Possible new blog style

Possible new blog style:

UPDATE: 11 May 20:40GMT

Based on some of your feedback and my own desires, I adjusted the theme.

How about this.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Victor says:

    I like the current design better. But who am I…

  2. Tiny says:

    The links at the top of the page look a little unwieldy; clean it up a bit and I think it’d be quite nice.

  3. Mark M says:

    Call me stick in the mud, but I like the current one too. :D

  4. John says:

    I like the potential, new look.

    It looks a bit “crisper.” And when I print out a posting, If I lose anything off the edge of the paper, it’ll be the static stuff.


  5. Stephen V. says:

    Not bad – though the links at the top do look a bit chaotic, and I personally prefer the black background at the sides of the current design. It adds to the balance, and eases the reading.

  6. a religious says:

    If you change the design of the blog, can we gain an indult to continue viewing the old design ?

  7. ALL: Part of the problem is that the present design is not widget friendly and I just can’t “widgetize” it. Would that I could. I must look for templates that are better suited to the new versions of WordPress, which powers this blog. I want to add functionality, such as a useful search feature, but keep in readable, since this blog is pretty text oriented.

  8. Ray from MN says:

    I like the two sidebars. You have a lot of information here, Father.

    Speaking of great series you have posted, your “Mysteries of the Rosary” was a keeper.

    You might consider copying some of your “Hall of Fame” posts to an identical looking WDTPRS-II, without the sidebars, to make them easier to find and thus encourage more browsing. But maybe that would be too much work.

  9. Alli says:

    I like it, but the sidebar seems a bit too wide.
    The color scheme is great, though!

  10. Mary Rose says:

    I like the newer design. I always like a crisp white background but I can understand those who like the black.

    One thing I wish your blog would have is a “newbie” tag as opposed to the “Pages” tag. Maybe something that could stand out a little more. I admit when I first came to this blog, I was overwhelmed.

    My big wish would be for a search engine. Now that would be a huge help!

  11. Rudy B says:

    I like the design! Although I’d miss the trademark black background, I’ll sacrifice my likes in favor of making Father’s life a little easier!

  12. Trad Tom says:

    Father Z,

    Do whatever works best for you. The “look” of each is fine, and we are so lucky to have such a wonderful blog apostolate that we will adapt to any style of the hard work you do for us.

  13. Bill says:

    I like the appearance of the new design, but as others have pointed out, the links at the top seem a bit chaotic. Also, while the sidebars offer help in organization, I dislike the article text being so narrow, making articles even longer.

  14. Ray: I simply don’t know how to do that.

  15. Joseph says:

    I vote for the new look.

  16. David Osterloh says:

    continuity Father, continuity ;>)

  17. JM says:

    Fr. Z,

    I like the potential of the new look. It’s crisper, cleaner, and easier to view.

    HOWEVER, I have to agree with some of the comments above. The header links seems a bit chaotic and the sidebar is a bit too wide.

    I also think that the sidebar would be better positioned on the left. Most websites that use a 2 column layout have the smaller column on the left. I think it’s an industry best practice.

    Anyway, that’s my .02…

  18. Paul says:

    The current style is distinctive. I wouldn’t change it.

  19. FloridaJohn says:

    Fr. Z: Whatever blog style you choose to publish, we will be there reading it! May the Holy Spirit guide your choice for the glory of God and the salvation of souls!

  20. Fr. Z-
    I like the new one a lot. I do agree with the comments about the links at the top, though — they should be reduced a bit. And the red color will take some getting used to.

  21. Marc says:

    I like the new look. It does not seem as busy.

  22. Julie says:


    I like it -with the simple suggestion of inverting the right and left column placement.


  23. Paul says:

    While I do like the way you have it set up now, I will still read the blog no matter what. You could print it on a ricola wrapper and I would read your blog.

  24. AnnaTrad says:

    If you Blog it we will come.Do what you have to do.

  25. Mark says:

    Love it – big improvement. Just do it Father!

  26. Tzard says:

    I like the new one. It’s really a 3-column format – and puts important things like the links and the calendar closer to the top (for easy reference). It slightly de-emphasizes our beloved Fr. Z – which I don’t think he’s mind in the least.

    Overall, it looks crisper and cleaner – more professional (admittedly, this is only a matter of impresions – but the world works off impressions). The lessening of color block seems to be the biggest contribution to this “feel”.

    As for the links, it should be easy to clean them up a bit – perhaps with button or a grid or some playing with fonts. I agree that as presented, it’s a bit hard to pick out the particular link. Perhaps some bullets or number lists might organize it a bit.

    Good job.

  27. Jean says:

    Fr Z:
    I am a recent reader – I have been getting your RSS feed for about a month now. The new design looks a lot better to me than the current one – cleaner, more visually appealing, gentler on the eyes. Go for it!

  28. Lu says:

    I like it! :)

  29. Matt Q says:

    Father Z, it’s a nice change but don’t let it look like a newsletter. Our local community-events ditty we get in the mail looks something like that. I think maybe that’s why I don’t want WDTPRS to look like that. LOL.

    If it’s truly a technical issue concerning widgeting then you do what you have to do, and can always tweak the presentation later on.

    God bless.

  30. Former Altar Boy says:

    Call me a “traditionalist,” but I prefer the current format. However, if you decide to change it, two suggestions:
    – flop your photo (which has moved to the right side of the page) so you are are facing left, looking “into” the page rather than off of it (common publishing layout); and
    – arrange the sub-title so your little typewritten priest cartoon is under your name, not over on the right hand margin all by itself.

  31. lks says:

    I like the extraordinary form of the Fr. Z Page, but I would also attend the ordinary form. (Wink.)

  32. Goofy says:

    One suggestion, if possible, is to have
    comments load in a new window that opens
    rather than in the same location.
    See, for example:

    It makes things quicker and easier to read,
    because after you are done reading the comments
    you can immediately return to the main page
    without having to reload it.

  33. Scott W. says:

    My only issue is with the comments. For some reason your (and yours alone) blog takes FOR-EV-ER to post the comments.

  34. A.Williams says:

    The present design is perfectly suitable….so why change? The important thing is the content, and changing might bring some unforeseen distractions to the content. It might be like adding extra ornamental items… flowers, extra candles.. etc..in the Santuary. The additional items can distract from the essential focus of the Liturgy itself. So if there is a strong reason to change, it might be O.K., but if not, better to leave things as they are. Moreover, even in the business world changes are rarely made to trademarks.

  35. Kevin says:

    Perhaps you could keep the black in somehow, Father?

  36. Rellis says:

    As someone who runs two blogs myself, it’s important to make a change every once in awhile. It tends to shake up the mind of the poster, and get him to think outside the box. It’s healthy.

    Count me in for a blog change according to your liking, provided it’s done in the hermeneutics of blog continuity.

  37. Jack says:

    The black is really nice, I’d hate to loose it. Could you make it so that users can change the background color for themselves?

  38. big benny says:

    I shall be leading a breakaway sect into schism as a result of these un-necessary modernist inventions (out of necessity mind!). We shall aim to restore (read impose) the traditional layout on the whole church, and advocate a return to even more rad-trad customs such as having all text in latin (including scripture qoutations) and use of hand written caligraphy on scrolls. Of course, anyoe not in holy orders will be prohibited from actively participating in the new-old usus antiquitous blog.

  39. Fr Ó Buaidhe says:

    non placet

  40. Brian Day says:

    One suggestion, if possible, is to have comments load in a new window that opens rather than in the same location.

    I think that is a feature of Blogger. I visit a few other sites that use WordPress, and none of them have a separate comment window. That’s not to say that is isn’t possible, but if no one else is using that feature, then it may take some mad programming skills.

    Other than the busy subheadings, I like the new look.

  41. Guy Power says:

    I prefer the “traditional” view. Speaking of which…. Father, shouldn’t your photo be “ad orientem?” :^D

  42. Based on some of your feedback and my own desires, I adjusted the theme.

    How about this.

  43. Jim says:

    My two cents: I like this much better than with the white background. The red and black hearken to your famous saying, and the black makes reading the burgundy header text easier on the eyes. With the white background, the burgundy looked a little harsh, but this was potentially due to the large links at the top of the last version.

  44. TJB says:

    Im assuming the “Save the Liturgy Save the World!” image is further down the page?

  45. Matt Q says:

    Dear Father Z:

    The second version is great. Much better than the first and more attractive. The black background is much easier on the eyes than all the white background where everything gets lost. Good job. Use this version. :)

  46. vexilla regis says:

    Dear FrZ,
    Your latest(third) new version seems excellent. Thanks for giving us a chance to comment.We rely on you a lot and are never disappointed.

  47. John Enright says:

    Sorry, Father, but I like the current design. The new designs contain too much wasted empty space.

  48. Folks… understand something. The present template is not going to work for much longer.

  49. Rudy B says:

    I vote in favor of the updated version. Thanks for everything, Father!

  50. Mary Rose says:

    Sweeeeet! I spy a search bar! I do like the red band with the black background better, now that I’ve seen it. Big solemn kudos, to you, Fr. Z! (Said in faith that everything works according to your intentions…) :-)

  51. Diane says:

    Hmmmmm….is there any connection between the updated color theme and…


  52. SuzyQ says:

    Very nice … and I like the second revision better than the first. But regardless of what you do to the blog, I’m not goin’ anywhere. I’m here for the content, not the aesthetics. :)

  53. A.Williams says:

    I Think the inclusion of the blue color on the current blog design makes a big difference. Its very tastefully done. If it can be incorporated into the new design in some way I think it would also help. Too bad the current design isn’t suitable as it is really rather well done. The proposed version is a bit simplistic with the black on white header…not as sophisticated as blue, black red and white typography above. Also, “Save the Liturgy, Save the World” should be colored and emboldened. It’s a great slogan that everyone should be proud of, and so should have a prominant place..as it has on the current set-up. Its very attractive and prominent. But that’s just my 2 pesos.

  54. Brian Day says:

    Just add a picture of the Bugatti Veyron (with or without you sitting inside of it) and it is perfect. :)

  55. Paul Murnane says:

    Go for it, Father! Sure feels like an “organic” development to me. I also think you’ll do some more tweaks when you “widgetize, Maybe a bulletin-style article on the why of the changes, etc. Just please, no big-headed puppet photos. ;)

  56. Cassanda says:

    Well, since you’re inviting comments, I’ll offer mine. The second format try is better because it’s cleaner. Too many sites and blogs try to jam everything on the page they can and it becomes overwhelming. http://www.godaddy.com is an infamous example. It’d be better to reduce the sidebar distractions to give the content more room and more focus.

    It’s your blog (obviously) and you can do what you want with it, but I’ll tell you how *I* use it and what would be great usability changes for me—though I don’t know if you have the software tools to do it.

    First, I come to this blog because it’s a clearing house of information on the Church and especially the Liturgy and translations(!). Interspersed are a number of entries that I have no interest in. An easier way of skipping those would be super. The universal blog format itself, I think is lacking a little. Blogs have an article title (often deceiving), text (a lot) with maybe a trailing comments link, and a permalink link. But they scroll forever. It would be nice if there were a title (linked to expand) and a short description of a sentence or less—rather like a thumbnail for pictures. Speaking of which thumbnails for pictures would be wonderful.

    Secondly, I come back to the site to pick up documentation and citations on particular articles I read. So far, I’ve really struggled to find old articles on your site. A database search would be really great, but of course that requires the right keywords if you’re not doing a full-text search. Pretend you’re me and you looking for the name of the archbishop from Kazakhstan who wrote that book on communion – what was that title again? I’m sure I read it here somewhere…. What month was that again?….

    Your current sidebar has a long list of things to work through–look how far I have to scroll to get to the bubble wrap! Why not provide links to pages by group instead? A page with all your favorite other bloggers, for instance. Some of the sidebar stuff is “marketing” I suppose, but you’re established well-enough by now that you don’t really need to sell the site except by content. A click or two to get information is not bad if it’s clear where to find it.

    My two cents. Site layout and design is a true art. Any way it ends up, I’m glad your site is available.

  57. Reid Matthiessen says:

    Shucks, Father! I still prefer your blog as you’ve had it. But unless you lapse into Potato Head Arianism, or some such heresy, I’ll continue to read you “quaque die”!

  58. Father: 1st version: I like your 3 column idea here-I might even go with 4. You can see more at first glance. However, I don’t like all your “page” links near the top but I see you removed that in your second version.

    2nd version: I like the color scheme much better.

    Any version: Oh, the search engine is a gift from the gods!!! One of my ‘gripes’ about your site is it’s hard to search. The web search engines don’t do a good job on it. Assuming your new search engine works well. Do you set up your own metatags or does the engine you are using (I don’t know whose it is) do that for you automatically?

    Since you have so much great material, the ultimate WDTPRS would be “My WDTPRS” where each reader could customize your page and put what they wanted most where they wanted. But, I’m getting ahead of myself and probably what kind of time you have.

    I agree with Brian Day: definitely room for the Bugatti!

  59. John Enright says:

    Fr. Z. said: “Folks… understand something. The present template is not going to work for much longer.” Why, Father? Techno consideration? If you really must change the template, then I think the second example would work, so long as the black area is replaced with white as in the first example.

  60. Aaron says:

    I like the black/red but would much prefer the header bars.

  61. Bill says:

    Fr. Z, the revised form of the new layout is looking much better!

    Go for it!

  62. Bill Bean says:

    I often read RSS feeds on my telephone (with a low-cost, low-speed connection) but am unable to read WDTPRS this way because the HTML page is so fullsome that it either cannot load at all or takes so long to load that I must move on to something else.

    The best RSS feed in my experience is the ‘Economist’ but the ‘BBC’ runs a close second. The Economist provides the opening paragraphs of each article in the feed itself so that reference to the full article is often unnecessary. I don’t know the mechanics involved in translating HTML pages into RSS feeds, so I don’t know if what the Economist does can be done with WDTPRS or whether it would be desirable in any case.

    I very much appreciate your insights and similarly appreciate your efforts at continual improvement.

  63. The second, do the red, say the black version is clean and readable, perfect. The trademark version. Go for it.

  64. Raphaela says:

    Father, with regard to the search feature, it’s already possible to search your blog using Google. Just enter your keywords PLUS “site:wdtprs.com” in the Google search field, and you will get only hits from your blog on whatever keyword you searched for.

    As for the layouts, I can’t decide. I think the white background of the first one is more elegant than the black of the second, but on the other hand the less cluttered look of the second is preferable to the first. But, really, I’d be well content with either version. (Or, indeed, any layout that doesn’t involve white text on a black background; quite a lot of bloggers seem to like this look, but I find it such a strain on the eyes to read that I simply cannot visit those blogs with any regularity. I’m glad that none of your suggested designs have gone that route!)

  65. Lindsay says:

    If you are reworking things, you might start tagging posts by theme. I really like the archive features on blogs where I can just see everything the blogger has written about the specific topic that interests me.

  66. Not Getting Creaky Just Yet says:

    As long as everybody is chipping in, I will, too: re the suggestions about finding stuff later: have you seen the Climate Audit site? (www.climateaudit.org) McIntyre has a keyword setup and a list of keywords on the side in one of the boxes; you can click on a subject, like, say, “solar”, and it will pop up all the threads that had that as their keyword. (Oh, at the bottom of every post he lists the keyword(s) that the post will be stuck under.) Another interesting idea that you may or may not have any interest in eventually is the link (box? I forget) for definitions.

    Both of your candidates are good; I slightly prefer the general layout of the newest one. If you wanted the link pile to stay, perhaps you could insert a dot or bullet between each separate link? Or underline them? And skip the all-cap font? But I trust your excellent sense on these things. Do what you need to do, we’ll adapt.

    God bless you.

  67. Templar says:

    Father Z…I do not mean this to be snarky or funny, I honestly feel this.

    I understand why the red and black figure so prominently, but when presented in this manner, with the large sections of black and red and the white text area containing the Blog proper, I am immediately, and almost over whelmingly, reminded of a Nazi banner.

    I am sorry, I almost hate saying that, but that is what I felt. For that reason I prefer the red and white back ground, even if it’s not as crisp.

  68. I like the second update. It’s very clean and uncluttered.

  69. jacobus says:

    Father, I hope you keep a lot of the side bar stuff; there is a lot of good information there that I enjoy perusing when I have a few free moments.

  70. techno_aesthete says:

    FWIW, I like the most recent update.

  71. Sarah says:

    Father, I had the same immediate impression as Templar. I thought I was just getting the side-effects of this semester’s WWII course, but when he said it too, I thought I should mention it.

  72. AlephGamma says:

    I like the left-hand pane not having data and going straight to the posting since the lists clogs up Crackberry viewing. Otherwise really slick with the red and black…

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