change opinions that quickly, did I? *thinks for a moment, switches to defensive mode* Well, I love your previous design, if only I realized there was no search box. =D I’m not too sure about the header and navigation colors though. They clash too harshly for me. But then, you don’t have to take that from someone who doesn’t even know how to blend colors nicely.

  17. Chans said:

    This is definitely not my favorite layout from you Jem, I’ve seen you do better. For me the colors clash at the top. The background of your sidebar is nice, I like it, I would have liked the sidebar to run all the way down or at least have a border at the bottom too though, it now seems to vanish into thin air and I think it looks a bit odd.. But in all honesty I read your blog for its content (and that’s what a blog should be all about)so it doesn’t really matter what it looks like, I don’t think anyone would sit and stare at just a layout for hours ;) So as you can see this is not my cup of tea (coffee!!) but it won’t stop me from visiting your site!

  18. Alyssa said:

    Ah, no dropdown menus, and you still kept the horizontal navigation! I like the colors of this layout, but it’s a bit too simple. The previous layout would have worked well with a sidebar and no dropdowns, but I like this layout too.

  19. Stephanie said:

    LOL. I’m dying of happiness with Rosemarie, so… you get thumbs up with me. Looks like we’re in the minority camp though, haha. Oh well. Personally, the colors go great together. I would have probably chose a more navy blue, but primaries do go with primaries, so I can’t complain. I miss the bubbles/circles, though. Those were nifty :x Actually, this layout would look particularly funky with lime green where the red is and navy blue where the royal-y blue is. But leave the background. Hmm…………

  20. Natalie said:

    It’s very professional looking which is nice in a way. The colours are nice and I’m so glad you got rid of the drop-down menus, they were getting on my nerves. I have to agree with Katie though, couldn’t you get the sidebar pattern to continue to the footer? I think I was one of the ones who changed my opinion of the layout on each of your posts. I honestly did like it at first but then it started to get boring, as all layouts do in the end.

  21. Heather said:

    I like the layout, but I’m just not a real big fan of the color scheme. I just don’t like red and blue used together (unless you’re talking about Kansas University, perhaps.) Maybe it’s just me, too, but I don’t like how the links on your navigation bar turn dark red when you hover over them. I like the links on your footer MUCH better. There you go, there’s my honest opinion. :)

  22. Grant Mc said:

    WOW, layout a lot better i must say, maybe because i like the blue maybe because i like the background! A suggestion the background may or may not look good with an animated gif, same style and look but having each box go dark every so often as if something is traveling through it?? Just a suggestion, although Gifs aren’t nice if in controll of the wrong hands i.e. Piczo fans! A few other things i like the gradient on the footer and menu, the header tell me I’m on JemJaBella, the background, the comments layout (big improvement). Another suggestion because this post has a lot of comments maybe getting the back to the top link again??

  23. Corinne said:

    Maybe it’s just me, too, but I don’t like how the links on your navigation bar turn dark red when you hover over them. I thought the same thing too, but I had already commented, so I just let it go.

  24. Adastra said:

    I wonder – how do you go about with layouting? Do you make a draft in photoshop first, or do you start coding CSS right away? This layout looks like a coded-first one to me, I could be wrong though.

  25. Natalie said:

    It’s not that important but I was reading some reviews for Jemjabella and there is no way to distinguish between your comments and the actual review. :p

  26. Jordan said:

    Jem, I really love this new look you have up! The colors are perfect, and it’s definitely going to stick on me. I actually enjoyed your last layout (although the header image I wasn’t fond of.) But overall this looks fantastic.

  27. Stephanie said:

    I definitely liked the color scheme on your last layout better. The colors here are just too contrasting for my taste. Maybe people agree with you because you’re a “big authority” online, and because you rant on (maliciously almost) about what you don’t like, they’re afraid to distrust you. Designing for multiple browsers is annoying. I personally find that IE doesn’t know what pixels are, which annoys the hell out of me whenever I try to make a layout for anything. It makes we want to code in tables, even though that’s inappropriate, because your layout has less of a chance of looking completely screwed in one browser while looking all right in another.

  28. Becky said:

    I’m not afraid of you. I probably wouldn’t want to meet you in a dark alley with a badly designed website using textareas to display code, but I’m not afraid of you :P I’m sticking to my guns, I liked the last layout. Although I will admit, after a while the lack of a sidebar started to bug me, but it was still a pretty layout. This one is nice too though, I like the simplicity of it (and the contrasting colours add pop). I’m not too crazy about the grid background, but that’s just me.

  29. Hillarie said:

    I think this one is way more you, to be honest! Ooh, now you’re a l33t PHP ninja? I would have commented sooner, but I am finally on the computer without a bunch of people surrounding me and yelling at eachother. Not that it makes a difference, really. I’m not even on my dear, beloved laptop. Hmph.

  30. Hillarie said:

    Oh, also, am I the only one that misses the old comment format? With all the details to the left and the comment to the right? It was the first layout I had seen like that. (Not that I actually look at layouts much, I’m still busy living under that rock I mentioned in the Martini-Lounge comment…or did I? ehh, not important)

  31. Josh(ua/y) said:

    I have to use IE6 today because it’s my Granny’s computer, and what’s this about you including a conditional statement? Doesn’t seem to be doing its stuff, even when I cleared the cache it makes the links change location after hover. And I disagree with Rachael. Still, should work a treat with firefox. I prefer the old layout though. What about something like that snazzy one with clouds being brought back (I mean, when you next get bored with the layout here). Also, the comments: whilst I like the way it’s layed out, the automatic paragraph creation when an empty line seperates 2 blocks of text seems to have fizzled out, and the quotes look all wierd, I don’t like them.

  32. Jem said:

    and what’s this about you including a conditional statement? Doesn’t seem to be doing its stuff .. that’s because I’ve not stuck it in yet? I’ve no idea what you mean by the automatic paragraph creation when an empty line seperates 2 blocks of text seems to have fizzled out? You’ll have to be a bit clearer :)

  33. Claire said:

    I like to have time to adjust to a new layout before I comment on it and normally, if I can’t “adjust” well, I don’t offer my opinion on it at all. Hence, the lack of my comment on your last design. I like this one though, it’s clean and not as murky in colour as the last. The subtle squares in the header are a great touch. My solitary, very small irk with this design is that way that blue is a little *too* “electric” and burns my retinas. But, I am willing to accept that it has probably more to do with the fact that I’m viewing it on an LCD screen which renders everything in searing, luminous clarity, rather than your shade of choice. (I’ll have to check on my CRT monitor). One thing I *did* like about the last design was the comment form layout, where the comment text box was adjacent to the personal information fields, rather than below them. I thought it was clever and sat really well.

  34. Jem said:

    Thanks for your feedback Claire, I’ll bear your feedback in mind. Particularly the contrast thing (which everyone has commented on too — it seems it’s only me it looks fine for!)

  35. Amelie said:

    Ooh, I’m not too sure about that black background you’ve got in your comment quotes. It looks to me like I’ve highlighted something by mistake and I keep trying to click out of it :|

  36. Melfina said:

    While I like the colours of the last layout better, as I’m not a fan of blue and red used together, I do prefer how content is setup on this one and it looks much cleaner, I think. I don’t know about how the right sidebar ends, it looks kind of abrupt, maybe a bottom border would look nice, just like the left and right borders. Completely offtopic, but I hate the way IE changes the dotted lines for dashed ones…

  37. Hillarie said:

    Ooh, I’m not too sure about that black background you’ve got in your comment quotes. It looks to me like I’ve highlighted something by mistake and I keep trying to click out of it :|…well, that’s what I thought at first, too.

  38. Melle said:

    That’s a fast layout change! I didn’t dislike the previous layout, and thought of it as step away from your usual. I mean, I sure didn’t expect you to use dropdown menus! But looking at this current layout of yours, I think it’s pretty good. Navigational, clean and nifty. Only thing is that I’m not sure that electric blue goes very well with that bright crimson red. But I do love the way you styled the comments though.

  39. Jamie said:

    Red, white, and blue.. patriotic to the U.S. much Jem? ;) I love the colors (red & blue) separately but I’m not sure the shades go well together. I particularly love the blue but blue is my favorite color. I do, however, love the pixely goodness of your header. I also do not like the black background of the quoted text…I did the same thing as Amelie. I do think this style, though is what I like to see when I come here.

  40. Josh(ua/y) said:

    What an idiot I am, I must from now on only bother to comment if I am going to make any sense. Here’s an explanation. Hopefully, this will not be the case if I decide to comment on a Jemjabella post again. The mumbo-jumbo about the paragraphs is incorrect – as I’ve only seen this with MSIE6, I have, when randomly highlighting comments, noticed the blank line there made by comment-makers pressing the return key. With Firefox, and, coincidentally, the past layout, selecting the comments (which, I admit, nobody would really do) leaves me with the wrong impression that when we comment-makers leave empty lines and this turns blocks of text to paragraphs. Alas, this is actually the difference between the way 2 browsers treat paragraphs and simply blocks of text seperated by 2 BR tags. Finally, I must be patient about the links. Anyway, you would have wrapped an S tag to explain that that task was done, Jem, I guess. The anger one expressed over the link hovers was possibly due to me being impatient about this blasted dial up connection. I must have taken it out on others. To be honest, I am not bothered.

  41. Vera said:

    Oh I know this! I remember having been totally slack jawed when I first saw it. Thinking along the lines: whoa! This cooler than yahoo ;) I liked those circles though :( ah well… but I suppose it’s a good thing that it doesn’t have two sidebars, even though at the time I found them a really nice touch. Regarding my changing opinion: well I really like the changes you make on your layouts. But since I’m really lazy, I generally just sweep a passing glance over it and say what’s on my mind. Sorry, unless I’m in a reviewer mode I just can’t find the energy to analize each and every single little thing. So it can happen that when I think about it more, I realize that it’s not so great *feel embarrassed now*

  42. Jem said:

    The anger one expressed over the link hovers was possibly due to me being impatient about this blasted dial up connection. .. I didn’t realise you were angry, hehe. :x I’ll fix the layout in IE soon.. :)

  43. Sara said:

    I personally like the previous layout better then this one. (btw, I didn’t really like the previous layout) I love the background, but your header is seriously dissappointing. I know that you do much, much better work! Also, I don’t really think that the blue is attractive. It clashes, makes your site look a bit messy, and I really think that it could be inproved. Come on Jem! Your a PHP ninja… prove it in your layouts. :)

  44. Grant Mc said:

    Jem i think she meant show it as in graphically show ode maybe not just my interpretation but you should definitely add a link going to the top of the page!

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