Site Redesign – Nearing Completion!

Surprise!

Yeah, that site redesign I’ve been talking about is finally coming to fruition.

Watch Cooper, Osnes & Munoz Sin...
Watch Cooper, Osnes & Munoz Sing Irving Berlin!

I was hoping to have paged comments all set to go, but it looks like that’s going to take a little bit more work.

So, there will probably be a few bugs to work out here and there, which is why I wanted to make the switch on a Friday night.

So, please let me know if you’re having problems navigating the site, and I’ll get the issue fixed as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience…

About mj santilli 33700 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

95 Comments

  1. What is causing so much extra space between the letters? It’s making reading difficult.

  2. Love it, mj!

    ETA: Oh btw, purple must be your favourite colour huh? LOL

  3. I appreciate the effort you’re putting in to update the site. Running the site is a huge job, and a redesign is never easy.

    You asked specifically about navigation; so far that’s worked well. I also like the banner at the top.

    That said, I see a few problems. I’m finding the font in the posts a bit harder to read, as a previous poster mentioned. Not sure if it’s a spacing issue or just a less readable font.

    The big problem is that there are too many ads. The site now takes forever to load, from a third to a half of the space is given over to ads, and many are in positions that interfere with reading the posts. You need ads for the revenue they bring, so I know they’re going to be here in some form; but at times the site looks like one of those ad newspapers, with a few pix and short paragraphs tossed in here and there. This is not just due to the redesign; it’s been going on for a while. Some days I drop in and drop right back out because I don’t feel like fighting my way through all the ads.

  4. It’s beautiful! What a nice Valentine’s weekend surprise for us. :-) Thanks MJ~

    Will you be adding the Recent Posts link list as well, or did that lose out to the dated archives? I tend to look at the Recent Posts (along with your Popular Posts, of course) first to see what I’ve missed and it’s nice to be able to cherry pick! Whatever works, just asking.

    Great job!

  5. WOW!! Great job and I love it! Kudos to you for the great work you do with this site. Thank you.

  6. I’m ok with the font, but I agree there’s too many ads. But I guess that’s how you keep the site running so it’s not bugging me too much as the page loads just fine on my laptop.

  7. Yeah, I have to say that the new font is not really pleasant with the eyes. It’s Arial, isn’t it? Well, I would rather see if you switched back to Verdana or maybe to Trebuchet MS or Tahoma. It’s really easy to change the font and it would really help.

  8. I love the redesign MJ! It looks great. It took me a little while to get use to the new fonts, but now it is fine.

    BTW: I am curious about something. How come some posters names are links to other websites? Is it something in their profiles?

  9. MJ I am loving the new look! very modern and gives a bit of edge and fun! Please have page numbers again! :D

  10. I’d like specific opinions about the readability of the font. If enough posters are having problems, I’ll have the designer change it.

  11. Specifically for me, for you, for me… The font is an adjustment, but not a problem for me personally. Thanks for asking! :-)

  12. The site looks good. I’d say the fonts do look a bit odd, the old one would be better, but it’s one of the those things we can get used to. Personally I’d trim just a bit off the top of the banner so it’d look a bit tighter, but none of that is really important.

    I’m not sure if it’s just my browser, but the Historical Chart tab got cut off half way in my Internet Explorer V.7 (the whole bar for the tabs isn’t centered or edged to the right). Looks fine in Chrome or Firefox though. The drop-down menu however doesn’t look good, needs edge lines or something (but again that’s something unimportant).

  13. The font is a bit wonky at first. I could get used to it I suppose. One can definitely see each i.n.d.i.v.i.d.u.a.l letter. But I would agree with others that the spacing between them is almost as large as the word spacing.

  14. I like what I see so far. Being a tribe “elder” here, though, makes me appreciate anything that is a bit easier to read. I am definitely looking forward to paged comments whenever those can be worked out.
    Much appreciate your work on this great blog, MJ. I have read and (sometimes) posted on here since S 5 of Idol, so I am always along for the ride wherever it takes me. :)

  15. I love the colors, and this is a fresh, updated look. Funny that I honestly rarely noticed the ads on the other site but they’re so conspicuous here, maybe because of their coloring. I’ll get used to it (and I think we’re supposed to notice them. lol )
    I am gonna have to dig around for my reading glasses, though, because the font is so small and light. There’s also lots of white on the page which is maybe why the font looks ‘buried.’ I use a Mac with Firefox.
    Thanks for working so hard on this! :)

  16. it’s not the font, i think. it’s the spacing. the space between the letters is almost as wide as the space between the words, so it’s quite difficult to recognize where each word starts and ends.

    other than that, the site’s beautiful. i like. =)

  17. Love the new look, MJ! It was hilarious in the middle of the night when I refreshed looking for updated comments on the Rock My Town concert, and in that single instant, everything looked totally different! I saw above someone say they miss the “recent posts” on the sidebar. I’ll second that — but, otherwise, I’m loving all the other changes.

  18. I really like the overall look of the new design. Congrats, MJ! But the font is going to take some getting used to. It just doesn’t seem to flow the way the old one did and slows down my reading a little.

  19. MJ, thank you so much for your hard work on this site. You are truly tireless, and I appreciate your efforts to bring us everything that you do.

    I think that your new banner looks great, and I haven’t had any difficulty navigating yet.

    But count me among those not responding well to the font. The letters are small and narrow, and the large spacing between the letters (as jacie said, almost as wide between the letters as between the words) makes it difficult to distinguish where each word starts and stops. This applies to both the comments and the headings.

    Otherwise beautiful– thanks MJ.

  20. Okay, in honor of the shiny new layout I want to get an avatar, but I don’t know how to on here, can anybody help?

  21. – I prefer the old font and font color. The old ones make my eyes more relaxed and easier to read.
    – I like the comment # at the top of the post, instead of the bottom
    – Like the new block quote feature. Cool

  22. Wow – site is very, very well strategized!

    It may just be my computer, but the font looks like it is ‘temporary” – not a rich, finished quality to it.

  23. Whoa! This is so pretty, haha. I like it very much. :)

    Addressing some issues I’ve seen in comments:

    1. The ads don’t bother me much, but perhaps I’m just used to them? They aren’t any more intrusive, IMO, than they were in your last design.

    2. The font really isn’t a problem for me. However, the letters are spaced differently than the previous font so the change could be jarring for some.

    ETA: Yeah, how do we change our avatars? I think I have one on my Word Press account but I don’t see it here.

  24. My 47 yr old eyes are not sure about the font…but it’s not bad. I just have to wear my reading glasses for sure now. Love the banner at the top – I like purpley colors too.

    ETA: I like having the posters name in bold font too…wasn’t it before?

  25. Great and creative new design! I agree about the font issue though, and also think that blue would be a better color being the Idol color…

  26. I like the shape of the letters but the space between letters makes it super hard to read. Everything else is pretty cool, though. And I don’t mind the ads, they’re necessary so I can keep getting my Idol fix ;)

  27. On first glance, it looks beautiful! I love the look of it and the logo. Love the categories at the top, and the tabs. I like the font, but it might be too small or not dark enough. The headline font looks awesome. I’ll give helpful feedback later if I can, but just wanted to say, what a nice surprise when I opened the page up. Congrats!

  28. I really like the new header & logo. Same colors though so I know I’m at the right place.
    I personally don’t mind the ads. I’ve been reading this blog since Season 5, shortly after it began I believe. I remember thinking that there should be ads here to generate revenue & keep the blog going. And, of course, keep it free for us readers. So I definitely won’t be complaining about a few ads.
    This is the best American Idol site there is & now it’s even better!

  29. I like the redesign but wish the comments link was at the top of the post…
    I know this probably won’t happen but I wouldlove page numbers and previous posts…

  30. MJ, love the new design. Still wondering if you’re going to allow for better comment viewing? I really liked your old format of having the comment page numbers at the top so you could just click to whatever page.

  31. VERY NICE MJ.

    Only thought was the banner (which I love) height is a bit big, so you dont see the top news for the day.

    Is anyone else having any difficulty loading pages?

    How do you load an avatar, I cant find it?

  32. This is very nice mj! Love the banner at the top! Everything here looks very sharp! The font I’m currently typing in looks different from what’s been posted. Has it changed already or do we just type in a different font? It’s definitely closer together.

    ETA: I guess the font I was typing in is different than that posted. Oh well.
    ETA2: And I’ll be patient. :D

  33. This site looks great.

    Input:

    1.I agree the font is not eye friendly, too industrial with the narrow and vertical shape and with the spacing.

    It’s ok for a site like, say, MTV or Perez Hilton lol where you may scan or put a comment real quick and you can see a big long list of comments.

    I used that type spacing style font once for a text overlay on a photo on a big touchscreen in a lobby. Because I needed the space in between letters with the text being “too” small to read… but it wasn’t for blog type reading.

    I think people normally try and stick with the proven ones especially sites like this one with alot of loyalty and hits, since alot of ppl don’t have new monitors or know how to change their default fonts. If the font is the least bit challenging it diminished the time spent on the site.

    There’s a pet food I wanted to try and the font is SO ANNOYING I won’t even attempt it. Like Papyrus, the entire thing Grrrrr.

    Another thing to think about is the emotion of it, here, since it’s an emotional blog, a cold industrial font is going to read more assertive, so I’d stick with the friendly fonts for sure in this case LOL.

    2. Ads: IDK but on my computer AND smartphone, some specific advertisement here completely takes over when I’m reading and I haven’t figured out why yet. I cannot get rid of it on the phone but on the computer I can. Some “Bing” thing? Over to the right…I don’t see it here now though. IDK if it’s my browser or your site though for sure.

  34. I see the font has changed again. I think the font size looks too small though, or is it just me?

  35. Love the new look! Glad your signature purple is still here and glad the font changed from the first one. This one is good! But whatever you do, I will still be here!

  36. Nice design MJ, so new wave :) love it!
    I agree with the other about the font though, it’s not very friendly to the eye…
    and I miss the recent posts list on the sidebar too, are you going to permanently remove it?

  37. EDITED TO ADD: I originally posted this comment in a non-related site re-design thread. I was afraid to speak up but.. I’m glad others have shared their thoughts. I am copying and pasting what I wrote earlier and including it with the rest of the MJ Readers here:
    ______________________________

    I feel terrible saying this. Please forgive me. But.. it is hard for me to read the comments in this new font. The size is a little too small and because it is block-y, the words are bleeding into one another. I don’t know where to else to put this and I don’t want to be the rotten egg at the party. I love reading here but.. I can’t read the posts like I used to! Help!

    Don’t be mad, MJ. I think YOURS is the best American Idol/etc blog on the web.

  38. nice site mj!

    is there anyway you can have a link that allows us to view all the comments at once for each blog? that’d be awesome! thanks!

  39. Yeah, I thought that this font will be hard to read for some older Idol fans. Is it a subtle hint, mj? Kidding…

  40. Hazehel:
    02/13/2010 at 2:02 pm

    I see the font has changed again. I think the font size looks too small though, or is it just me?

    No mine is really small too. I increased the size in my browser under View, then Zoom, then Zoom in. The new rounder font is much better imo, though.

  41. The font looks just fine to me MJ, as does the whole redesign. I have no constructive criticism to offer. Well done!

    I was a little concerned when I saw the tab at the top for “Season 9 Top 24.” I thought that might be giving your spoilers a bit too much prominence, but I was relieved to discover it’s just a placeholder!

  42. mj,could we get back that little chart for the current month, showing days? With the current design, if I want to go to ie. Feb 4th, I cannot do it directly. I have to click on “older entries” until I hit the desired date.

  43. OMG, I thought I was in the wrong place for a minute! Very pretty. Much easier on my eyes! Thanks!

    ETA: LOL, now going back and reading older posts, I see I am the only one who thinks it’s easier on the eyes! Oh well, I’m practically blind anyway, so who knows.

  44. ETA: LOL, now going back and reading older posts, I see I am the only one who thinks it’s easier on the eyes! Oh well, I’m practically blind anyway, so who knows.

    You have not lost your mind! Earlier today, the font was much smaller…

  45. I didn’t recognize it earlier, but I much prefer this font, mj. It looks darker and truly is easier to see and read. Thank you!

  46. MJ thanks for all of your hard work. The new site rocks all around. It looks more mature.

  47. I’m not sure if it’s just my browser, but the Historical Chart tab got cut off half way in my Internet Explorer V.7 (the whole bar for the tabs isn’t centered or edged to the right). Looks fine in Chrome or Firefox though.

    I’m having the same problem in IE8. Also fine in my Firefox.

  48. The font for the comments is much better now, thanks MJ. I’m still not really digging the font on the headlines for each thread, though, as well as the font for the “Popular Posts” list. The letters seem really wide and there’s still too much space between them. It’s just not very easy on my eyes. Thanks.

  49. Content is half…usability is half. I may not post a lot but I am here and when there are only a couple of hundred around. Evs.

  50. Can new people sign up? I’m trying to help my daughter, but she isn’t getting a confirmation email.

  51. Looking good MJ! Your site is the easiest to navigate of any other site I have encountered in this “genre” – However, you have managed to embellish the site with a snazzy new look while maintaining your standout clean lines. Genius! :)

  52. This is kind of funny. Today I was on “thebestarts” and I followed a link to an old Idol performance on MJ’s. I saw the new graphics and I thought, cool, that’s how MJ’s used to look. Logging in tonight I see that this is the new MJ’s! Very nice!

  53. iluvai,Does your daughter have a seperate email account than you,because I know you can’t register 2 accounts on the same email address.That might be it…(I found out when I accidentalky deleted my cookies)
    and if you’re wondering why I’m trying to help,well,I don’t hold grudges

  54. Oh, much much better than earlier today!! I agree with others – MJ’s is easiest for me to navigate and is now easier on the eyes too… compared to other AI blogs.

    ETA: Has it been mentioned that the banner and width of the page goes beyond the screen? Or is that something I need to change in my personal settings??

  55. Thanks Luv:

    Yes her email is separate from mine but she is using my laptop, so I thought that might be it. Maybe she typed her email wrong or something. We’re both up for awhile, but I’ll try to help her again tomorrow.

    Thanks for the advice!

  56. We just tried again, and it said that her username and password were already registerd. So, I think it will work. She just needs a password!

    MJ: My daughter says she likes the top of the page, font and color. She says it is shiny!

  57. Thank you, MJ. Thank you. It’s not because these eyes have seen better days so igsnay on pokin’ fun of us over 21. :}

    I wasn’t the only one not enjoying squinting.

    The font looks bigger and darker as well.

    Woohoo.

    As others have mentioned, the menu tabs at the top seem to cut off after the tab for TOP 24. I can only see part of the word “History.”
    I use Internet Explorer if that is of any help to who can see what and why.

    I love this site. The new design looks great and is now readable. AI 9 is kicking in to the good stuff. I am happy.

    Good luck, MJ.

  58. Weren’t older entries on the left before? Going right/forward to older entries seems a little weird.

    Whatever works though! :) Love this site!

  59. I like # of comments listed at the top by the title. You then get the topic and also know if people are responding. Seems more efficient.

  60. Weren’t older entries on the left before? Going right/forward to older entries seems a little weird.

    Whatever works though

    Excellent point. I thought something felt off. Yes! The “Older Entries”/older comments in a thread should be the link on the left side of the page, as if to say “Go backwards.” If the reader wants to go forward to Newer Posts, it feels more right (ahem) for the “NEWER ENTRIES” to be on the right side of the page.

    I hope you don’t mind all the feedback, MJ. It’s because we care. You know what our parents would say: “I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for you.” :}

  61. Can someone please give me a 2-second recap re: how to quote a poster in our own comment? Thanks.

  62. Thank you so much. I forgot we had to click on the BLOCK TXT link before the copied text. I appreciate your help.

    1) copy the text you want to quote
    2) when writing a reply,
    a) click the “b-quote” -button (above the text submitting box, at right)
    b) paste the quoted text
    c) click the “b-quote” -button again
    d) continue as normal.

    Testing

  63. Some good stuff! I like the login button at the bottom, and when you log in it takes you to where you were. Nice.

    I agree with the writer above that I prefer to see the comments link up by the title of the post rather than down under the post. Small, but important I think.

  64. Hey MJ, the enhanced color scheme looks great! And TY for restoring the original font size of the text. My eyes certainly appreciate it:) I like the comments showing at the top too, but it’s not a big deal. Looking forward to when you get the pagination issues worked out…good luck!

  65. Hi MJ! I was actually around when the change took place. I mean, I made a post, and then came back shortly thereafter and the changes had taken place. I believe I was the first to see the new format around 6 AM that morning, and told you it was cool! :cool:

  66. Hi MJ, I like the new headliner on top, but I do NOT like the new fonts.I dont remember what you used before, but I found it very pleasant and readable. I find the new font difficult. Not sure why–my perception is that the letters are thin and stretched out more–makes it harder to read–and combined with the hot pink it feels like when you have something glaring in your eyes and you end up squinting. Except that I’m not squinting, thats just how it looks. I know it looks sleek and modern and hip–but I kind of like it that your site doesnt look like all the other ones. I feel its form over usability. How does everyone else feel about it?

  67. Hi MJ, I think the new design looks good. I have a request – is it possible to have page numbers for maneuvering amongst the older comments? One recent thread had over 600 comments (whew!), and I had to keep paging back one page at a time in order to see the comments from beginning to end.

    Other than that, looks great!

  68. Yay!! Thanks for the “Recent Posts” sidebar, MJ! Love the new site!

  69. ohreli:
    02/14/2010 at 2:19 pm
    Hi MJ, I like the new headliner on top, but I do NOT like the new fonts.I dont remember what you used before, but I found it very pleasant and readable. I find the new font difficult. Not sure why–my perception is that the letters are thin and stretched out more–makes it harder to read–and combined with the hot pink it feels like when you have something glaring in your eyes and you end up squinting. Except that I’m not squinting, thats just how it looks. I know it looks sleek and modern and hip–but I kind of like it that your site doesnt look like all the other ones. I feel its form over usability. How does everyone else feel about it?

    I agree…not a fan of the font at all. Also I think there’s not enough contast in size, color, boldness and type of font to distinguish different items (poster, time, post etc.) It all kind of runs together for me. I’m noticing an “eye-strain” in this design that I never noticed in the old format.

  70. I’m noticing an “eye-strain” in this design that I never noticed in the old format.

    I think WE can help one another out by using spacing between our paragraphs. Shorter paragraphs will be easier to read.

    Luv, I think I remember seeing you! I believe we are in a different time zone!

  71. “Hi MJ, I think the new design looks good. I have a request – is it possible to have page numbers for maneuvering amongst the older comments? One recent thread had over 600 comments (whew!), and I had to keep paging back one page at a time in order to see the comments from beginning to end.”
    @emmuzka, thank you and thankyou blankslate. I was too shy to ask!

    mj, Some very nice changes(love the color)and love the concert look. I might miss the words “love this cheezy show”which showed a certain deprecation and personality.
    Thank you for putting the subjects back on a side bar. Much easier to navigate. Trying to get back from the interim subjects on top of each other, I found trying to backup would loose the site altogether.Painful!
    Overall this site looks clearer on top and the sidebars but I have to agree that this font is disconcerting (similar to ew posts) stretched and never knowing if I need to backspace 1 or 2x. Hah, that we can get used to right?
    Thanks again mj. I appreciate bigblog so much for many hours of
    emotional lability!

  72. Congrats on achieving a redesign. Never easy.

    But here’s why people are experiencing reduced readability:

    The leading is too close.

    That’s the space between the lines.

    The font is too thin and plain.
    Sans serif, especially leaded this tightly, can be too plain. The eye can’t differentiate the curves of the letters when there aren’t enough differentiations.

    The comment margins are too wide for the typography choice.
    The narrower the margins the easier it is to skim. These lines, with this plain type and narrow leading, just go on for too long. Straining to find the words gets tiring. Reading becomes chore, not fun.

    Note how the bolder, shorter lines in this comment are so much easier to read.

    Think newspaper columns and how they’re easy to skim. The human eye hasn’t changed just because technology has. Most web people think of type as content to manage not something that needs care to be readable.

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