Wednesday, March 5, 2014

0 Admin Note: Pardon The Mess...But I'm Changing The Blog

You might have noticed that this blog has had its format changed a lot in the past 24 hours. Apologies to anyone who found it disorienting, but it was something that had to be done.

Initially my intent was to do one thing and one thing only:  make room for an upcoming post which contains a wide table that wouldn't fit in my 3 column format. So I began pushing the links and widgets from two separate columns into one column so I could have a wider area for posts. Then I realized that it took much longer for the page to load, and there was a big white space below the posts next to the giant list of links I was forced to make when moving them all into one column.

Suffice it to say, one thing lead to another and before I knew it, I was more than halfway through an overhaul of the site's layout.

So here we are... I'm not sure I'm done with it (though hopefully close to it) and if you're a regular reader of this blog, it might be useful for me to point out what these changes have been, how they might affect you, and my thoughts on any near-future changes:

The logo has taken a vacation.

It's nothing personal, it just needed a break (as I have as well) and was tired of holding up the top of the page. So I took it offline, where it has decided to go off to a spa in Bayern, lose some weight, and promised to introduce me to some new friends. (I'm not sure what to make of this, but at any rate, hopefully our new logo will come back, refreshed and resized.)

"Posts people are reading this week" list was removed.

The posts which were on that list were there mainly because people found them through a search engine or were already familiar with the blog and came back for a second look. Few people used them to read an older post, and more than half of my readers are regulars looking for new posts. Given this, I decided to retire this list.

The long list of blog post links which bordered the left side of the page have been moved.

They have not been deleted, they now live on their own page which is linked to on the toolbar at the top of this page: Popular Posts.

Interesting as they were, they began slowing down the loading of this page and their presence prompted me to install a third column to the layout in the first place - which I now realize was a dumb decision if I ever intend to put tables of data on my blog or perhaps might want to post a diagram, scientific illustration, web comics, or a video with large dimensions. (The table on this page about tickborne disease transmission times already looks better.)

Sometimes less is more. So right. Gone.

<<  The "view all posts" link is gone, along with its cool retro graphic. 

Sorry, it just had to go. I hadn't clicked on it in a while, but a few days ago I tried it and found out it didn't work. It didn't work on my laptop, it didn't work on phones... it didn't work on anything. I don't know if Blogger decided to no longer support this feature or if it just stopped working with my blog once it reached a certain number of posts. Either way, it isn't working so it's gone.

If you used it a lot (or even at all), I recommend that instead you either search for a blog on a given topic by using the handy search tool on the sidebar or scroll down and browse the archives to find a specific blog post.

The blog rolls for science blogs and Lyme disease patient blogs (relocated to the footer below) now display the 5 most recently updated blogs. 

I have had a hard time deciding what to do with displaying blog rolls - particularly patient blogs. Two of the blogs on my patient roll as of this writing are no longer writing about Lyme disease. They have moved on, which is great news - but I'm not sure whether to retain their blogs since they are either unlikely to be updated or will be off topic. My compromise for the time being was to set the blog roll widget to only display the top 5 most recently updated blogs and the rest remain behind a link, where if you want to see them, just click it and the rest of the blogs - outdated as they are - will display.

It may be that I end up removing some of the blogs from my rolls and replace them with others. I haven't decided yet, but I could use recommendations for good blogs by patients about science and chronic illness management in general to add to the rolls. I've been thinking broadening the category from "Lyme disease patient blogs" to something more general about chronic illness (but which is still focused more on Lyme disease and other tickborne infections). Nothing solid yet. Update: I added "chronic illness" to the blog roll title, and PhDisabled blog.

Future changes?

I don't plan on making major future changes after this any time soon, unless one counts refreshing the logo (or header and logo area, to be precise) as a major change. My basic aim lately is to simplify everything, though, so you can at least make some predictions what direction near-future changes in the design and layout of this blog will be.


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