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New Look

For some time now the Bear has thought his ephemeris had gotten cluttered. He redisigned it with the reader in mind and came up with a slick, minimalist user interface he hopes will make your reading more pleasant.

Comments

  1. OH NO NO NO NO!!!!

    DON"T LIKE DON"T LIKE DON"T LIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go back....it was charming, it was beautiful...this is sterile and NOTHING like the feeling of the other. Really Bear, this is a bad move. In a past life the Badger was a well-respected interior designer...my gift is an eye for beauty...the other had it; this doesn't.

    just.......YUCK!

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  2. This is a joke right???...OK, I'm laughing.....NOW GO BACK!

    AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL....ptoooi ptoooi ptoooi

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    1. I'm just smoking out the real traditionalists.

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  3. Are you going to do a poll about this change, I hope?

    I hope things are going better for the precious orphan goat. Welcome back, Bear.
    Kay

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  4. The bear comes out of his den from hibernating and the whole world looks different!
    ;)

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  5. i like it.

    i'm changing my look as well

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  6. Change is always going to draw objections. I won't go back to the old format soon, because people need time to get used to something new. It also gives me a chance to do one or two other cool things you haven't seen yet.

    This puts content - in other words you - front and center at a time when so many blogs make visitors feel like they're being shaken down for "gas money" in the Walgreens parking lot. (The Bear will never shake you down, although he will beg winsomely from time to time.)

    It also works TONS better on phones, which I know some people use to get their Bear. Before, you couldn't even see the sidebar on an iPhone without the cludgy process of finding the tiny "view web page version" link and magnifying things. It ought to load faster, too.

    It needs a few tweaks. Web design is unique. Other graphics concepts don't necessarily get cleanly ported over. For example, I don't get to decide the size, aspect ratio or layout since people use different devices. But I totally get the objections. This is "your" blog and it is unsettling to find something different. Let's see if it ends up being something better.

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  7. I'm not sure. It certainly is minimalist. I'm willing to give it a test drive, though.

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    1. It's mainly different. Consider it a Lenten mortification.

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  8. Looks great on my tablet. However, the shade of green is terrible. It is too light of a colour compared to the black text when it is used as the colour of the lead in text. It doesn't catch the eye and the eye wants to start on the second sentence.

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  9. The Featured Post really is featured now. I am not seeing any text in green except the titles of the posts. I notice that other changes have been made. The quote function is GIANT. Hmm. It will take all of us some time getting used to it. I can't even get my author pictures lined out! But I am tellin' ya, I do like it, and I bet you will appreciate the focus on the text, and I know phone users will love it.

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  10. Correction, I see what you mean by the green text. That should be an easy fix,

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    Replies
    1. Much better. Thanks. Really like the way it looks on the tablet.

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  11. I ditto what Susan said, both times.

    I was hoping this was a prank, sort of reminiscent of Vatican 2 and what it did to the Church.

    It looks absolutely terrible on my laptop:-(((

    I think iPhones have ruined the internet :-(
    Kay

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  12. Preferred the old, but I'll get used to this one, and am in any case not inclined to trust my own judgement on visual aesthetics. My only serious objection is that much less text fits on the screen now, something exacerbated by the header that sticks around even when you scroll down. I don't suppose the font size could be reduced a little? Though I suppose part of it may be simply that my screen is much wider than it is tall: reducing the width of the window to approximately square makes it much more comfortable to read.

    Huh. So apparently reducing the width of the window actually reduces the font size. I suppose getting rid of the auto-sizing font would mess with the presentation on hand-held devices? Could the maximum size still be reduced? 'Cause I can read the OP from about 5-6' away and I normally view the internet from about 1.5-2' in away. With some of the longer posts, it's a bit like reading a novel in letters the size of a Dr. Seuss book's.

    Still, probably not worth changing if it'd be very much hassle. I can probably get used to the font size, too, and it's not like I'm gonna stop reading just because of that.

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  13. I'll make a decision after I'm sure I've made it as good as I could. On my Surface Pro, the header does not intrude. I'll tell you what I do like is the clean appearance with no distractions. The Bear values all the advice of the woodland creatures, but, as the benevolent dictator, must make these decisions himself, as he is certain you understand. It isn't necessarily a bad thing that the format encourages me to write shorter pieces.

    I have a lot of control over font sizes and colors. I'm sure I'll be experimenting. Also, I am ever the early-adopter and Blogger just rolled out these new styles. Hey, the beloved St. Corbinian Bear's picture remains as my avatar. Now if I could just get the same avatar over the entire Googleverse. I wanted to change my name in just one place, but apparently, Google wants me to present only one identity. So I'm kind of stuck between two semi-marketable names. I would choose the Bear if it came down to It, or course.

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    1. I have two different gmail accounts with different avatars (the other is mostly for work and doesn't have one). I can even have both open at once so long as I use a different browser or a even just open a private window in the same browser for the second. Would something like that work?

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  14. Another advantage is that you see far more articles per screen, so you can quickly scroll to items that look interesting. And I don't know about anyone else's older eyes, but this is a lot easier for me to read.

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  15. I appreciate minimalism for mobile-friendly designs, but prefer my desktop-browser designs to be a little more ornate. If you have a lot of space to work with, why not make use of it? Of course you don't want to distract too much from the content, so it's a balancing act. Right now it looks like there's a lot of wasted whitespace, even on my smallish laptop screen.

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  16. I dunno. On the home page things look fine to me, and I'm on a Microsoft Surface. But that has a Super Ultra High Def screen. If I have reservations it is about the large amount of green space surrounding the title, which does seem excessive to me. Here is what I like.

    Featured Article is now really featured, not lost in a sidebar people using phones can't even read.

    More articles available on the home page. A lot of readers won't click to the next page. This way, much more content is in front of the eye of the reader.

    Search is prominently placed at the top.

    The title follows navigation dynamically, instead of being scrolled up and lost.

    Articles are much, much easier to read on any screen. Please remember that not all of us have good eyesight.

    Displays nicely and completely on phones. Losing the entire sidebar is a big disadvantage to the previous design.

    As a personal preference, I just like the clean look. Do I think both the template and my implementation of it might be improved? Yup. Do I want to go back to the cluttered look? Nope. However, my sense is that people are finding it to be without personality. I understand that. Perhaps restoring the iconic header with the burdened bear might help.

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    1. That made a much bigger difference than I would have thought. Yes, it helped.

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    2. Part of the problem is how much of the personality of the site has been stripped down in favor of creating blocky sections. I think that if some image of the bear follows the navigation bar as you scroll down (perhaps a small headshot next to the site title), that will do much to make it feel less blocky.

      I like the new serif font (for post body text), but yet to be sold on the sans-serif (for titles). The new font sizes are good. It actually looks a little too small on my phone, but great on the computer screen.

      Blockquote fonts should probably not always be bold and italic, and the font face should match the post body font.

      Featured article is good.

      I don't recall how they appeared earlier, but the commenter avatars are cropped as circles. I would prefer the default square shape, but I guess it's not a big deal.

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  17. BTW, roughly 40% of my traffic is from something other than a computer. The days when you could design for a computer screen only are long gone, friends. But let's see. What is it that you don't like, or that you miss? I am happy to hear your ideas and am not married to this format. What could I do to make the new look bear-able?

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  18. Work in progress. Part of what is driving this is some people (like me) have Retina displays or even higher definition screens. The current version has bigger fonts and higher contrast. The green matches the green in the header graphic. Anyway, I'm trying to avoid eyestrain for everyone, especially me. The sidebar is easier to read and the individual elements clearly separated.

    I don't know if it is possible to add graphics to the "ST. CORBINIAN'S BEAR" text header that floats at the top of the screen. Probably not.

    I do like the sans serif headings. Just a preference. They are big enough where readability is not an issue. The "blocky sections" are a way of putting more content before the reader. As for the block quotes, we'll see next time. Right now, the block quote is not consistently reflecting style changes.

    I appreciate the issue of "personality." But I don't want the personality to look like a Bear's cave stuffed with random things here and there. I am trying to balance what I like about this theme with what I am hearing from people.

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  19. Let me try to explain my visceral reaction this way and see if it resonates with anyone else....

    Mon, St. Joseph's Day, I went to a morning NO Mass at a parish on the far side of town. It was fine; typical NO Mass for my area. That evening my husband and I went to a full blown Latin Rite high Mass; Priest-Deacon, Priest-Subdeacon, Incense, Schola, beautiful gold vestments, etc. It was a FEAST for EVERY one of our senses, including the sixth! I literally felt the angels around me. At various times, with tears streaming down my cheeks, I turned toward Mr. Badger, and quietly mouthed the word 'Wow" to him.

    Not that I'm comparing your blog to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but the analogy loosely holds. Your blog WAS a sweet, charming, sensual (in the innocent meaning of the word), step into a 'notherworld;, there was a little tiny part of me that really felt like I was entering a mystical woodland and talking to a man-bear. It was utterly delightful; the artwork, the salmon button, the format....it got every sense involved and read like a Grimm's fairy tale book, only with a really, really smart writer. I felt, I don't know,....comfortable?.....at home? I could smell the bear and the salmon.

    It's almost like the difference between (and I reference the pictures only) this.....
    http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/chapel-at-discovery-bay

    and this....
    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/317714948682365076/

    between this....
    http://designnu2.blogspot.com/2011/04/home-design-with-minimalist-interior_6689.html

    and this....
    http://www.marc-michaels.com/portfolio/residential/tuscan/boca-raton-fl/

    Your definition of "clutter" is what others would call 'comfort', or as you've put it, 'personality'. You gave us a full experience of a charming suspension of reality, and that made you very special indeed. Now, and I don't mean this in any way but an honest analysis, you're a minimalist blogger with a bear logo. You took away the feeling of home, and replaced it with a doctor's office. You took away heaven and replaced it with earth. You took away the wit and the charm. It's not a fun experience anymore; it's not even 'comfortable'. And all to fit on a phone screen?....sad.

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    1. Work in progress. I appreciate your comments. I can say that I will not recreate the original design if I cannot do so in a way that keeps me from going blind (you'll notice the font is quite a bit bigger) and works on all devices. But I will find ways to provide the things you spoke of. In the end, everyone will be happy, or the same amount of small unhappy. I am not entirely happy with it, either. You do know there's still a side-bar, right?

      The Bear is alive and well. He has always been visible in the attitude and prose, and will continue to be. I sense that, while my audience has grown, there are few of the original charming people left. I think it is because the Bear had to, HAD TO roar against the inanity of the current occupant of the Vatican. The Bear went to war and the tone changed.

      Now, Francis no longer interests me. He stands naked in St. Peter's Square, having been stripped of everything except a fig leaf of formal legitimacy.

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    2. We all have to tolerate a bit of minimalism during Lent! It's a process.

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    3. Consider it part of your spiritual works of mercy, Bear. Speaking the truth can cost you "friends", but they need to hear it. I can't read the headlines anymore about Francis, either. It's just the same old, same old with an occasional bone being thrown. I'm just waiting for the formal correction to come. Glad to have you back!

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  20. Again, Susan has eloquently expressed my thoughts and feelings about the change. Bringing back the old header
    helped but didn't restore the character of the Woodland.

    Last night I sent you some screen shots of what shows up on
    my 15" laptop screen. I used an older email address I had. I hope you got them. Right now the pictures are showing as giant black boxes in Safari. In Firefox, they simply fill the entire screen. On older posts, they fill the entire screen but the top and bottom of each image is cut off, showing only the middle.

    I wouldn't want the Bear to go blind, but hopefully these issues can be solved. It would be a shame for iPhones and tablets to make it unBearable to view the Bear's good work on an actual computer.

    I prefer being able to preview comments but I can adapt by trying to carefully reread what I write before I post.

    And although I usually like to read posts by actually visiting a page, perhaps having them arrive by email subscription would be a solution if worst comes to worst:-(
    Kay

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  21. I don't understand about previewing posts, Sheep One. It sounds like the Sheep President's plane :-) It has always been type and see, then hit the submit button.

    I have tested this on Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera. I have even tested it on Microsoft's new Windows 10 browser, Edge. Edge is picky about standards, but it shows up just fine even on Edge. I have also tested it on iOS iPhone and iPad Safari. It performs flawlessly on every browser and OS I have thrown it at. I don't want to sound like Microsoft technical support, but I don't have any idea why it would not work on your browser, as long as it is up-to-date.

    As for the large fonts, I'm not sure how much I can address that, and this is why.

    First of all, the larger font is quite deliberate. With more people having higher definition screens, fonts on older themes like before can look really small. Small to the point of eye strain. I suspect if people are seeing super-large fonts in the body of posts, it is because the font size display.

    Under Windows --> Settings --> Display I can adjust font size. I have mine set at the recommended 200%. The font is set at 20, which is supposed to be big (but not so big to be distracting). With my setting, I get a nice, comfortable display. If you look at the byline and miscellaneous text, it is 16. Compare that with the typical Word document font of 10 or 11.

    Again, people have different hardware screen resolutions, and there's nothing I can do about that, unfortunately. And I'm not telling people they have to change their settings. (Continued.)

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    1. Thanks for your response and efforts, Bear. Here is a link to what I mentioned with the Preview button from before but that isn't a big deal.

      https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HP_weB17BbU/WNQLzPVA12I/AAAAAAAAMIk/eUs_aOVOEgQcANoxWCjwy0lTfKu0pfHUgCLcB/s1600/Screen%2Bshot%2B2017-03-23%2Bat%2B12.49.03%2BPM.png

      The font isn't a problem either for me. I did find that reducing the screen size in Firefox to 80% restored image visibility. In Safari, images are still big black boxes. I do have a 2009 laptop running the last versions of browsers for the operating system. Changing OS usually messes up apps like Photoshop so I try and keep things stable and familiar.

      It also occurs to me in regards to the character and personality of the blog as it was, that perhaps we have, because of the Bear's master abilities as a story-teller, created an imaginary world that we are reluctant to give up.

      Anyway, life goes on and we will probably adapt. In these matters, most people don't really care one way or the other. And the content IS what's most important. I'll give it some time.
      Kay

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    2. The Bear looks around, and sees all the familiar places. His cave, Zoar Manor, the Goat Pasture, the Woodlands and, far off, the Abbey. The Bear's magic lies not in web design, and the destination is the very same no matter how you arrive.

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  22. Let me address the style question. I anticipated resistance. There is always resistance to change, and I don't blame anyone one bit. In fact, I am very gratified that people are so identified with my ephemeris as to care.

    But what seems strange to me is that nearly all the content - and ALL of the important content - is still there. The search function is right at the top of the page. The familiar header has been restored.. The side-bar containing: the Bear's shameless self-promotion, archive, blog roll, and salmon-begging.

    I am respectfully listening to feedback. I agree that this theme is not perfect, but neither was the other, either. On an older laptop Windows laptop with a 15-in. screen, yeah, the font does look big, but one man's too-big is another (probably older) man's readable. Even so, I will see what might work better. I can always change my own settings after all.

    At some point I am going to have to set this issue aside for the time being and return my focus to producing Bear content. Again, thank you for your feedback, but please realize this is a WIP motivated by my desire to bring the best experience to everyone. It will either do that or not. If not, then I'll see what I can do.

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    1. Let the new design sit for a week or two. Its strengths and weaknesses will become more apparent after it has settled in.

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  23. P.S. if I were ever to go back to the old theme, I would have to fix two things: the inaccessible side-bar and the font. I know I can make the font bigger. I can't fix the side-bar problem, and would have to come up with a different way to present that content that would be accessible to users on all devices.

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  24. P.S. Word doc with a font size of 11 or 12, not 10 or 11.

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