I'm starting a blog that I'll be launching soon, and I wanted to get some feedback from Hatrack.
I've been told that its name "Cognitive Philosophy" is somewhat bland and that I should try to spruce it up a bit. And while I like the current name, I'm not tied to it, and acknowledge there could be better ones out there. I'm not one for coming up with catchy phrases though. Any witty wordsmiths around want to take a crack?
Here's a link to the testing platform: http://testing.ttlgdesign.com/testing/ The top post will give you an idea of what the blog will be about. Don't mind the rest of the content, it's all just bogus test posts so I can test out the functionality of some features. I've been mulling over other word combinations with "mind" or "brain" or "cognitive" but nothing is really striking me.
If someone suggests one that I end up using I promise to give you credit on the site.
You can see a detailed explanation of that here.
But in short, this covers it:
quote: What can a philosophical exploration of the research and ideas coming out of neuroscience, psychology, an evolutionary biology tell us about consciousness, free will, the self, and morality? Also, how can this knowledge inform conversations about science and technology policy, the justice system, the education system, behavioral economics, and a broad range of ethical issues from Neuroethics to bioethics?
I have three other contributors with varying backgrounds, covering neuroscience, behavioral economics, and philosophy.
Posts: 8741 | Registered: Apr 2001
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Strider, my first thought on seeing it load was that I found the colors appealling: the top graphic with tonal shades, the specific colour of blue, lots of negative space up top. As I scrolled down, the multiple sharp-cornered blue header bars scattered in no particular pattern (I know it made sense by content, but I'm talking about immediate visual impact) felt jarring and disconnected.
My mind wanted more white space, further separation between tabs, a little less contrast between colours further down, and some rounding -- even if slight -- to some of the sharp corners. I don't know enough about design to give any input on whether that's just me or a more typical reaction you'd get.
It is a very attractive layout overall.
Posts: 831 | Registered: Jul 2005
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CT's suggestions are good ones. In particular, I think the "Continue Reading" buttons could be lightened and made less intense (while keeping the hue), so that they'd still stand out while not distracting the eye as it skims the page.
CT, can you be more explicit about a few of your suggestions?
When you say you'd like more whitespace, did you have particular locations you were thinking about or just in general it can use more white? One thing I was thinking of doing was removing the fade that is present in all of the boxed content areas. that way the interior of all the boxes would be white. I've been flipping back and forth on this one.
When you say further separation between tabs, do you mean between each post? Or the right panel boxes? or both?
when you say less contrast further down are you referencing the interior gray of the main content area and the exterior blue background? Are you suggesting to remove the fade from light blue to dark blue going down the site and leave it at the lighter blue?
Also, one thing to keep in mind about the look is that each of the posts will have the look of the top post, with a picture and a block of text, so when scrolling down you would have to envision that as opposed to the way the boxes look now.
Juxtapose, that's not a bad idea. I quickly played around with it in firebug but changing the color didn't come off so well. But I'll take a more in depth look tomorrow.
I made some changes to spacing and white space which you can see on the site now. I think I see what you're getting at with the blue header bar comment CT. The two columns of blue header bars do look a bit odd.
I tried a couple different things to fix the blue bar issue. Here are some screen captures of a various styles.
For the first version posted: something about the font used for the title and meta-data for each post (category, date, etc) is bugging me - it seems a little too heavy. Either a smaller size or a less bulky font would be better, I think.
The second example in your latest post (replacing the color scheme of the blue bar) is much better. I prefer the continue reading in a dark font rather than white font and a blue button, but I think you could try dark blue font and a light gray box.
What are you planning to doing regarding images? I'm pro-images, but you should consider where you're going to get them, how you're going to credit photographers, and how you're going to standardize size/shape/color (if at all) across blog posts. If you grab CC ones from flickr etc, you still need to credit the author in some manner. My blog runs a standardized size at the top of every post, which I think looks nice, but it can make it difficult to find compelling photos for the content that can be cropped well to the correct size.
Another thing to consider is how much you're going to put above the fold, and how that's going to affect your color balance. I would recommend more than you're currently showing on your intro post, for both layout reasons and reader's ease of being able to tell what the post is about. Are you using excerpts right now? I think it's worth the extra ten seconds to paste in the excerpt you desire into the box, so that you can get rid of the ugly ... with square brackets.
I'm not loving how you're doing your pages section up top - the gray all across the page blends in too much with my chrome search bar, and the text is a bit too small. Also might want to put an email subscribe option up.
The search bar is a bit difficult to spot, although it's in a good location - just doesn't stand out, color-wise.
The header image is nice, but I'm not a huge fan of your current blog name. Most of the science blogs I read have a more playful name, and then a subtitle which makes it clear what the subject matter is. (Barking up the wrong tree, information processing, not exactly rocket science, the thoughtful animal, etc) I don't have any good suggestions, though... your best bet might be to go through some texts related to the subject matter, and look for words that appear frequently, or quotes that you can take a couple of words from.
Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003
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Jhai, I got rid of the [...], and can actually replace that with whatever I want, but I'm guessing your comment is fundamentally more about the amount of content contained within each post excerpt rather than the trailing [...]?
I tweaked up the navigation bar and the headers a bit. Added a small fade. Put a border around the search bar. Couldn't really get it to play nicely with rounded edges.
As for images, yeah, I was planning on using flickr and searching for CC content. Lots of sciencey sites make pictures available as well. I like the way it is now floated left since it's easier to find pictures that can be cropped to that size than the wider width you're using, which would take a bit more work.
And about the name, yeah, I agree. It's really the main reason I was looking for feedback, and though I acknowledge it's not the best name, I have as yet been unable to think of anything better! I'm pretty pleased with the overall look of the site now, I think this is the last major thing holding me up.
Any decent advice you can give about widgets or functions that you've found very useful for your blog?
Yeah, the main concern is about how much you want to have showing on the home page. Obviously, it'll depend on how long your articles will be, but I'm generally a fan of two paragraphs or so. I think it'd look best given your layout if you can get at least two or three lines beneath the image with your text - that way you have a decent amount of white space separating out images that might look odd right up next to each other.
For widgets, it really depends on the look you're going for (streamline or more info), and how involved in your blogging niche community you want to be. Twitter, if you'll be doing that, popular posts or featured posts (not both), recent comments, links to other blogs in the related area, and possibly something link FriendFeed linked to your rss reader if you want to share a bunch of articles to your blog readers without commentary. I personally feel like tag clouds are a bit outdated at this point, but ymmv. And then, of course, there's ads and recommended books from Amazon and the like, but I'd recommend not going that route until you have some readership.
For functions, do you mean plugins? There's a lot of great wordpress plugins that can add a lot of functionality to your site. Some that I like are: No Self Pings Subscribe To Comments WP-Archives WP-PageNav Google XML Sitemaps Comment Reply Notification WordPress.com Stats
Posts: 2409 | Registered: Sep 2003
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I'm not crazy about the logo. It introduces too many fonts onto the top of the screen. What's bugging me is the "Exploring Mental Landscapes" in fat, italicized Arial when the "Cognitive Philosophy" is in two other fonts. My suggestion would be to include "Exploring Mental Landscapes" as part of the logo so you can use the same fonts, and to rethink the logo area so that it can hold the logo and the tagline with one consistent look.
Posts: 5957 | Registered: Oct 2001
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