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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

little bit of a redesign

I spent a chunk of hours yesterday freshening up the look of the site. Hope you like it. The changes are mostly cosmetic, with a few exceptions. I moved the posting date and time and the post category to up above the post title, because I think that info was getting lost. (I’ve gotten way too many emails from people asking me, “So, when did you post that review?” when that info was always available at the bottom of the entry. Now, that info should be more obvious.) And just in case you weren’t already aware of this, the post category is clickable: click on it, and you’ll get a list of other postings in that category.

I updated the favicon and the iPhone icons as well, but you may need to force them to reload before you see them in your browser or on your iPhone. You can do that by clicking here for the favicon and here for the iPhone icon.

I also added the day of the week to the timestamps on comments — I think that will make it a little easier to pick up where you left off if you’re trying to rejoin a conversation.
Speaking of comments, the next major upgrade here will be a big one, when I move to the newest version of Movable Type. I’m very excited about that, because it offers threaded comments, which will make it easier to start and follow more specific discussions about postings here (and to avoid those subthreads that don’t interest you). And the newest MT also offers a slew of community features that will let you all get even more involved here, if you so wish.

That upgrade is going to be a big job, though, one for which I’m going to have to allow, at a minimum, an entire weekend, with major potential for enormous frustration and headache, as well as the chance of it making the site unusable for a significant stretch of time (like, maybe, more than a few hours). I hope to be able to find the time for it within the next month or two.

In the meantime, while you may have noticed that I’ve stopped adding Technorati tags to my postings (I was getting virtually no traffic through them), I’m working on adding site-specific tags to my entries. I’m adding them to posts behind the scenes, where you can’t see them, but as soon as enough posts are tagged to be useful (and as soon as I can teach myself the syntax to make this work) I’ll add links to postings so that you can use the tags to find related entries at the site.

For the font geeks, the typeface used in the new logo is Johnson Underground. It was designed by Edward Johnston almost a hundred years ago for use on the signage of the London Underground. It’s one of my favorite typefaces. Not only is it highly readable — which you’d expect from a font meant to put across information quickly and easily — but it’s also simultaneously a little bit fun and a little bit aggressive. Which suits, I think, the tone of FlickFilosopher.com well.

Oh, and somewhat in keeping with the Underground idea, the logo is at the top of the page is meant to look as if it’s cut across tiles, hence the gray borders simulating grout. I don’t know how well that’s coming across, though, so I may close it up. I’ll leave it for a few days and see how it sits with me. I like how it looks — maybe it doesn’t matter whether anyone else gets it.

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  • Anne-Kari

    MAJ- digging the new font! Also looking forward to the upgrade to threads etc.

  • I do like the new look so far, but I will point out one potential issue you may not have yet noticed: The logo for FlickFilosopher in the upper left corner? The font used creates a curved underside to the “l” in Flick, and it curves towards the neighboring “i” in a way that creates a side glance that looks like a “u” instead.

    Leading to hilarity.

    Just sayin’

  • Rykker

    Lookin’ good, MaryAnn.

  • Ryan

    Basically I’m liking it, but when you make your comments, the neon-green background is a bit rough on the eyes =)

  • jakob1978

    I mostly like the new look…although, like others have said, the curve on the bottom of the l & the i in flick does make me doubletake every time i load the page.

    Looking forward to the site specific tags…never liked the technorati tags, it always irritates me (on any site) when i read a post, click a tag thinking it’ll bring up all the entries on that blog relating to it, and instead get taken to another site giving loads of different blogs with that subject.

  • I’m not seeing the new favicon. The pages are still actually linking to this one:


    instead of


    Definitely looking forward to threading. :)

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve deleted the favicon in the blog/ directory, so try loading the other one now.

  • That did the trick.

    BTW, the page you land on to tell you your comment is being moderated was still using the old site logo graphics. :)

  • MaryAnn

    Point taken on the curved “l” — I changed it.

    I kinda like the green — it doesn’t look too neon on my end — but I’ll see if I can tone it down.

    And thanks for pointing out that the comment-moderation page hasn’t been updated. I forgot the comment preview one too.

  • MaryAnn

    Looks like there’s a lot more wrong with the comment-pending and comment-preview pages than merely the missing new header. Gonna take some time to figure that out… *sigh*

    And this was the “easy” upgrade.

  • jakob1978

    The green looks fine to me….I also rather like the fact that your comments are in a green box (and other quotes in a pink box)…makes it very easy to see your posts in the comments.

  • JoshDM

    I love the look, but with the Web being a vertical medium, I’m not a fan of non-content that consumes vertical space. A quick and easy way to recover some vertical space would be to remove the “need an explanation” tag/text under the bias meter and instead link the bias meter image itself to the appropriate blog post.

  • Jan Willem

    I think the tile + grout effect is a nice touch which comes across just fine on my screen, so please keep it in. Still, the one capital P among the lower case type in the logo is a bit off. (Sorry, my brother is a graphic designer and his sensitivity about such issues has rubbed off on me.) I see why you did it though, not wanting to hurt David Tennant’s face! The green gives the site an upbeat vibe that I like a whole lot better than the old mauve or whatever you call it. Good luck with the tweaking!

  • misterb

    On Firefox 3.0, I found that I had to manually reload to get the full effect of the new look. I get that the green relates to your stoplight theme, but I’m not a fan of the color. As an Internet professional though, I have to say that it’s a good choice for a “modern” look and feel.

    Did you ever explain why you misspell philosopher?

  • MaryAnn

    Re misspelled “philosopher”: Just for fun.

  • I really like the new look. The whole site looks a lot brighter. Nice shade of green for your comments. I like green!

    I usually use Firefox, but I also took a look at your site in Internet Explorer. With some sites there’s a big difference between the two browsers, but I didn’t see much difference with your site.

    Love your website!

  • Lenina

    I just want to say I check out your reviews at least once a week and really enjoy them! (I loved the review on The Women, particularly).

    I like the redesign, but I don’t like (and have always disliked) the use of Times New Roman font in the reviews and comments. (unless perhaps it’s an obscurely different font and my browser doesn’t recognise it?). I just wondered if that was going to change too?

  • MaryAnn

    Times New Roman is specified in the stylesheet to be used only if Palatino is not available — Palatino is not an unusual font at all, and comes standard with most (if not all) Windows installations, as well as the Mac OS.

    The other main fonts used in the text are Trebuchet MS and Lucida Grande, also standard on most computer systems.

  • On Windows, the font is named “Palatino Linotype”, but since that’s the name it doesn’t get used by the stylesheet.

    I’m on a Mac, but when I look on my Windows machine, this page renders in Times New Roman.

    Palatino Linotype looks like this on Windows:

    Maybe Windows users will benefit from having that exact font specified in the stylesheet, depending on how exacting you want to be.

  • MaryAnn

    So what would be preferrable to Palatino or Times New Roman?

  • MaryAnn

    I’ve changed “Times New Roman” in the stylesheet to “Palatino Linotype” — let me know if that makes any difference.

  • Yes, it does. Better than Times — I really dislike Times. :)

  • David

    Sorry, but I find the sight garish and hard to read. The colors clash and the layout is a hodge-podge. It needs to be simplified, in my opinion, and a consistent (no-clashing) color adopted. I seem to be in the minority of commenters, but I think it really is, well, ugly.

  • MaryAnn

    David: The text is straightforward, black-and-white, Web-standard font. How is it hard to read? And in what way do you find the design any more complicated than it was before? Apart from the placement of a few small elements (permalink, comments link, category, etc), all that’s changed is the colors. The layout has not changed. So what do you perceive as different?

  • Lenina

    Ooooh, it worked! I see the writing in Palatino Linotype and it looks much better.

  • william shakespear

    M/A: Sorry, but I agree with comment above dated Tue Sep 16 08, 1:20 PM. I liked the old colors because I could focus on reading your (excellent & funny) reviews (and some comments) at length. Now, maybe it’s my old eyes, but I have trouble focusing especially on the red type.

  • MaryAnn

    william shakespear, the text is still in black, and in the same typeface it has always been. Only links have changed color. And you can tell your browser to increase the type size if you’re having trouble reading anything.

    Honestly: red is the most vivid color to human eyes. Is it really harder to read that the pale purple that links used to be?

  • william shakespear

    For me, yes, borders/highlighting with red works,
    but I find black text works better. And I liked the
    pale purple, but I often get used to changes after first having a negative reaction…I’d recommend getting plenty of sleep, then doing what you think would be best, because it’s your web-site.

  • william shakespear

    Mary Ann, in thinking more about it(the redesign),
    if practical, how about alternating colors?
    CHRISTMAS……..red & green
    THANKSGIVING……..rich eart tones
    HALLOWEEN…….orange & boooo-lack
    AUTUMN………reds, yellow & golds
    4TH OF JULY…….red, white & blue
    NEW YEARS……silver & black
    TRAGEDY/DEATH…….black & white
    SPECIAL PREMIER/EVENT….complimentary colors

  • william shakespear

    …Although after reading your explanation for the new title font (i.e. historic London subway) I better appreciate your choices.

    sPeLliNg cOrReCtIoN: In my post just above, I meant ‘earth tones’ not ‘eart tones’.

  • MaryAnn

    Changing color schemes is an interesting idea, but it would negate the whole stoplight theme.

  • william shakespear

    ANOTHER CORRECTION: Yea, I know, over there it’s the UNDERGROUND. If you bottled it’s distivctive smell and spritzed the air I think I might still recognize that mustiness. [Back in the day I played some football (soccer) in England.]

  • william shakespear

    THINKING MORE ABOUT IT: With the strength of your reviews (+library) and popular comments section, I’d try, like Google or the Drudge Report, to get by with alot of empty (white) space unless advertizers want to pony~up~the~dough. Then, if/when the mood strikes, embelish/decorate as I outlined above.

  • william shakespear

    About the COMMENTS section: For me, in launching thoughts into cyberspace, sometimes the muted colors help calm any anxiety. Other times I want to SHOUT and don’t want/need the buffer of a low lit room.

  • william shakespear

    I wanted to mention that I liked your review of INTO THE WILD. I had a similar experience, but since I had not seen it (or any movie in years except on tv) I layed-out. That reminds me of another suggestion. In the comment section maybe have boxes for us to check:
    HAVE SEEN [theatre]
    HAVE SEEN [home]
    People then can quick’n e-z reinforce their opinion, and see what others are. It’d be kind of fun, like your rating bar at the top. Plus industry types might find it to be some more interesting feedback.

  • MaryAnn

    The comments are for discussion, not for participating in a survey.

  • william shakespear

    Again, you use a bias bar. When I visit this site it’s the first thing that catches my eye because it’s a fun feature. At The Washington Post there’s a “recommend” icon on each individuals post (with a counter) that you can click if you liked what someone wrote. Granted they’re voting crazy down there, but it’s like you’re putting your foot down, “Okay children you can ‘discuss’, but no toys!” I don’t want to be too arguementative here because I’m not sure exactly how it would work beyond what I explained above…Oh, and another thing (being polite); It’s I guess obvious, but my name’s not william shakespear. Maybe, in making these suggestions for your site-redesign, I should change it to something like McKinsey & Co. [management consulting firm] Seriously, someone already uses my real name (David) so I guess if I post again I’ll stick with shakespear…I mostly use this site as a reference tool rather than buyers guide. I also like, when in the comments section, it seems like an industry connected poster is making lame and/or in vain complaints about a review[chuckle]…And for what it’s worth, in visiting this site over the past few days, I realize that I’ve gotten more used to the new colors.

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