Friday, April 27, 2012

In and Out and In and Out

Yeah, I changed the blog template yet again.

In the period of about a week.

First it was stuck on this blue template for years. I don't remember what it was called. Then one day, I got a wild hair ('cause that's about all that's left on my thinning scalp) and switched the blog over to Dynamic Views.

I thought I liked it. It was full of tricks that only Google Gears and HTML5 could provide, cross-browser tricks like expanding panels on top of the main blog, or special compositions like 'magazine', which I actually liked. But after a few days of living with it I came to become truly annoyed with its behaviors, especially on portable devices such as my Android-powered phone (Gingerbread 2.3.4) and my Android-powered tables (ICS 4.0.3). Dynamic Views might look just dandy on a regular browser with a classic OS underneath, but on a portable device such as a tablet it was slow, sloppy mess. Which I found rather amusing, considering all of this came from Google. You'd think there'd be enough inter-team communication such that the Blogger team would design for and test against Google's Android-powered devices.

So I switched again to Awesome.

While it wasn't quite awesome, it was a lot lighter and displayed quite well over every device, from notebook to smartphone. Turned out it was a pretty popular theme, used by a number of sites I visit. And I was pretty happy until I came across Kirk Tuck's site, where he'd switched to Dynamic. And that's when I began to doubt my decision to switch from Dynamic.

So I switched back yet again, and put up with it for another 48 hours.

Now I'm back using Awesome and I'll continue using it until something better comes along. Unfortunately for Dynamic it won't be Dynamic.

And for Kirk, well, good luck with that. It really is a matter of personal tasted. I tend towards a lean and light-weight web page structure that is viewable as-is across a wide variety of devices. That's where the web is right now, and it will only grow more so as we gather more diverse devices. The simplistic web view that Blogger is capable of providing is brain-dead, and I hate it. That's why I want a single design that will render equally well. That's a pretty tough design to pull off, either deliberately or by accident.

Update 28 April

Back to Dynamic again. I'm curious to see if it drives up site views again, like it did before. Kirk Tuck has noticed this effect as well.

3 comments:

  1. I like this one a lot more than 'Dynamic' (as a non-user of blogger I didn't even know its name until now). And yes, I'm viewing on a regular screen on a proper OS (Debian). The reason why I like lighter layouts is simple: I use my browser in a restricted size of about 1024x768, so that I can have more than one of these on my screen if I need that. So web sites which are too big (like Robin's) or too fancy/complicated (like now Kirk's) put me off quite a bit. Of course I still read them because of their good content, but at least for me those designs aren't too user-friendly...

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  2. Wolfgang, you and Bill will probably get used to the dynamic views. Since you can set one like classic and stay with it the learning curve will be.....short.

    I'm viewing my site on an IPad (3rd gen). and, with a fast connection, it's starting to smooth out and work well.

    I appreciate your endurance and willingness to put up with stuff you might not be fond of in order to read the site. On the "up" side there must be additional SEO magic with the dynamic views because our readership has doubled in the space of about a week. I still don't know why...

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  3. You may be right. Your comment about increased traffic ("additional SEO magic") fits with similar data points. While the site was using Dynamic my daily views nearly quadrupled. I may try it again and see if it the results are repeatable.

    If this is true, it leaves me somewhat uncomfortable. Are these legitimate views, and if so, what entries? That Google statistics didn't point anything out. I had Dynamic in magazine mode while all this was happening.

    It's all simple enough to try again.

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