New Template Blues 2: Through the Portal of Time

Alright, after a little tweaking, the dates are working fine. It's certainly doing better. If you encounter any bugs, feel free to post them here on this thread.

One thing that's missing from this "Dilectio" template is its "recent posts/recent comments" part, which goes under the orange box. For whatever reason, Blogger just isn't accepting it, which is too bad, because it looked really cool. But I understand the Blogger people are making adjustments all the time, trying to keep out bad code, and this can sometimes affect third-party templates and widgets and doohickeys and whatnot.

There isn't a Blogger header at the very top, which is something I might miss. But I also thought those things looked amateurish, and since we have a search bar as part of the template, there's really no need.

The list of tags is a much-needed improvement. I know how frustrating it was to search the archives on the old layout. This is going to be much, much better. If you want posts on specific films - you want the latest Ponyo news, for example - you can just click those links.

The background art, and the color scheme, might get tweaked around a little. It looks alright, but since this is a popular blog template, I feel the urge to give it a personal touch. But, again, that's not for certain. We'll just make sure the essential parts are working properly first.

Overall, I really like this design. It's bright, I like that. I really love the orange. Don't care too much for the swirly patterns, but that can be fixed rather easily. Maybe I'll use my own digital paintings for these.

The one thing I need to add is a widget for photos. That's something I've wanted to do for a while, and since this is an animation-themed website, there should be plenty of cool artwork. This is definitely a weekend project, since I'd need a Flikr account to place them all. If you know any good widgets for this, let me know.

Consider this the all-purpose "redesign" thread.


vit-r said...

Sorry, it seems your new template does not allow to add comments.

I had made this post manually to blogID=24969765&postID=5041895409572548937

PS: this red and orange are very amateurish. Search and RSS are not the most important part of a blog. Here is the heatmap from

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Okay, how about this? Does this work for comments?

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Yep. I just went back to the old way of using a pop-up window. No big problem there.

As for the rest of the site, I'll need the weekend to tweak things around. Oh, and the search bar? Extremely important. Visitors need to be able to navigate and search for what they want instantly. This is especially critical on a larger site with lots of material. I think it's a good design plan, and this search bar works far better than the default one Blogger supplies.

Thanks for the comments!

vit-r said...

The problem are the active colors.
They are OK only, if the goal is to catch casual visitors. If you have long text to read, such red fields are annoying.

IMVHO categories are more important. And usability guidelines recommend to prefer the standard solutions for standard tasks.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Hmm, very interesting. Which colors would you recommend? Is the overall warm color scheme workable, or would a different palette - blue, green, brown - work better?

Remember, a lot of this can be altered or re-arranged. So it's not like everything is set in stone.

Chris said...

The design is pleasing and soft on the eyes. I like it. But your old design had that wonderful picture that opened the blog at the top. (I think it was from Ocean Waves?)

The picture was the initial thing that drew me into your site in the first place. It is such a welcoming image and there is nothing like this with the new design. I miss that.

vit-r said...

I'm not a designer. I can make usability study but I cannot create a balanced color style. If you start each post with a nice image (with a naked girl), the content will be more "active" even than an orange box.

You can use or However the better solutions would be combinations from lather Ghibili films "Ponyo" or "Gedo Senki". And the best image for new users would be Totoro or Chihiro. This are the most known characters.

Ulrik said...

I'd suggest some less aggressive and more "Ghibli-like" colors like grey, green, brown and maybe a bit of blue.

Maybe you could use the About area for something else and move the text to a separate page.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

The screenshot from the old banner came from Omohide Poro Poro, in case anyone's asking.

Look everybody, I appreciate all the input here, but I'm not very technically inclined when it comes to this stuff. It's a bit of a challenge just to do the few things I want, like a gallery or slideshow of photos.

Heck, just finding a decent 3-column layout is tough enough as it is. Most didn't pass the smell test, and, yes, I did test out many of them. You'd be surprised how many Blogger templates look good in small screenshots, but terrible in full-screen.

In a perfect world, I'd create everything myself. But I lack either the skills or the patience to learn. I already built one website from scratch, then completely rebuilt it two years later. It was a complete pain in the neck.

So....if someone wants to help out, that's great. Show me the goods. The art assets for this layout are all on Photobucket. Should I provide the link? You can find it by scanning the source code. That's how I found it.

Put something together, show me, let me know, yadda yadda. Also, as I've often said, if you spy a great template, tell me about it, and I'll check it out.

Chris said...

The new pictures are wonderful! It really adds a lot to the blog. Really, it all came together very well.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Oh, just so everyone knows, the title to this post was a riff on "Beastmaster 2: Through the Portal of Time." Did everybody catch that?

This is what happens when you watch a lot of Mystery Science Theater 3000. You make lots of cheesy puns.

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