dotTech Redesign: Second time is the charm

Hey look – it’s a bird, it’s a plane… no, it’s the new dotTech! Last week I introduced a minimalist black-and-white design of dotTech. However, many dotTechies wanted something with color. So based upon the feedback I received, I have changed the look of dotTech yet again. The hardest part about this new redesign was advertisement placement because the minimalist design had excellent advertisement placement. However, in the end, I think I got it right but I may be moving the ads around. After all, someone has got to pay the bills so might as well let Google do it.

Please provide feedback and let me know if there are any bugs in the new design.

Had you thought I didn’t listen to what you said… :-D

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59 comments

  1. janetb

    Can the orange ‘Professional DotTech Tecchnologians” be MUCH BIGGER (wider) and the white Google ads MUCH SMALLER…? The lovely text-and-picture logo is squooshed all the way over to the left side, while the white google ads on the blue background hog almost the entire top section..:-(…The name of the site should be across the top!

  2. kimotheraphy

    Hey, I like your second design much better that the first redesign. And the to-the-side bold and enlarged font for names of comment posters makes its really easy to browse who said what.. Thumbs Up!

  3. johngeee

    I love the new site, but please don’t go any lighter on the color as another has suggested. I am color-deficient (and so might be others) and the lighter colors can sometimes be hard to see. I, too, liked the drop down menus. Keep up the good work!

  4. Hashan Gayasri

    Oh too bad I really liked the old layout..It was very readable and nice to the eye. Do you still have it.. I cant remember the color you had used for the background.. But it was so nice . Please upload it to somewhere in your site

  5. Jyo

    Wow man….you have truly outdone yourself! This design is just great!! No more complaints on my part. Except…maybe you can restore the drop down menu on the top like last time? But really, this layout is very aesthetically pleasing, yet simple.

  6. Janetb

    I guess I’m in the minority (unless others are just self-conscious about raining on the parade….), but I found the old design much more readable…..:-(….Maybe mine looked different because I was still on IE6….But I have a whole new system now, so I can only assume that at least now I am seeing the site as intended (Windows 7, IE8). I loved your old fonts. What font are the comments in? Anyway, I will mention a few concrete points:

    1. The very top line—“dotTech(.org) Subscribe: RSS Feed E-mail Notifications Twitter”—is extremely difficult to read because it is a VERY dark gray on black and thus the letters blend right into the background.

    2. The one thing that REALLY stands out on the top are the advertisements!!! That brilliant white on cobalt blue really pops out! “dotTech” is what should be there in white! Make the adverts in a blue only slightly lighter than the background blue so they will fade into the background instead of your top line….:-)….

    3. The logo looked like a maestro conducting an orchestra (ha, ha)….It took me a while to figure out that the stick-like thing coming out of his hand is a laptop…….:-)……

    4. I don’t think all the comment boxes should be the same size—shorter posts should have less-high boxes….As it is now, when the post is very short, there is a heck of a lot of empty space floating around. One result of this is you have to so a lot more scrolling than necessary……:-(….

    5. If you DO want all the post boxes the same size after all, the “Reply to comment” should be located in the same position in all the boxes, that is, the same distance from thebottom of the box. Is there a reason you made all the boxes the same size/shape? What happens when you have a long comment? Will you go to a double box….or not allow long comments…..;-p….?

    6. I don’t have any buttons for eg bold, italic, underline, etc….

    7. I really like a Preview box.

    8. As others mentioned, it is very helpful to number the comments.

    9. The links on the right ‘panel’ should not be the same font and size as the text of the article. I think their font should be smaller.

    Is there any way to see an old page from way back? I don’t remember how it was, but I remember I really liked it. If I can see an old page, I would be able to say why.

    Ashraf, I adore you and I think you are great, and I missed you , and I depend on you. Thus, I hate to say anything negative given all the work you have put in, but I have been a graphic artist (among other things) for about forty years, so I thought you might want to know my thoughts….Only trying to help….Whatever the site looks like, it will continue to bring joy to many…!

  7. Dave

    The color highlights and alternating grey in the comment boxes are a big improvement over the previous minimalist design. It’s much easier to read and to quickly identify the different sections. Thank you.

  8. Mags

    MUCH better. It is now more focused on what is important. With the all white, one didn’t really know where to look first.

    The layout is still similar, the added colour does make that all important difference. As for the ads, I think they are ok where they now. They are not the main focal point as they were with the all white and black.

    A thumbs up from me on this one.

  9. IndoMK

    Hmm… I like this look much better than the other one! I don’t keep thinking that my browser somehow failed to completely load the page.

    My two bits worth of opinion would be that the “Important Links” and “Recent Comments” header boxes (bottom bar) are a bit bright on the eyes. It’s really hard to focus without squinting or something. Maybe a darker color blue for the boxes, and black for the divider lines?

  10. krajicek

    liked the clean look of white-ish version of the site. however this one also looks oke
    however – one small glitch:
    google ads overlap left half of the main article on Home page (the black one about Outpost) – i’m on FF 2.0.0.20
    can that be sorted please
    thanks in advance
    kr

  11. Tortuga

    Hi Ash

    Thanks for the reply.

    1) I dont have the «Edit» feature
    2) Thanks for adding the «Number» feature on a near future

    NOTE:
    I’ve been ridding FF4.0b7 these past few days… Strange things happening eg addons automagically disappearing, settings going berserk, sites a bit off.
    So, I’ll add the gray not showing & the «Edit» feature disappearing on the beta’s fault.
    Tomorrow I’ll be switching to FF 3.7 – I’ll let you know if all is right or not.

    ***********
    ON THE OTHER HAND…
    Some time ago you’ve asked us to unblock AdBlock on the site. Which I’ve done since.
    But earlier today you mentioned Google Adds … And just realized I haven’t seen any … !!! !!!
    WHERE are they? I can NOT see any Adds anywhere!!
    And believe me I’ve been looking!

    Peace

  12. Michael Brazil

    @Wheezer:
    I agree, Wheezer. On my monitor, the entire menu bar at the very top of the page is almost invisible until you mouse over one of the links/buttons. The ones that don’t “light up” when you mouse over them are nearly impossible to read.

    Everything else looks great!

  13. John G

    This looks great. However, anything you put up would be just fine with me. I’m more focused on the information rather than the aesthetics. I’m very happy you have so many positive responses here from your readers. You’ve done and I’m sure will continue to provide a great service here.

  14. Tortuga

    Ohhh,
    Just realized you removed the 10mn «Editing» feature after the comment was posted … :( !!!
    Are you bringing it back??
    If at all possible, a 20 or 30mn window would be even better :*)

    Have a great day!

  15. Tortuga

    Dear Ash

    YAEHHHH !!!! Very Very Good!
    I like the new design, I like the new features – very clean & professional.
    The different sections on the right side column are well identified w easy access.

    Also like the changes made to the comments w the name/date/time of the poster on the side, it will be easier to refer to when needed.

    I do have 3 suggestions, all regarding the comments section:
    1) PLEASE PLEASE try to give numbers to the comments. Though the new changes are an improvement, usually we write down “comment #3,6,11″ and unless counting down the comment boxes each time, its a bit difficult to retrace which comments we are referring to in our notes.
    2) Adding a few tools to help out writing comments easier (maybe just a few buttons, for Bold, Italic, Underline would be sufficient).
    3) And the least important suggestion: Alternating 2 shades of gray on the comment boxes would be pretty.

    Overall, everything is quite nice. Bravo!

    Peace

  16. pach

    Hi Ashraf
    So glad you are back. Really appreciate what you do.
    Take care,
    pach

    FYI: This warning message below was on your clean blog policy page. “http://dottech.org/clean-blog-policy”

    Warning: include(/home/dottech/public_html/wp-content/themes/thematic/topad.php) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /home/dottech/public_html/wp-content/themes/commune/functions.php on line 425

    Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening ‘/home/dottech/public_html/wp-content/themes/thematic/topad.php’ for inclusion (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in /home/dottech/public_html/wp-content/themes/commune/functions.php on line 425

  17. AlanR

    @jimx29: Thanks for the tip – will give it a try to see if it helps improve readability.

    Sorry Ashraf, your new colour scheme only showed up today and I am having difficulty reading banners etc. due to the combinations you have used – us poor people having colour vision deviations always seem to be overlooked in such matters…. sob. :((

  18. Dennis F.

    Nice job. When you came back online I though, oh no, another boring site design. But now. Much better. With the computers many of us use now, color and graphics are no biggie on the overhead. Then I’m running an i7-930 with 6 GB and a 5770 card. Screams. Technology has advanced so much in the past 30 years. I remember paying 2X what I paid for this machine, although I did have to spec it and DIY, and having less than 10% of what I have now. My TRS-80 Model I still runs.

    You do an excellent job and many of us depend upon your reviews before we touch any software. How can we help you?

  19. Wheezer

    Maybe it’s’ just my computer, but I’m not seeing “DotTech” anywhere in the top banner. I see the logo, but shouldn’t the name be there in text too?

    Or is it just me that can’t see it?

    One last thing. By the time I get to the bottom of the page, the background has gone back to what looks like that bright white page again. The gray in the message boxes is nice, but the white background on the rest of the screen is pretty bright.

    Ok, I’m done now. Over-all I like this design better than the last one.

  20. Mr.Dave

    I cast my vote in favor of the new color version over the previous minimalist black & white version. It’s easier to find things, and I think the light gray behind the text in the comments is easier on my eyes. The content has always been more important to me than the presentation, and I so happy you’ve returned and are updating the site again!

  21. Rob (Down Under)

    I was going to suggest that you make it obvious that a link is present, without having to mouse over it.
    Then I said to myself –
    “It is an ill wind that blows nobody no good”
    So please keep it as you have it now.
    All laptops come with that horrible touchpad thingy, and people tolerate them, or even like them.
    Australia (Down Under) passed a new law that prohibits me carrying a machete around, so we have to come up with an alternative discouragement to deter people from using those touchpads.
    With a bit of luck they will all get RSI, whilst trying to mouse over your possible links.
    So don’t change anything, I love the new design.

  22. Unified

    Looks great…Thanks Ashraf. I am also working on revamping my website and once its up and running I will share that here. I think if you take the purpelish color off from the bottom where the copyright and time is. After all we all know dottech so would not matter what color it but still…

  23. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @David Roper: I am glad you approve :-)

    @David Roper: What gray text? The sidebar?

    @karen: The bottom and top are actually the same blues (run a color picker over them both). I have absolute no idea they look different.

    Yeah, the font is made bold when hovered over it. I added that so people know they are hovering over a clickable item. It is easily change to something like underline if needed.

    @Mr. Fred: Glad you like it :-)

    Now I really, really should go finish my project for class =O Bleh, just can’t wait for the semester to be over.

  24. karen

    One suggestion … you might want to make the bright blue color at the bottom (with the copyright) match the darker blue in the header.

    Actually, two … I like the color change when hovering over the post titles, but I don’t like the size change (probably because the font weight changed).