Testing New Theme

A week ago, I had a new theme created for this blog. The coder had just finished converting it to WordPress and I have just uploaded it. It’s quite messy right now but bear with us as we try to clean it up. There are some spacing problems and link color problems still to work out.

Your comments are welcome. Do you like it? Want to back to the old one? 🙂

*Update – I’ve gone back to the old theme.

73 thoughts on “Testing New Theme”

  1. Terry says:

    There’s a few spacing issues with your lists(bullets) sitting on the edge of the the theme’s content area in Firefox. Might take a look at that. Other than that, not bad at all.

    1. Ali says:

      Hi guys, I’m the designer of this theme here. NOT THE CODER.

      When I originally did the theme I took the content straight from John’s old site. So the font was much smaller and more spaced out, which did not make it look as crowded as it is now.

      I think if the coder fixes the above points the layout will look as nice as it did in the PSD.

      Plus I suggested to John Chow a bunch of different background options like gradients and slanted lines. But he said he liked solid colors.

      I’ll have the other rejected themes on my blog soon for you guys to see.

      Hope this isn’t the end of my designing career. 🙂

      1. Derek says:

        I actually really liked the theme. There were so personal preferences that I would have changed, but as I said, they were personal preferences.

      2. ericwf says:

        I checked out the screenshots on Ali’s site and they actually looked pretty good to me, too. I think you moved back to the old one a little too quickly, John.

        I didn’t see what your site looked like when you were having those code issues, though. It could have been pretty bad.

        Why about taking Brendan’s suggestion and have a week-long contest where you let people vote on the designs (including the old one) and then pick the one with the most votes?

        Set up some kind of point spread so a design has to beat the rest by a reasonable majority to win.

  2. Jacob says:

    Well, if nothing else, it makes each of your posts look longer because they are constricted more by the two sidebars. It looks good, but I don’t know if it is the best. Maybe it’s just too cluttered, I don’t know. Looks good, just not sure.

  3. Soultrance says:

    I have to admit, I’m not a big fan.

    Your previous layout was very well organize, clean and well presented. The addition of 2 sidebars to this theme makes things look a lot busier and a lot more cluttered. The change in width and realestate taken up by the layout also makes it rather overpowering compared to your old look.

    Oh, and the pretty cars have been replace with a mostly faded out not as pretty car. 🙂

  4. Kunal says:

    I don’t like it. And here’s why: TOO Much info! Besides the great posts, the layout was a big draw. Simple is easy to navigate. All of a sudden theres links all over the place.

    Wow. I was just on this site like ten mintues ago to read an article, then I went to get some water, come back, and all of a sudden all hell is breaking loose!

    Keep up the good work, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you decided to go back to the original.


    1. Chrisjos says:

      I couldn’t agree more…..the original theme was much better than this new one.

  5. No offense, John, but I’d switch back to the free theme. This looks like it was made in 1995.

    1. Soultrance says:

      Ha! Nice.

      There are a lot more 3-column style layouts that look a fair bit better.

      ProBlogger linked to a great article the other day called “83 Beautiful wordpress themes you (probably) haven’t seen” and some of the themes on there are great. http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2007/02/09/83-beautiful-wordpress-themes-you-probably-havent-seen/

      The theme I just recently switched over too is actually on the list as well, even though I didn’t find there.


    2. Nate W. says:

      I agree with Matt. I think this theme looks a little outdated.

  6. Chrisjos says:

    Hey John,

    this new theme feelings different….I guess I just have to get use to seeing this new theme….but honestly I prefer the previous theme.

  7. Looks good John. It might take some time to get used to this but I think it was a good move – When you break into the Technorati Top 100 it’s important to have a unique theme, helps with branding your blog.

    I might get a custom theme made for my blog …when I break into the Top 1000 🙂

    Plus, now you have more space to put ads 😉

  8. Kenny says:

    I like it and I hate it.

    I like it because it is a unique theme (relative to Misty Look) however I hate it because it seems too cluttered. A 3 column theme would work best if you put all your content on one column and use the 3rd column for skyscraper ads to break up the overload of content that currently exists.

    Of course, its your blog and everyone including me would easily learn to deal with it as we come back for the content 🙂

  9. Chrisjos says:


    I preferred the original theme…. this new theme makes the site look to busy and compact.

    1. Kalle says:

      I totaly agree with you. This theme looks 1995 🙂 But it is always good to test new things John!

  10. I dunno. I kind of like the new theme. It’s got that “My Blog Blew Up” look to it, as in, I’m a true Dot Com Mogul.

  11. I don’t know if it’s me, but it takes a really long time to load and personally, I think you’re wasting a lot of ad space on the right side by bunching them up near the top. Just my 2cts

  12. A couple of points… you might want to fix the “Here’s A Few More Related Posts” part – fix the bulleted lists like Terry said and also put the gray box under the links to the articles, not just the “Here’s A Few More Related Posts” text and the bananas.

    Also, I don’t know if it’s the theme or the code – but paragraphs in comments aren’t showing up correctly. For example; above this paragraph (“Also, I…”) there should be an empty line…

  13. John Chow says:

    Thanks for all the comments. We’re still doing clean up. Lots of dirt to sweep away. 🙂

  14. Dave says:

    I like the old one a bit more. Maybe giving the users a choice to pick between the themes would be a cool idea.

  15. Aris says:

    No offense too, John. I like the previous one better. But after all, this is your blog. 🙂

  16. Rayman says:

    Please go back to the old one. This is too wide, takes too long to load and the background is dark so body text is not legible while the page is loading.

    Sometimes simpler is better.

  17. HMTKSteve says:

    I’m not a fan of the “double-wide” sidebar.

    Believe it or not, I just completed a major site redesign of my blog! The old version is still sitting at http://www.hmtk.com/blog but the new one drops the /blog and is right off my main URL.

  18. Shawn Knight says:

    Very nice… I like it! Is that a Vette in the header pic? I haven’t seen very many blogs with two columns on one side; curious to see how it works out for ya.


    1. John Chow says:

      That is an Enzo Ferrari.

  19. Ryan says:

    I’m also not a big fan of the double wide themes, though it seems to work ok here.

    My biggest issue is that it doesn’t look as clean as the other one. The obvious issues aside, the colors/fonts don’t look like something from a dot com mogul … but hey you know best. 😉

    What I really don’t like is how the smilies are in a little box in your main post. 😀

  20. Eli says:

    I don’t like the top part of the design, nor do I like the colors.

    Hopefully you’ll keep tweaking it as time goes on.

  21. Personally, I’d put one of the sidebars to the left of the main content. Then it’s just shy from perfect.

  22. What’s the name of this new theme? I’d call it “Too much”:
    – looks too pro-advertising, too commercial
    – too many links
    – navigation buttons are too big
    – too many rounded corners
    – too overwhelming

    …sorry for being too honest 😉

  23. I preferred the old design just because the cars at the top were much cooler!!

    I think all the arguing over total site design is irrelevant. Most people seem to agree that a site’s content is paramount and more important than most other factors. Yet people still argue about one long sidebar versus two short ones. Who cares?? Obviously the success of http://maddox.xmission.com says that nobody cares about design!!


    1. Just because it’s possible for a site to succeed with a shitty design doesn’t mean having a good one is pointless.

      1. Kalle says:

        Hehe, agreed. The design is very important for me when visiting sites.

  24. ya i would keep the old design…this does look too old-skool. too cluttered also, thats why i liked the old site, keep it simple and let the content speak for itself.

  25. One of the things I liked about the old theme ws how clean it was. In fact, I was just in a coffee shop with a marketing client and I was trying to get the idea of “clean” across and I pulled up John Chow.com (post theme change).

    I almost choked on my Latte. Luckily, I changed the subject and the client did not notice.

  26. syl says:

    No offense John, but I think you’re taking your blog a step backwards. The white haze around the navy 1px border looks like really bad web2.0. Why is the top border a different color than the other borders? And why are the tabs aligned to the right?

    I miss the old one. Bring it back? 🙂

  27. MixMazz says:

    Stick with original, this one is too cluttered

  28. Travis says:

    I have to agree with everyone else, the old theme was much easier on the eyes. The layout of the content and “integration” of ads on the new homepage make it difficult to find a focal point and visually separate each element from one another.

    The IT colour palette and uncertainty in direction make for a confusing style as well.

    Sorry John. Just not a fan.

  29. John,

    I’d pretty much agree with most of the other comments.

    The new design is not bad but I think the old design looked much cleaner. I also liked the old header a lot better. Because of the three columns, the post content looks to squeezed. I think with some tweaking though it could work.

  30. Tam Denholm says:

    I’ve completely missed the design. Can someone post a screenshot or something?


    1. Tam Denholm says:

      Never mind, i found the screenshots on the designers site. Im glad you changed back John. Those design mockups i saw were terrible.

  31. John Chow says:

    Well, that was a fun little experiment. 🙂

    1. You’ve got to keep experimenting, tweaking and testing or else there definitely aren’t any improvements to be seen on the horizon.

      1. Derek says:

        So you’re not going to use the new theme?

    2. Kalle says:

      Hehe, it was 🙂 It is always good to try new things. But I think you should stick to this design since it is so simple and good looking. Harder to find hotter layouts nowadays 🙂

  32. no1 says:

    the layout looks the same?

  33. Sonia says:

    Nothing says “Look at yourself, you have a blue car!” more than a set of two blue cars, facing each other.
    Hint: reflection.

  34. Brendan says:

    I guess i missed the theme test? I see the same layout as before. From the looks of the comments I can see why. As a designer I would have liked to see it. I think I smell another contest. Design a theme for John Chow Dot Com! Just an idea.

  35. I missed the new theme, but I’d be curious to see a mirror or screenshot.

    Your site has great information, but no offense… it could use a little design help. 🙂

  36. Ralph Dagza says:

    I missed it, can i see it???

  37. Can anyone help me out. Im using the same theme as john chow but my site seems to load reaaaaaaly slow.

    1. Kalle says:

      Probably that is not the themes fault. As you run a lot of proxies they might slow your host down?

  38. zaki says:

    Where’s the theme….I think the theme / product wil be a good one knowing your effort…and commitment..

  39. Kenny says:

    John, you should setup a mirror blog to test themes so you don’t have to change it on your live blog.

    1. Florchakh says:

      As well as you can put here some Theme Switcher. We are not the guinea-pigs, you know! 😀

    2. Kalle says:

      That is a great idea!

  40. David says:

    yup..I prefer the original theme, nice to see it back…

  41. Nomar says:

    Good choice John !! looks good again

  42. Knuckles10 says:

    I missed it. Screenshot anyone?

  43. Paul says:

    After looking at some of the screenshots and then coming back here I think I prefer the newer version. The car at the top do make it look a little old fashioned but in general I liked the wider layout. If the coder can get the site to look like the designs then you should go for it John.

    1. Ali says:

      Yeah I think the problem lay with the font size, the spacing of the text and the colors mostly.

      Plus maybe a different background than blue with some kind of graphic would have helped.

  44. Samer Bazzi says:

    I didn’t really like the new theme.

  45. John, I don’t mean to sound like a jerk but I’m curious why you’d have someone design a theme for you that isn’t very good at… well, designing?

    The treatment of type for your name was lackluster at best and from the screenshots I saw, it seems like the designer took his layout and just added some different graphics to make it “yours.” Not very original and I hope you didn’t have to pay for that.

    @Ali – I didn’t see the theme implemented but the coding wasn’t the problem with the proposed theme from what I could see from the screenshots, a lot of it was the design itself.

  46. Allen.H says:

    Anyone have a screenshot of the theme we’re talking about here?


  47. Jane May says:

    I didn’t get a chance to see the new theme…darn! I was in San Francisco all weekend and Monday.

  48. Jake says:

    Looks like I missed it as well…Screenshot?

    1. Ali says:

      You can have a look on my blog. Thanks everybody for the positive and the negative comments.

      I can’t please everybody.


  49. Martyn says:

    Oww, I didn’t get to see it 🙁 That sucks :p.

  50. ilker says:

    You wouldn’t have any of these problems, had you hired me for the job! =)

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