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Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 15th, 2020, 7:06 pm
by VideoGameCritic
One strength and weakness of this site's format is how you get a bunch of different reviews to peruse on each page.

In theory I try to keep them paragraph length, but occasionally they turn into a wall of text. Even I sometimes lose my place when reading the lines under the image that tend to run long.

Then today it occurred to me how notebooks are "ruled" (college ruled) to make it easier to read. What if I did something similar to my reviews, inserting a red line every 50 pixels or so?

So I started experimenting and found that using colored blocks behind the text looked better. I'd like you guys to take a look and let me know what you think. It might be a shock to the system at first, but let's give it a chance!

In order to refresh to the latest code, go to any review page and do a shift-refresh on your browser.

If this proves effective I can apply it to the mobile version as well.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 15th, 2020, 7:56 pm
by scotland
I like it.

I am on mobile, but I loaded the desktop version and this version came up.

It reminds me of the banded Excel ledger sheet look, but its far more subtle.

I was surprised how well it works even though the effect is independent of the text line - sometimes the gutters between lines are shaded, sometimes not, but it seems to work.

The transition from shaded to non-shaded wasn't bothersome. At a glance, it breaks up that wall of text, and psychologically prepares you for the length of the review.

I'm surprised, but I like it.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 15th, 2020, 8:46 pm
by Gentlegamer
This is why God invented paragraphs.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 11:23 am
by LuckyMan
I don't know. For some reason, this bothers my eyes when I try to read it. I don't know if it's the white text against the blue background or maybe it's my brain trying to make sense of lines behind the text at strange intervals, but I really dislike it.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 11:36 am
by VideoGameCritic
Is it the color that bothers you, or the general concept? Because I can tweak it.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 1:18 pm
by LuckyMan
Even though it's a subtle thing, I think it's because it's a pattern behind the text that your eyes are drawn to making it more difficult to concentrate on the text. Of course, we've all encountered those websites where the designer thought it was a good idea to put some kind of pattern behind the text and how distracting that is. But I think you might be making a big mistake with this as it ends up having a similar effect on the eyes and could make it uncomfortable for people to read your reviews.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 1:20 pm
by LoganRuckman
Gentlegamer wrote:This is why God invented paragraphs.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 1:39 pm
by icepeople
As a lifetime newspaper editor (35 years, including 20 w/ websites) I'm a hard "no" on the change for the simple reason mentioned earlier - it distracts the eye from the text. One of the reasons your site has been so popular for an uncommonly long time is because it's readable and you haven't tried to "improve" it in various trendy ways that usually tend to reduce both the content and readabilty of what's on the screen.

In this instance, "irritating" and "amateurish design" are what immediately come to mind and stay there instead of the reviews themselves.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 1:50 pm
by ActRaiser
VideoGameCritic wrote:Is it the color that bothers you, or the general concept? Because I can tweak it.



It's a clever idea.

Personally, I would prefer to see actual paragraphs and breaks between them.

Failing that, could you try a dark grey to create a more subtle shading difference?

In my humble opinion the blue and black are jarring aesthetically.

Re: Making the site easier to read?

Posted: May 16th, 2020, 4:41 pm
by VideoGameCritic
That's for the feedback guys. Between this forum and my email, it been pretty much unanimous that readers want me to ditch the whole idea.

Fair enough - but since I'm already knee-deep in the code I was to try one last thing. Do a shift-reload again to see the latest look:
https://videogamecritic.com/genjl.htm?e=15429#rev1273

People have pointed out the old way almost looked at if somebody had accidentally done a cut-and-paste select. Now I smoothed over the transition, so it almost looks decorational, though hopefully still helping to guide the reader's eyes.

Give is a fair shot, and then let me know what the verdict is!