Incremental Design Update
There had been a few things that were bothering me about the site since the launch of the redesign.
The main one was the fact that the Fixed Comments™ were hidden until you scrolled. To eliminate this problem, I've moved the "On Topic" sidebar into the content area and removed the related links. I'd still like to give the article metadata a little extra attention but I'll leave that until some other time. Now the comments box will always be visible (in fixed mode, sorry Internet Explorer users. You'll have to wait until IE7 or switch to Firefox). This is truer to the original implementation and I'd say a more usable option.
The next step was having Light Mode enable the remaining two columns. As a result, it's slowly becoming my preferred mode and I'm tempted to make it the default mode for the site. I'll certainly leave the contrast microwidget in place as I still like the functionality it offers. We'll see how that goes.
Finally, I've turned comment preview on by default. Start typing and you'll see the comment preview appear. Clicking the preview button will return you to the preview area if you've scrolled elsewhere.
That's it for now. There's still a bunch of little things I'd like to tweak but as they say, "There's only so many hours in a day."
I love the dark version, please don't take it away ! :P
Nice...Having the comment form always showing does make it much easier to use.
I also usually use the light version, so this is pretty cool.
Yeah I like the dark version also!
Also my preview didnt show until I pressed the button, is that correct?
And I was wondering what was happening on IE7 with the comment form. Hehe...
Looks nice.. and like the dark one...
My preview was not visible until I clicked on the preview btn. (firefox 220.127.116.11.).
And "Fixed Comments™" Is it really your trade mark : )
Excellent Jonathan, all changes are great improvements. Comments back to how they were before, I love it. Jeez how constructive where these comments! proabbaly should have kept them to myself but no matter. ;)
To clarify about the preview, it should appear either as you start typing or by clicking the preview button.
thaisie: Yeah, it has become a bit of my trademark. When I was at SXSW last year, most people mentioned the fixed comments. It was even featured in the CSS Mastery book.
And folks, don't worry, the dark design isn't going anywhere. I still like it.
Looks great! I like both schemes, but this one is a nice change as the default.
Jonathan, you are the King of Fixed Positioning!
I prefer dark text on light just because white on black hurts my eyes after a while...but I think that the current "light mode" makes the site look a bit ugly when it is an otherwise excellent design. I don't know what it is exactly about it, it just seems to clash.
Definitely one of the best designs I've ever seen.
Just two little things: In the "light on" version the arrow to remove the Fixed Comments is very hard to see (or are my Eyes getting old?) and second thing. Now that removed the Fixed Comment by clicking on the arrow, how do the Fixed Comments some back? Am I too stupid?
I would also suggest you to more clearly make it understandable that by clicking on the arrow the Fixed Comments are turned of. I wasn't aware of it and just wanted to see what happens if I click. The arrow on the right side is easier to understand.
So how do I get the Fixed Comments in place again?
Grabrusch: I see what you mean about the visibility. The contrast widget had similar issues when I launched (it was originally a page fold at the top of the content area...not noticable at all). I'll have to come up with something a little more obvious.
In the meantime, although it's hard to see, the widget is still there in the top right corner of the Post a Comment box.
My only issue is minor; on the light design at the top of the 2nd collom there is not black border when you scroll away the comment box
I definitely dig the dark stylesheet. Also love what you've done with comment previewing. I'll be honest, I've missed visiting your site. Been busy moving. lol
Jonathan, you hang out in any IRC channels? As an aspiring developer myself, I'd love to pick your brain about some of the things you've got going on here. Cheerz! :)
No offense but i think the preview button could do with a little more contrast, and I think the white style s much easier on the eye.
I like it just as is is... I might implement the preview also on my blog...
I like the new update, but I must say that the top gradient looks, well, not so good in Light Mode. It also makes the headlines very hard to read (WCAG, anyone?).
How does it look with the gradients removed?
The automatic preview is really annoying. What is the point of fixed comments, if it automatically jumps to the bottom of the page. Owe, my usability hurts.
Matt: that's a good point. The automatic preview was added because it seemed many felt reluctant to use it. In this case, I may have sacrificed the usability for discoverability.
I like the preview feature, but I don't see much use in it. If you can't use quotes or code what’s the difference of reading the comment in the comment window or the preview window?
I allow html in my comments for things like demonstrating
code examples. That's why the preview is helpful.
I guess I didn't catch that... It's pretty cool to see it in action. Now I know I need to look at how you’re doing it. At first glance I'd say it was a simple DOM script to read the comment and spit out an innerHTML to a container. But now It seems you may be using AJAX or something.
The only thing that feels weird now, is that when you move the Fixed Comments to the left bar, the second bar is completely empty. I suppose that, if you move the comment form to the left bar, the middle bar may be removed, or else some other text should fill it a bit. Now I only have a completely empty white bar (I prefer the white scheme).