I, uh, ended up photoshopping away at that mockup last night instead of grading papers or finishing the essay that’s due today. I think I quite like it. I especially like the very formal “Dr Jill Walker, Dept of Humanistic Informatics” etc along the top and the nice pink boxes with just my latest publication or talk featured, with links explaining what the rest’ll be. When I haven’t given a talk for a while I could just remove the talks box, too. If I wanted.

jilltxt-maybe2.jpgWhat’s NOT in there yet is recent comments and trackbacks, which I do want to keep prominent – a blog is never a blog unto itself, it’s part of a network and I want to show that. But where can I put them? Up to the right and the publications and so on will be pushed down below “the fold” (the part of the page that’s visible before you scroll).

I also need to figure out how to show archives by date and category. I think I’ll put in another pink box which might have direct links to two or three of my favourite categories and then has a link to a page with a complete index to category and monthly archives.

And where to put the blogroll? Ghani has replaced the classic blogroll by picking out a random blog she reads for every time the page is loaded, with a “Ghani is probably reading /such and such a weblog/ right now”. That’s cool, but I use my blogroll as kind of a startpage for surfing the web. I suppose I could put that on a separate page, too, but…
Any ideas?

7 thoughts on “might actually redesign…

  1. ghani

    Do you use an online aggregator (bloglines) or Kinja? It might be worth just linking to something like that for your blogroll, especially since it would be updated more frequently. The kinja feeds look particularly nice.

  2. Jill

    I use blogrolling.com, but yeah, I could certainly look into using an aggregator. I’ll have a look at Kinja. Bloglines I’ve kind of used but never really quite got into it.

    Like the recent comments and trackbacks, though, I do like making my connections to others very visible. There are probably other ways of doing that than just a long long long list of blogs.

  3. Anders

    What a cool look!

    And isn’t fun bot oh so dangerous to lay out before you have decided on the number of elements? I’d put the blogroll on a separate page. I mean, what if you think audiences. Who reads your blog? Do they need your blogroll? Maybe, but not every day is my guess. Who needs your publications, teaching, talks, etc? Often not the same as those who enjoy your blog writing, I think. Make the blog for the blog readers (as today), and put in prominent links to the other stuff.

  4. Jill

    So I fed my blogroll into Kinja, and so far it looks pretty cool. MUCH prettier than Bloglines, and it certainly makes more sense for newbies. Plus I actually get to read what people have posted recently – particularly useful for reading bloggers that don’t post often. I’ll probably use that instead of a blogroll.

    As for comments and trackbacks, if I can work it out in the Moveable Type template stuff, I think I’ll just have a list of the three POSTS with the most recent commenting activity (and perhaps the timestamp of the more recent comment?) and for trackbacks, I might just have links to the blogs that sent a trackback? Well, to the post they linked to jill/txt from. I could do both those in much less room than the lists I’m using now, so perhaps they could actually go above the publications. Hm.

    Yes, Anders, it IS fun and a little bit naughty to do layout before planning what you want in there – but nah, you know, that’s how I write too. I think sort of in reverse and find it very hard to start with an outline. I can write the outline after I’ve played with what the end result will look like though 🙂

    I’ve found lots of inspiration in reading your thoughts about how you want your redesign to be, and from your front page, too. We’ll see if I actually manage to CODE this within a reasonable time…

  5. Jason

    I really like the redesign look.

    I struggled with the same issues (what to put in the sidebars and where) when I redesigned. I ended up keeping most of the self-referential stuff (archives, recent entries, categories, etc.) in one sidebar, while putting all the community links (blogroll, recent comments, etc.) in the other.

    One thing I’m likely to do soon is make the Archives and Comments section all appear in drop-down boxes, which would clear up tons of space for the same sort of stuff you’re looking to put on the front page (publications, talks, photos, books i’m reading, etc.).

    For me, two of the most useful features of any one blog (excluding the, um, content) are the recent comments section and the blogroll. I agree with you – it’s nice to highlight your community – but it also serves as key navigation (esp. the recent comments).

    I understand wanting to keep things about the fold, but if anything, blogging strikes me as a publishing method that *encourages* reading *beyond* the fold (and, in fact, complicates the very notion of what the fold is). I would be tempted to put your publications, talks, and teaching under “who” (as they are, in fact, subcategories of “about you” … and the eye follows that straight down) and then put your community stuff in the right column. Right column, maybe “Photos” (if you have the latest photo always appear – gives a nice frequent visual update to the top of the page) then maybe “Archive/Search” (with drop down menus), then Recent Comments/Trackback, then blogroll. Hmm. I’m still wishy-washy on where I’d put archives…

    In short, I’d put the stuff most likely to change or update above the traditional fold and push the other content below. Just my 2 cents…

  6. mjones

    The model for the revamped site looks really nice. I think you have found a way to combine the homepage/blog effectively. The blogroll doesn’t need to be above the fold, right? So you can still keep it but lower down. The drop down menu idea is great; I just added them for my archives (by date and category). If anyone can post or link to some code to put recent comments and recent entries in drop downs, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be the only one that would be grateful.

  7. Francois Lachance

    Jill,

    What about inverting the order of “talks” and “publications” and interlacing “trackbacks” and “recent comments” between them?

    Talks
    Recent Comments
    Publications
    Trackbacks

    I suggest this because unlike threaded discussion, the comments in blogs are more akin to chat room exchange and full of interpellations. Trackbacks are in a sense like the citation indexes that indicate who’s quoting who and for me closer to “publication”. Though in the sense of making public all of these are a type of publication… How could you rename the “Publication” section? “Texts Elsewhere”???

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