The New Look of John Chow dot Com – What Do You Think?

If you’re reading this post from a RSS or other clients, then you need to head on over to http://www.johnchow.com right and check out the new look of the blog. The paint is not completely dried it and we’re still doing tweaks here and there based on the feedback we got so far.

The new theme, like the old, was created by the team at Unique Blog Designs. They have designed the last two themes used by this blog, and I think the current one is going to be the best yet. Here are some of the highlights of the new theme.

Built On The Thesis Framework

Unlike the last theme, which was ported over the Thesis, John Chow dot Com V4 was built from the ground up to work with the Thesis framework. This allowed much better integration with the various Thesis modules.

More Tablet Friendly

This feature is not completed yet, but the new theme is much more tablet friendly than the old one. Once completed, you’ll be able to scroll the feature articles just by swiping them. We’ll be adding more tablet features later and we’ll be revamping the mobile version of the blog as well.

Featured Articles At The Bottom

The biggest change on the new layout is the relocation of the featured articles from the top to the bottom of the page. The reason for this move is the make the featured articles appear on every page. In the old theme, the featured articles showed up only on the front page.

Having the features on the bottom also gives the reader an “exist point,” articles to go after he/she finish reading the current blog post.

Custom Made Fronts

The new theme features fronts by TypeKit. Nate Whitehill of Unique Blog Design pointed out that all major newspapers and magazine have their own custom fronts, and we should do the same for the blog in order to take the branding to the next level.

TypeKit offers a subscription-based library of hosted, high-quality fonts to use on your website. Pricing is based on page views. If you’re blog gets less than 25,000 views per month, TypeKit offers a free account, but the features are limited.

LiveFyre Comment System

The most controversial change to the blog is the move to the LiveFyre comment system. The main reason for the move was to reduce the amount of spam and increase the quality of comments.

Ever since installing LiveFyre, I’ve noticed the number of comments have gone down (no more “great post!” comments) but that should only be temporary since LiveFyre offers many social features to increase the number and quality of comments.

The one complaint I keep hearing about LiveFyre is you have to register in order to comment even though they have Twitter and Facebook integration. LiveFyre tells me they will be rolling out guest commenting later this week where no registration is required. All you need is a Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, or OpenID account.

Your Comments Are Welcome

Like I said, the paint is still drying on the new theme. We’ll be tweaking the theme based on your comments and feedback so please do tell me what you think of the new look and what changes you would like to see happen.

Thanks.