Saturday, March 24, 2007

What is the best template to use for my blog?

I used Ramani's fixed width 3 column New Blogger template (Update: I have since changed to 4 column template) for all my main blogs. The reasons:

To cater to visitors with small screen

From statistics obtained from Statcounter, I find that 5 to 20% of my visitors are still using the small screen 800x600 resolution (Update: now 800x600 less than 2%), and these visitors will just be able to see the whole width of my blogs without having to scroll horizontally when I use Ramani's fixed width 3 column New Blogger template (Update: now using slightly wider 4 column Minima template) for my blogs. (Note: If you are viewing this blog with a large screen, and will like to know how it appear to a small screen visitor, type or copy-paste

javascript:top.resizeTo(800,600)

into the address bar and press enter).

Even big websites with very knowledgeable webmaster like BBC News uses a template which take into consideration visitors with small screens. If you visit BBC News with a large screen, you will probably also see blank "wasted" space on your screen, just like this blog.

If I use other templates, visitors with small screen may be forced to scroll horizontally to see the rest of the right side of the blog if I use a fixed width wider format template, or the main column or sidebars may be squeezed into narrow columns if I use a fluid width template. Also, with a fluid width template, I have to be careful to make sure the width of images, scroll boxes, tables, etc, will fit into the narrow columns when such visitors visit my sites. Otherwise, they may find the sidebar or main column pushed to the bottom of the page or see other problems.

Readability issues

The writer of this site max-width in Internet Explorer recommend that that a good reading width, should be around 60 CPL (characters per line), which is approximately the CPL of the main column of this blog, using Ramani's fixed width 3 column New Blogger template. His recommendation is based on a readability study done by the department of psychology at Wichita State University, entitled The Effects of Line Length on Children and Adults’ Online Reading Performance.

Plain or fanciful templates

Some may find this blog very plain with very little graphic and colors. This is my choice. I do not have to worry about hosting graphics, especially if the graphics for the templates are hosted by someone else. If those graphics disappear from the web, the blogs using those fanciful templates with lots of graphics will have big problems. The solution is of course to host the graphics yourself, but you mus know how to do it. This will probably be discussed in another post. Also, I don't want visitors to be distracted by graphics but I just want to focus on the content.

Choice of templates is a very personal thing

However, some bloggers may not like the empty wide spaces on both sides of this blog when viewing with larger screen resolutions such as 1024x768, 1152x864, etc. For them, they may choose fluid width templates which will adjust the width of the main column according to the screen resolution of the blog visitors (note the reference to width of photos, scroll boxes, etc. above) or use fixed width wider format templates if they don't mind forcing small screen visitors having to scroll horizontally to see the rest of the side of the blog.

Third party New Blogger templates

You can find New Blogger templates modified or created by third parties at New Blogger templates (mostly 3 columns), tested with demonstration and test blogs. This will be updated as I keep adding new templates as time permits.

9 comments:

  1. hello Peter:

    i have used the knowledge that you teach to hide my blog's "About Me" profile header and it works wonder, thank you very much indeed.

    i have a question. last year i came across this site and used the code they taught to personalize the comments link, but now that i need to do it again only found out that the code is no longer there. i have searched all over the web for this, but to no avail. do you happen to know how to do this and willing to share the knowledge with us?

    thanks again for your help!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Milo,

    I am sorry I am unable to help. I would if I could.

    Peter
    Dummies Guide to Google Blogger
    "online book" in progress

    ReplyDelete
  3. Peter:

    it is okay, this site of yours is a treasure found to me anyway. i am exploring your backup tutorials now, guess it would keep me busy for a while.

    in fact i just came across this site hours ago and found that it happens to carry that missing code. but the strange thing is that i just could not locate the
    "<$BlogItemCommentCount$> comments" that is to be replaced. since i do not know much about html, guess i would just let this one go.

    thanks again Peter, for the info and knowledge that you have put together for us here. plus i have seen your photo wearing the Blogger T shirt at your other site, and i think you are really cool! i have been encouraging my parents to try using internet, but to no avail, sigh..

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Milo,

    Sorry I wasn't much of a help, and glad that you found the script. To look for "<$BlogItemCommentCount$> comments", maybe you can try copying the template into Notepad and doing a search for them.

    Regarding your parents, tell them that this 58 year old is enjoying himeself so much on the Internet, that it helps him fill up his time that he has little time for other things.

    Peter
    Dummies Guide to Google Blogger
    "online book" in progress

    ReplyDelete
  5. hate to change the subject, but I can't get google adsemnse on my blogger blog since I erased a "delorean counter". How do I put this back and get money ads again?

    This is howardgis1@verizon.net

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Howie,

    I am afraid I do not know what "delorean counter" is and don't know in what way deleting it can cause you to be unable to put AdSense ads on your blog. Anyway, which template are you using - old classic template or New Blogger template?

    Peter
    Dummies Guide to Google Blogger
    "online book" in progress

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations! I didn't know about this study by Whicita University, but is clear that web pages full of colors, photos, designs, cartoonns ( piexels).. are debilitants for the childs eyes - and so ours-... Thank you. I'm doing a trackback to this post, for my italian readers; (with my comments, tranlations and .. others to have some fun). These important questions never reads in any blog. Bye, see you later, BlogmasterPg.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Peter, am trying to add the 3 page column but unavail. The layout u showed is for Beta Blogger and the current Blog do not have the 'Add a Page' but Add a Gadget' .. please assist. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The current New Blogger xml template was called Blogger Beta when it was first introduced and what used to be called Page Element is now called Gadget. There are the same,

    ReplyDelete

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