Website overhaul

Posted on March 6, 2013 (Subscribe to Blog)

Regular visitors might have noticed over the last few days that I've been tinkering with this blog and website. At first glance it looks basically the same, but there are some differences.

One of the biggest differences is the text size. In this age of iPads, Kindle Fires, and other tablets, not to mention smart phones, more and more people are browsing on smaller screens. Although the text is often auto-enlarged or zoomed to a readable size, it still messes with layouts and generally looks like a big old mess.

For a while I had a "mobile phone" version that cut out some of the surplus widgets (like the right-hand sidebar) and made the content simpler. But although the content was shared, it still meant two different website templates.

In the end I redesigned the site so that it has a fluid layout with fairly large, nicely readable text. If you minimize your browser window and scrunch it down so it's really, really narrow, you'll see that the site squeezes down accordingly and the content wraps to fit. It should work on most smart phones without any sideways scrolling or special zooming.

New fluid website layout
See how my ugly mug slides to the left, the text wraps, and the book images shrink to fit.

I've noticed that most blogs these days use large text, perhaps for the reason described above, or perhaps because people are so fast-paced now that they only glance at computers as they're rushing past! Anyway, I too have "gone large" with the text. I've also dropped the right sidebar, which is a nice-to-have on a website but is very rarely included in mobile phone versions. My simple, fluid layout avoids the need to show or hide that sidebar depending on whether it's a computer or handheld device – which, let me tell you, is a pain to deal with.

The site isn't perfect by any means. I expect to keep tweaking things as I find more bugs and annoyances. Still, it's getting there. There are some snazzy widgets I used to have that I'll miss, but hey, it's a blog. The purpose of a blog is to impart information as easily as possible to the reader.

So what do YOU think? Found any bugs here? Is there anything you like or dislike when viewing this blog on a computers vs. handheld device? Do you even care? :-)

Comment by BRIAN B. on Wednesday, March 6, 2013...

Looks great, nice and clean. By the way, congrats on where you are right now. It doesn't seem that long ago when you were mulling the idea -now look at the achievement. Very inspirational!

Comment by BECCA J. CAMPBELL on Wednesday, March 6, 2013...

Fancy! I like it. Also, I LOVE the cover for Chamber of Ghosts!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Wednesday, March 6, 2013...

Aww, shucks, both of you. :-)

Comment by DONNA CONNERY on Wednesday, March 6, 2013...

Looks good, and I love the cover of your new book as well. Cannot wait to read it!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Wednesday, March 6, 2013...

It'll be ready in April, Donna. Right now it's undergoing some tinkering before it's ready to be tinkered with. Hehe. A bit like cleaning up before a cleaner arrives.

Comment by KAREN BYNOE on Thursday, March 7, 2013...

Is there any way you can preorder Chamber of Ghosts on Amazon so that we don't miss the day it arrives, or register to some form of email reminder? Love the books BTW

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Thursday, March 7, 2013...

Good question, Karen! Amazon won't allow pre-ordering except for Big Name Publishers, so I'll have to set up something on my end. In the past, I've allowed readers to buy the printed book through my site a little ahead of time, and I send out my own copies (which I typically get before launch date). So that's an option. Or, if you'd prefer an Amazon printed copy, or Kindle copy, I can set up a list and let y'all know when it's released. So I'll do that and add you to it. :-) Thanks!

Comment by ROGER ESCHBACHER on Thursday, March 7, 2013...

I like the redesign. Very sleek and, I think, easier for the reader to peruse.

Comment by KAREN BYNOE on Thursday, March 7, 2013...

yes please, add me to the list :-) prefer kindle copies now so that I can also read it anywhere my phone is and whenever I end up hanging around waiting as this seems to happen a lot! ..... but if kindle is out far later than the physical copy my patience determines paperback it is!!!

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Thursday, March 7, 2013...

Thanks, Roger. My brother Darren just informed me that his iPhone shows a bit of horizontal scrolling, so I'll have to look into that. Darn iPhones! Android is much better.

And Karen, the Kindle version will certainly be available at the same time as, if not before, the printed version.

By the way, watch out shortly for a post about early beta readers. You may be interested!

Comment by CATHRINE SMITH on Friday, March 8, 2013...

***SPOILER ALERT!***

OMG I just finished reading the all 6 books on my Kindle, i was so amazed and the characters just seems to come alive when i was reading that i had to getthe next book to see what happened next. I cried when Fenton was turned to stone, and my heart goes out to poor Emily being so sick. I was kinda hoping that Ryan was the last child, of the parents who left the Island. But i like him and i cannot wait for the next book to be available on the kindle. I told my sister about your books and she tried looking for them on her nook but Barnes and Noble told her they are only available in paperback. Again thank you so much for your talent and i look forward to the next book

Comment by KEITH ROBINSON on Friday, March 8, 2013...

Cathrine, you made my day! I take it you mean you've read all FIVE books, though, unless you somehow got hold of Book 6 before anyone else. ;-) So glad you like the series, and sorry your sister couldn't get them on Nook. Amazon requires exclusivity if I'm to use their Lending Library service, and honestly, Barnes & Noble aren't doing enough in the electronic market to entice me back to them. Thanks for being a fan! I wonder if you'd consider a review of one or more of my books on Amazon?

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