Friday, February 4, 2011

10 Request for feedback: Site redesign nearly complete

Most of the dizzying site redesign is over, so soon the focus will be returning to providing more content.

About the only thing I'm dissatisfied with so far is the Camp Other header logo. Right now, it's more of a placeholder until something more suitable for the tone of this blog is drawn up.

I'm not really sure what this logo needs to be, so I may consult with some graphic designer friends for ideas... In the meantime, at least a tent on the beach is less likely to be infested with ticks - just watch out for sand flies.

Small sample feedback so far:

I've found out the new redesign works better on iPhone in Safari than the old format.

The Opera browser is the bane of my existence: User reports are telling me it is a drag in Opera to view the site on their smart phones - but I'm not sure how much to blame that on the design  - or to blame that on Opera.  For them, labels at the bottom of the page do not show up well, and thus far, none of the options for post archives seem to work.

If you are using Opera and reading this, please let me know if you are a regular Blogger user and have been able to access post archives and in which format (pull down menu of dates, "accordion style" unfolding dates).

[Ed. Feb. 5: After retesting, it now appears that the post archive is working in Opera, and labels are working fine in Safari on iPhone but not Opera.]

All components appear to work just fine on the latest versions of FireFox and Internet Explorer on both Windows and Mac machines. I don't know about older versions.

There is a problem using Chrome, though - a handful of reports that the logo graphic does not consistently display on the page and all that is seen is empty space. Strange bug? Few people use Chrome so I don't know how big a problem this is or the cause.

I have yet to get feedback on anyone using Unix of any kind. I know someone out there is viewing the site using a Unix box - so if you are that someone, please drop me a line in comments letting me know if the redesign is working for you.

So far, I think this version of the blog is easier to read on my laptop than the previous format. I find the font face and type easier to read; I like the embossed background motif with DNA, macrophages, dendritic cells, etc.; I like the addition of the tag or label list at the bottom of the page (but realize I need to write and label far more posts using each label for them to all be easily read).

Other than the header logo, I'm content with it as it is.

So, if anyone has any additional feedback they can give me, now is the time...

If I get the digital equivalent of crickets chirping in response to this, then I'm going to assume you are fine with things the way they are, and I will leave things alone and only deal with changing the Camp Other logo in the future.


  1. Just a quick note since you seem to be putting a good amount of thought into this...

    Having the labels, song of the day, etc. in the footer of the page really, really doesn't work. Had it not been for you mentioning that it was there, I wouldn't have never even noticed it. I would put it in the sidebar, maybe in the place of the followers panel, which is pretty useless.

  2. Anonymous,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Yes, trying to put some thought into this because the old layout wasn't working and a few people commented on it.

    I don't think the song of the month is that important to the blog. Given the lyrics of "Till My Head Falls Off" by They Might Be Giants, it's probably the song of the year for a lot of Lyme/coinfection patients, but it's not the main content of the blog.

    I agree that the labels are probably more useful, but if I put them parallel to the posts then they can be a bit distracting next to the content on the left people are trying to read. For an experiment, though, I will put them on the right sidebar for several hours and see what you and others think.

    Followers is kind of useless in terms of content, but if you look at the Patient Minion section, you will see a little "Follow" button there. That bit of functionality is useful for Blogger members and I don't want to put that at the bottom of the page. I keep toying with where to place it on the sidebar.

    Thanks for your feedback so far. Let me know what you think. I hope a few more people comment on this. By the end of the weekend other than the logo I will probably lock things down and leave them be for a long while. I want to get back to posting more topical and substantive research posts.

  3. Oh, one more thing about placing the labels on the sidebar:

    They seem to not wrap inside the page when viewed on iPhones and smart phones in both Safari and Opera. I don't know why that's the case and either it has something to do with the mobile forms of those browsers or Blogger's code for the label component. I don't know if it's code I can edit.

  4. Put a red cross on the show you are a neutral third party just trying to help--not the enemy. LOL

  5. Thanks for the feedback, Just Koz. I've discussed a new logo design with others that will replace the sunset/tent one that may work very well, and will be friendly but somewhat irreverent - which is what the tone here is, I think.

    To be clear on my position, I can't be completely neutral: I have been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and Babesia. These conditions have made me very, very ill. I also have a research background and am somewhat skeptical, so I do not believe everything I read or hear at first pass.

    With these two things in mind, my goal is learn and to question the situation I now find myself in - and look at what the IDSA, patient groups, ILADS, and other institutions not directly related to these parties are saying about tickborne infections.

    There is a lot of polarization and controversy over the issue of Lyme and its coinfections and I want to get past that for a broader overview of different angles. I'm also hoping to work out and understand differences of opinion by exploring the concept of a Third Side in seemingly intractable debates.

    But I can't remain perfectly neutral. I don't think that is possible once one has been in my situation.

    Even though this is the case, I am more than willing to read contradictory data about my condition and accept an answer of "I don't know" from a doctor or researcher. I respect hearing that answer if given honestly more than dishonest answers given out of political expediency or to provide comfort.

    I'm willing to hear others out and change my position if there is sufficient evidence to prove my position is limited or flawed. I'd rather get closer to the truth and drop my former position than support falsehoods.

    "Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.'"
    - Kahlil Gibran

  6. Camp Other,
    I too am biased for the same exact reasons you are, which puts us on one side of a political dispute.
    We both know there is sufficient evidence that the IDSA and CDC recommended treatments do not offer long term relief...enough to convince even the simplest minds. Which is precisely the problem;
    the opposing side of the dispute are not simple open minded folks. On the contrary they are educated people with a bias (like most political reasoning...unclear to me)which causes them to ignore any evidence that contradicts their position, no matter how obvious.
    It is now all politics, and politics have historically dismissed philosophical or moral arguments.
    Widespread public awareness and pressure is the surest way of forcing change in a political policy. That could mean a long road ahead, but on the other hand the charts tracking the spread of tick born diseases are almost vertical which, sadly, will no doubt raise awareness faster than private organizations can. The most beneficial science will advance much faster if there is political (financial) support. How do we accomplish that? What can the affected reader do?
    Your knowledge and attitude are admirable and encouraging...hopefully contagious.
    Thank you

  7. Just Koz,

    I think that if any affected reader can do something, it is to push to make public existing research regarding persistence and immune factors on Lyme and coinfections more widespread and accessible. Also, to find representatives to speak more on the behalf of those of us who are afflicted who are scientifically knowledgeable and can advance knowledge in this area and gain the financial support that is needed.

    Everyone in the patient community was so pleased with what Willy Burgdorfer revealed in "Under Our Skin". But he revealed it there, and not on the evening news. That difference is huge. Someone who is credible needs to step forward to a wider audience and state the issues from a position of expertise.

    The patients have been doing a lot of awareness activism. This is different. Something different needs to happen.

    To a degree, I think one has to stop watering down the trough and get all the Lyme organizations and foundations together to fund one big project rather than smaller piecemeal projects may help.

    Unify all these groups and work past any internal politics between different associations, because if it doesn't happen, I don't know what we'll see in another 10-20 years... Especially if the IDSA gets its way and more strictly enforces and regulates antibiotic use nationwide. We could have LLMDs under state law protection, but they might have more trouble getting antibiotics for us. I don't know, though, how any of that is going to shake out.

    But anyway...alongside of the drive to protect LLMDs and experiment with alternative protocols, I see less concerted and concentrated effort on is pushing for a cure from scientists for what is wrong with those of us who remain chronically ill after a tickbite.

    Letters about one's personal experiences to certain institutions or citing the same list of studies is like spamming mailboxes. The intended recipients might not even get that mail - and depending on the institution, it is often screened.

    I think another approach has to be tried, working with researchers who are far more willing to look at all the factors and who are not arrogant; researchers who are willing to say, "I don't know", even, instead of, "There is no such thing as persistent infection".

    And if I hear anyone else say there is no such thing as persistent infection, I think at this point they need to not only show me sufficient evidence it isn't happening - but prove what else is creating patients' ongoing symptoms and find a safe treatment for it. Someone independent of the IDSA guidelines group, because at this point that well is already far too poisoned historically.

    Otherwise, I'm just a guinea pig to someone until the matter is settled.

    You know, I think I feel another post coming on to discuss this more... thanks for the inspiration!

  8. One way of spreading awareness might be to broaden the scope of the problem. I have recently watched three different documentaries; Food Inc., The Corporation, and Under Our Skin; I noticed a common point of contention in all three programs that seems to be the root of the monetary and political problems presented in these programs. That single common issue is a 1980 (I think) Supreme Court ruling that allowed individuals and corporations to patent living organisms. I think it is so unethical it makes me ill, but more does everyone I discuss it with. If that one ruling could be overturned (or at least restricted) it would alone stop most of the biased interests that are causing so many health, food, and environmental risks for all citizens in this country. My point is this provides a common issue, with an obvious concern for everyone, which could act as a unity anchor for a common just cause. It may take some focus off Lyme's directly, but the end result accomplishes the same goal indirectly.

  9. A link to that Supreme Court decision I mentioned in my last post:

    Sorry for getting off topic; feel free to move or link any of my posts to where you feel they are most appropriate.

  10. Taking a quick moment to respond to you, Just Koz,

    I think you are absolutely right on the money: Stop patenting living organisms. And even the arguably non-living - viruses. I think that would be a good move in the right direction.

    I also think that science funding needs to be restructured, but that is an issue in and of itself that requires more writing than I can do at the moment. The short end of it is that all results need to be published including the failures and that outcomes need to be independently verified by non-corporate sponsors or agencies beholden to them.


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