New Site Theme Is Up

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The new site theme is finally up and more or less functioning correctly. I love the new theme. It is crisp and clean and underneath it isn’t a horrible mess of code. We will be constantly improving this theme. I have already made changes that readers requested.

I know many of you loved the old theme. It served us well but it was such an unmaintainable mess it simply had to go.

Comments should now be working. The Disqus comment system has a number of nifty feature readers have been wanting for years.

You can now register an account when posting a comment. This prevents trolls using your name and impersonating you. It also significantly decreases the chances that your comment will be marked as spam by our automated spam detection system. You can also set a custom avatar image for your account.

If you don’t want to register an account you can continue to post comments as a guest just like you always have.

The other nifty feature is image attachments. If you are using a modern web browser simply drag an image into the comment box (or click the little image icon below the comment box) and the image will be attached to your comment.

TFB comments

 

Continue to upvote and downvote comments. If you see a comment that is offensive, flag it. This notifies a moderator that the comment may be inappropriate or offensive.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Y-man

    Yay! This is the best. I do hope that TFB is still going to be warm, and welcoming as it has always been, and not morph into some impersonal, stiff-upper-lip organisation?

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Nothing has changed behind the scenes. I am still running the show.

  • Rob

    For what it is worth, I strongly dislike the new layout. It is generic and bland. Also, not being able to read a full post is less than optimal.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      What this allows us to do is have more photos and larger photos. If they are all displayed on the homepage it make the experience very unpleasant for people with older computers or netbooks. I then have to decrease the number of posts displayed on the homepage. The problem with this is that a post from the day before may get cut off and nobody sees it.

      There is no perfect solution, but we are going to try this and see how it goes.

      • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.mew.3 Nicholas Mew

        Right now it is just hard to tell if we are even logged in. I have to log in with Facebook now.

      • Rob

        Fortunately, I read TFB for content. The form or layout is superfluous.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I designed the old theme and I admit it had character.

  • Karina

    Wow! I was scared for a little bit because when I first discovered the new design, my first reaction was:

    “Did I just step on the wrong website? It looks like a generic news blog!”

    And then no, it was The New TFB. Well, I don’t dislike this new design but I’ll sure as hell miss the old one. The old one had a … closer, more “familial” feel to it, while this one feels a lot more corporate.

    But hey, this is just form. Functionally speaking, if – as mentioned before – it’ll allow to do more than the old site allowed (such as more and larger photos, as Steve said), then it’s all good. Like with firearms, form over function is silly.

    I’m sure Steve applied a lot of polish and WD-40 to this new layout, if you get what I mean. So I’m not too worried, we’ll all get used to it.

  • Trevor

    I like the new layout for the most part. It’s clean and crisp; a much more modern look. there are just a couple of things I would like to point out that maybe could be improved:

    Some of the pictures for articles on the main page are placed and cropped weirdly. For instance the Walther PPK post has the top and bottom of the gun cropped out. The other thing is that the placement of that picture is weird. It is above the title and outside of the light gray outline that is the border for posts. It also touches the light gray border, which isn’t a huge issue with that particular picture since most of it is white, but on a picture that had color all over it it would obscure the border. I think that the more intuitive order for objects to appear is to have the bold title of the post at the top, a picture or pictures below that, and then the text blow that, all outlined by the light gray border.

    Having the pictures to the left is ok sometimes like on the UK Military to Adopt Glock Gen 4 article (if it were cropped a little cleaner). I do like the multiple thumbnail look like on the Incog holster article. I don’t think it’s necessary to be able to flip through all of the pictures though. If somebody wants to see more than just the 3 that fit there then they probably want to see larger pics than just thumbnails.

    This is just my humble opinion, I’m just some dude. For me the site is like 95+% right now. Just those slight tweaks and it would be more like 100%.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      As Steve said there are things he has a list of he would like to work on. With all of us attending SHOT it will be after this week. We wanted to give everyone this new design before we went to SHOT and honestly Steve worked himself half to death getting it ready in time. We just need some time to read all of the suggestions and weigh them out and see what we can and can’t do and what we probably should or shouldn’t do. Thanks

  • Skeptic

    I went through the Discus registration, my postie didn’t, but I’ll try again, I like black on white, it’s amazingly enough legible, I can think of a number of sites which would be greatly improved by legibility. Geoff Who is a well known skeptic.

  • noob

    Can we make the background tan again? Or have settings for individual users to select what Css they want to use?

  • I’n’I

    First and foremost, the homepage has truncated posts which is sooo annoying. This change in functionality is critical. Its nice to be able to read the whole page like a newspaper.

    Ive seen many of my favorite blog sites update this way. I understand it generates far more page views which might be good for advertising but adds to the server load.

    The theme otherwise is alright. I come here for the content, not pretty colors.

    • Jackal

      Most of us feel the same way.
      No one reads the newspaper for the pretty colors or anything like that.
      If my favorite newspaper started adding new layouts and colors I would only find it frustrating.

      There was nothing wrong with the old layout anyways.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Well sir we wouldn’t have changed probably but as Steve has said it’s a real problem with the old style to keep t running. We had to make the change

        • Michael

          We understand a need to change the underlying infrastructure, but from a pure readability perspective, you need full (or at least longer) posts on the front page.

          The is a distinction between long reviews and articles and short one paragraph posts with a photo or two. These latter need to be on the main page. Having to load an entire page for one or two more sentences is the insanely annoying.

        • Jackyl

          You guys do a hell of a job with the content on this forum. I am unable to compliment on how focused, pertinent, and informative I find the postings on this blog no matter how hard I try.

          I think most of us would be appreciative if you increased the readability by expanding the texts and photos. My personal opinion is that the youtube videos are embedded too small. I am minimally concerned with colors and styling, so long as it doesn’t effect readability. I think most of the feedback here is in agreement.

          Keep up the good work, you guys are truly dedicated and TFB is something great!.

  • sturm44

    I’m having problems reading the main article text as it appears more grey than black. It will take time to get used to the new layout, but I like the summaries on the main page so that a long post doesn’t push all the other way down.

  • SiloZen

    Leaving a Message is better, but I will always prefer the old layout, it’s easier to navigate to a certain post.

  • Dave H

    I second the remark about the article text looking gray instead of black. I don’t know who convinced most corporate web site operators that it’s a good look, but it’s so hard to read I get the feeling they’re trying to hide something. (Like the mumbled disclaimers in a car dealer ad on the radio.) The comments are a little easier to read though. Are they in a bigger font size?

    I’m not a fan of Disqus, but as long as I don’t have to register with them I’m good with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jschmill James ‘Puke’ Schmill

    I like it.

  • Toby

    I’ve been reading TFB for about four years. My thoughts:

    -I miss the old top bar images
    -I hate not being able to see the whole post
    -I hate not being able to see the whole post
    -the new comment design and navigation is easier, which is good
    -I hate not being able to see the whole post

    Really, the whole post issue is the only one I have with it. I like the rest!

    • Greg

      I wholeheartedly agree with this statement “-I hate not being able to see the whole post”

      Is it possible to have the little “Read More…” link button at the end of each post just expand the article in place? I’ve seen it done like that elsewhere, so the rest of the page is simply pushed down when you click “Read More”. It’s annoying to have to open a new tab to read each new post.

      • Toby

        I’d love that!

      • John

        Even with and expanding “Read More” it would still be nice to have more of the textual content. We can download pictures from the manufacturers – the reason we come to the firearm blog is to read the articles. Focus on the content!!!!!!

        I guarantee that writing quality will drop off once the stats start showing that no one is clicking “Read More”. BTW, I am a web developer, and I am not just pulling this out of my a***. With the way that Google tracks WordPress posts, there are no SEO advantages to showing less per post. You can tune your theme to at least show *a little bit* more. The reason people pushed for read more was that in the pre-caffeine Google days, there was penalty for duplicate content. With the current Google webcrawler, it is smarter than that.

        But why trust one random reader of your blog? Why not base the decision on real data:

        http://support.google.com/analytics/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1745147

        Just set up a split test (there is a wordpress plugin for it, of course), and grab the usage data with google analytics. Then your users will show you which they prefer spending their time with.

        I love the new theme 95%. That last 5% is always the bear. Just don’t stop before you are done. If you do, your readers will stop and then you’ll be DUN.

        Thanks.

      • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

        Greg it’s really not feasible to do that.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      I understand Toby but as Steve has said the old system/Wordpress designed was being overwhelmed and we had to change. We all agreed this was the best way to go. I hope you’ll come to like it.

  • Frank W. James

    I understand the need for updating, but I too don’t like the incomplete post concept. I would prefer you post the whole article or not post at all. As for the colors, you need more contrast for those of us with older eyes. The gray colored text is hard to read easily, but I do believe this new layout is ‘cleaner’ than the old one….
    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  • Steve Calovich

    Don’t like it, TFB (Too F’ing Bad). Just kidding :) I like it.

  • qubi

    New Layout was a shocker, but I’m sure we’ll get used to it. I can appreciate the need for clean code- that’s reason enough to make a change. Keep the good content rolling, and I’m sure nobody will be complaining in a few weeks!

  • Fridock Shir

    Would be a gallery here? I basically visit this place to see new pics of guns, and i fond this layout difficult to do so. So there really should be a gallery!

  • M.M.D.C.

    Been reading TFB for @ four years. I like the new look just fine, but I do miss the banner pics.
    Thanks for all your hard work, TFB is always a treat!

  • SPQR9

    Not a big fan of the new layout but whatever. Its Disqus that I hate with a passion fueled by an insane fire.

  • http://religiopoliticaltalk.com/ Papa Giorgio

    Big Leagues now… I want to see Big League posts. in other words, keep it up! This is almost a daily stop for me, from a Big fan.

  • Kai

    Ok, This is my first comment on this blog, even though I have been reading it for just under 4 years. While I do not like the new theme as much as the old one, my main issues with the the theme is that:
    1. I feel there is a little too much white and gray, and that makes some of the articles hard to read (at least for my eyes)
    2. As others have previously, I also dislike not being able to read the whole post and having to open multiple tabs for the articles.

    Otherwise, I’ll probably grow to like this layout with time, and I’m pleased to see that the blog itself will remain as excellent as always.

    • Nadnerbus

      I agree on the colors. A darker, cool color as background and light colored text are my preference usually. Easier on the eyes.

  • Simo Häyhä

    In my opinion, I think a lot of the negative attention the new theme is receiving will blow over in a week or two as your readers go through the adjustment to get used to the changes. Once they experience it awhile, I think they will really prefer the new to the old.

  • Nathan

    The theme looks fine aesthetically, but the functionality is lacking. Someone already mentioned that not being able to see the full posts without going to them was a problem, but really the best solution is for the posts to expand inline, rather than having to go to a new URL. That way low bandwidth users don’t have to load a bunch of content, and reading posts is much more convenient.

  • Steve (TFB Editor)

    Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    There is a list of changes I want made and will be talking to the designers after SHOT.

    I am not sure why some people are having problems with Disqus. My first priority after SHOT Show is to take another look at Disqus and see if we can sort the problems out.

    Everything has trade-offs. My job is to try find the optimal solution to ensure everyone has a decent experience.

  • mlk18

    I like the new format. No one likes change but most of the time it is necessary to move forward. Looks great!

  • Rob

    Greyish text on white background sucks
    Having to click to “read more” is annoying
    Rest is okay
    Overall view of change – failure

  • ZeCatnip

    I love the site, I do, but now it just looks like everything else out there. I know there’s not a cats chance in hell it’ll go back to the way it was after you’ve done so much, but I did want to voice my opinion for what it’s worth.

  • Riot

    Steve, I have to say I hate the new layout, it is clumsy, its a lot slower, especially for mobile devices and this Disqus dosen’t work at all on mobiles and crashes.

  • lal

    Please reduce the font size for quotes.

  • Wolfgang

    Quote:
    -I miss the old top bar images
    -I hate not being able to see the whole post

    Same here…

  • gunslinger

    I emailed Steve my thoughts before this post was written and the comments were online.

    My thoughts again:
    1) I don’t like Disqus. and i don’t want my twitter, g+, facebook or other accounts linked.

    2) I don’t like the layout. there’s too much crap all around it. I liked how the old site was streamlined and all.
    3) when i last looked, the posts started out ok, but as soon as a “quote” was given, the font changed to a larger bold italicized typeface and looked really bad.
    4) i don’t like disqus
    5)…disqus…

    Do we get regular updates from disqus when new comments are posted?

  • Jon

    This new layout sucks Steve.

  • mannys9130

    You know Steve, this is the first time I have ever posted a comment on your blog. I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy the total devotion that you have to the blog and I really appreciate all of the hard work that you put into it. It is for that reason that I couldn’t care less what the blog looked like, because I do nothing whatsoever to further its existance. You can do whatever you want IMHO and as readers we should just be happy that we have such a wonderful blog and editor that strive to serve us with great no-BS content. I think the blog looks wonderful, and if the messy code made your job harder, you had every right to change it and polish it up. I usually read the blog every day, so popping open one or two articles honestly isn’t that big of a deal to me. So thanks again for having such a great blog when we really need it the most. What a great place to keep informed of news and discuss it intellectualy!
    -Manny

  • prettypleasechangeitback

    +1 vote for being able to read the whole post … entirely unfortunate because this site has always been a great read, and now it’s just a great skim (my attention span for clicking through and waiting for page lows is very short)

  • Zack

    Awesome new look! Well done.

  • Gary

    I am deleting you from my favorites and will not be reading your “blog” anymore. If you can’t stand up for our gun rights I have no time for you.

  • gunslinger

    i gave in and registered with Disqus…i think?

    I’m not seeing my posts linked in my DQ dashboard. Hopefully my ‘gunslinger’ tag will continue to be used because i bet DQ already has someone with that tag…

    ugh. at least i can subscribe to comments withough out commenting on an article. that is a nice feature.

  • Axiom88

    The layout of this new site is much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Great work!