This blog is getting a facelift – what would you like to change/keep the same?

Dear FP2P readers


Our IT guys tell me it’s time for a makeover, (sadly, only for the blog, not for me). So I’m asking for suggestions. What aspects of this blog’s format (not Faceliftcontent – that’s a separate discussion) do you find useful and want to keep unchanged, and what do you find really annoying/ want to add/change?

So far, we are planning to:

– add a print button for oldies like me who prefer to print stuff out

– make the site more mobile friendly

– have posts on separate pages rather then running down the page

Plus any thoughts about displaying the archive. Would you use a Greatest Hits option – most viewed or most commented? Do you want to see the most recent videos?

And more generally, if you have some blog that strikes you as a good model for us to copy, send us the link.

Over to you. Some sort of dodgy prize for the most useful response…….

How often do people search for older posts – why =do they search for them? – give us some ideas about how to display older posts
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20 Responses to “This blog is getting a facelift – what would you like to change/keep the same?”
  1. Alice Evans

    Is there any way in which the search function might be ‘improved’?

    I have often found it difficult to track down an old post. However, this issue may be unique to me. Perhaps I have used inappropriate key words.

    That aside, the blog is superb, so thank you.

  2. MJ

    A minor formatting point, but when reading your posts on an RSS reader (e.g. Feedly now that Google Reader has gone) images often appear somewhat randomly mid-sentence. So a better content management system that knows where the images properly belong in the text flow would be nice.

    And, on that subject, images that resize nicely down to mobile screen width would be appreciated. (This sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t, but I might also be getting confused with other blogs.)

    Otherwise don’t get too radical fixing something that already works!

  3. Kevin Cook

    I particularly like the hot links provided that take me to new ideas and I like the way your are able to summarize long, detailed reports etc. Length is not a problem though as even the longest of your blogs is always readable and informative.

    I use the blog with my undergraduates and refer to it every week in some way. So please don’t make major changes to content. Keep including the images – graphs, cartoons, photos – as all add interest.

    You might consider the page layout’ relegating’ some of the items – recent posts, polls, about this blog, categories – to access via a button. This would give you space to spread across the page.

    I agree about searching for archived blogs and if this could be improved, so much the better.

    Overall this is a fantastic resource which keeps me and my students up to date with the latest thinking. It also gives me confidence to try out new ideas with my undergraduates.I am looking forward very much to hearing you deliver the Keynote Address at the April 2014 GA Conference at Surrey University.

  4. Andrew Ward

    Love the blog

    Would prefer if it is kept on one page though. I live in Africa and am very busy. The delay in moving from one page to another, when I have other calls on my time is often enough for me to close up and move onto the next job. Maybe I misunderstand but would prefer not having to open up more than once

  5. Viktoria Isaksson

    I would like the fonts to be in bigger size (let’s pretend that this has nothing to do with age).

    I also prefer to keep it on one page – we are doing a similar makeover of our web, and our developers say that most people don’t mind scrolling, but that many are lost when you need to go to another page.

    Keep the pictures and the generous linking.

  6. Monica Koep

    Duncan, This is a great blog in terms of content and structure/format. Presently I file away any particularly relevant postings (a fast-growing collection…), to ensure that I can find them when I need them, so any improvement on accessing the archive would be very helpful. Please don’t change the split page presentation. I like the idea of having a Greatest Hits/most viewed/commented on section.

  7. Remi

    Hello, often the pictures show at the wrong place when viewed in a feed reader (e.g. feedly) and it interrupts reading. No biggie, but better placement of pictures would be nice.

    Alos, not having to click through three tiems to download a document you have uploaded.

    Keep up the good work!

  8. Hi – love the blog generally – agree with font size. Structurally: Right-side bar could be narrowed to not distract from center bar, main blog should be protagonist.
    For blogs to all stay on same page but to capitalise on space, perhaps first paragraph of blog is visible then a “continue reading” link could show the rest of the blog -not sure if this is possible,not a techie :-)Also, perhaps Sub-headings within blogs to break-up text and for quick reference.
    Check which is not too bad – thanks for asking Duncan

  9. Joel Bassuk

    My number 1 request:
    1. User-friendly URLs. These are also better for SEO. See:
    5 Steps to SEO-Friendly Site URL Structure

    2. Agree with larger text size.

    3. Agree with Jaime – external links should open a new tab.

    4. Better image handling, eg, enable click on an image to enlarge (eg, using a modal window, instead of taking the user to a page that displays the image in the same size at what they have just clicked).

    5. Agree w Sharon – sub-headings help users skim, and quickly summarize the article, and pick out key points (which is how we usually ‘read’ online).

    6. A most popular might be a nice addition (eg, like popular news sites).

  10. jane

    Also reading from a place with slow internet connection– please consider whatever changes you can make to hasten loading time. I’m pro-scrolling, anti-clicking like the others above since I like to have all my content loaded so when the inevitable power failure comes, I can keep reading on my laptop.

    I would love a “greatest hits”– both most popular/commented/shared whatever, but also YOUR favorite posts.

    Thanks for the blog.

  11. Graham

    Hi Duncan

    I like the colour scheme and banner graphics (at top & bottom of the pages).

    Margins and/or padding is often clunky (e.g. the comment numbers on this page do not have enough space between them and the vertical line; the space between the second picture and text on this page makes the text hard to read )

    Would be good to allow basic formatting in comments.

    I’m not bothered about text size (I can embiggen it using ctrl+ +), but I find sans-serif easier to read on screen)

    Definitely keep the quality & range of the content – and the sometimes quirky humour (and the cartoons)

  12. Hi Duncan,

    Two things that, for me, would be excellent improvements:

    1. Typography
    Premise: I’m a typography geek. The choice of Tahoma with 140% line-height and an additional 1px letter spacing makes for blocky, monospaced reading. It isn’t easy on the eyes and breaks the flow. I would suggest going for a quality open font (optimally a well-matched pair of fonts, for titles and body), and have designers think well and hard on size, spacing, kerning, paragraphs etc. A well-designed typography space makes all the difference.

    2. No-click homepage
    Many fellow readers commented on the usefulness of a full-post scrolling homepage, especially in low-bandwidth areas. I understand why you want to go for a slimmer version of the homepage, giving readers an easier overview of all posts. With a little jQuery, you can load entire posts on the homepage, but only show the excerpt by default, letting users expand the post to its full length. This, paired with well-designed on-demand loading of additional content, can make for a great experience in low-bandwidth areas, while retaining the slimmer, easier overview.

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