Holy new site design, Batman!


Everything makes Buddha laugh
Well, as you can see folks, this site now has a totally new design and layout.

I’ll still be tinkering with it over the next few days but right now what you see is pretty much what the final version is going to be like. I still have a few more things to add (especially my blog rolls) and a few minor tweaks but overall I really like the new design. I’ve also slightly modified some of the categories (of my posts) to better sort some of the things I’ve been writing about of late.

Although it LOOKS much different now, all of the links to the various articles and pages are exactly the same so any of you who have posted links on FB or your websites, etc; those don’t need modified. Also I know it’s fairly obvious but the URL of this blog hasn’t changed one bit (and won’t change).

Clearly you can see I’m running a different name in the banner. Am I still “more Romanian than you?” Of course I am! LOL – you even had to ask? I certain am who I am but it’s time to kick this blog up to the next level. It’s time to use more graphics and multimedia and it’s time to cover a wider view of things than simply “oh golly an American lives in Romania”.

Again, ALL OF THE OLD MATERIAL is still here, exactly where it was before – nothing has been deleted so please don’t panic. I will still be writing some articles “like I used to” on things like grammar and Word of The Day and basic introductions to living in Romania, etc.

However, the next big step to this blog (beyond the layout change) is I am going to start featuring more content in the Romanian language. For those of you who don’t speak Romanian (and don’t want to), again, do not panic. There will always be some English on here. But I can’t really say I’m truly Romanian if I don’t write the language, can I? Nah. So that’s exactly what’s going to happen here soon. I know you all have seen me speaking Romanian in newspaper articles and TV interviews but so far I really haven’t written in Romania, at least not without some help. So time to get out of my comfort zone, so to speak, and head into new waters, writing with a difference “voice” and tackling different issues.

Wow… okay I’ll wrap this up here just by saying, yeehaw, hope you like the new site design!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. RAurelian says:

    Hi Sam,

    With all due respect, this will be just another Romanian rant (since I`m a Romanian from Cluj):

    I found your blog about 1 year ago and I have been checking in on a daily basis, mostly from my smartphone. I liked your view on life in general and on the life in Romania which got me addicted, so I eagerly waited for each new article you posted. Apart from the content I must say that I loved the way it was presented: in a simple and clear manner with the right layout, fonts and colors – just perfect to be viewed from the screen of a smartphone: all I needed to do, was to type in your blog`s address and after a very short loading time I would have 4-5 articles completely loaded; all I needed to do in order to read through the articles was to scroll down – Perfect! If I wanted more than ~4 articles, I had to tap 1 button (“Older Posts” [or how the button was called exactly]) and more articles would load for my reading pleasure (again, I only had to scroll down to read through them).

    I was shocked to see that a few days (or weeks?) ago you started fiddling with the layout and for a couple of days I had a red/pinkish color for the background of the blog on the smartphone, but the text was readable and easy to access and go through, so I said: “Hey if he likes it like this, OK, as long as he keeps posting the good stuff”.

    However, on 1st of July i was appalled to see that I can no longer find the latest article you posted right after I loaded your blog, nor could I find out right away since there were a lot of titles scrolling left and right, with big pictures on them and a bunch of other titles ordered vertically which also I cannot figure out right away when they were posted and if I`ve read them. Moreover, if I want to read any article, I cannot start doing that as soon as I loaded the blog because I have to click on the article`s title or the […] link in order to load just 1 article. After reading the article, guess what? I have to go back and re-load the main page and then load another article… You might not think that this a big deal and maybe it is not when you are browsing from a PC, but when you are browsing from a smartphone it`s a drag to load pages and go back and forth for each single article – not to mention that this consumes a lot more of my data plan.

    What can I say? It serves me right.. I was really unhappy that (with the original layout) I had to load the article separately in order to see the comments.. now I don`t even have that.

    Why oh why Sam? :)

    Your blog now became just like most of the other Romanian news sites (Hotnews, i`m looking at you!)..

    It is true that I did not really contribute much to your blog since I did not leave comments that often (I just browsed, read, rated and left; but then again, it`s blog, not a forum) although I did my part in spreading the word, so maybe I have no right to complain – but I could not help myself and I had to take the time to write this from a PC.

    I am sad to say this, but now I still load up your blog page on my smartphone once a day, but not to see if there are any new articles (I cannot figure that out anyway), but to see if maybe, by any chance, you`ve changed back to the old layout. Until then, I wish you happiness and strength so you can keep up the good work – there are many other readers out there that disagree with me and are happy with the new layout, which need you.

    All the best,
    Aurelian

    Like

  2. Add a link on the top header image. Actually, add a top header image that doesn’t suck. Unless you _are_ going for Photoshop-impared kitch, in which case, more power to you, great job.

    Like

  3. I’ve seen worse. Like the one it replaces.

    It’s pretty cool and usable actually.

    But you may want to get rid of some of the stuff in the side bar, it’s noisy as hell.

    Like

  4. hotcoffee says:

    Honestly, I don’t like the new layout either. There’s way too much going on on the home page and too little structure. It’s overwhelming and you simply can’t tell what’s the point of the site. And as others have noted, the old site had a personal feeling, the focus was clearly on your blog posts, with side stuff on the side. Now it looks like a place that just gathers random content and puts it on one page. You can’t even tell that all of it is in fact the work of a single person, which is a shame. It also seems (to my non-professional eye) that new visitors would be much less likely to hang around and read than before. But I’m a hard-core minimalism fan, so take this with a grain of salt.

    On the other hand, I’m definitely looking forward to the Romanian language content and the new issues(!) you plan to talk about.

    Like

  5. Adrian Sandu says:

    I have to make “Mea Culpa” for not doing my research properly. I forgot that your site is hosted on WordPress.com and that you don’t have the possibility to load third-party themes. Thus your selection is so much more limited. If you ever want to move your website off WordPress.com and onto a standalone WordPress site (where you have full control over everything), don’t hesitate to drop me a line and I will be happy to help you.

    Like

  6. Adrian Sandu says:

    Hi Sam,

    I might just prove to you again that I can’t be a proper Romanian without complaining about stuff other people do. Please take it in the spirit it is offered. It might not be wanted, needed or required at this time, but maybe it will help down the road when you want to do this move again.

    While I am glad that you found the theme design that you wanted, I can not stop thinking you could have done so much better. At first contact, it does seem a bit cold and it lacks much of the feeling the old one had. It looks like 2000, not 2012. I, for once, am sad to see Stefan gone. Does the new design meen you are turning into the All-Seeing-Eye for Romania? Are you our new Overlord? If so, I welcome you – I don’t think there’s any way you could do worse than what’s going on already

    Now, that I finished my obligatory Romanian rant, I would like to drop you a small piece of advice. From what I can see, Mimbo Pro (the current theme) costs about 80 bucks. At ElegantThemes[dot]com you get 77 themes for $39 and they are all much better looking in my opinion. I get nothing from this (otherwise I would have passed you my affiliate link :P ), except trying to help you get a better deal and making the web a little bit more beautiful, one site at a time.

    Keep up the good work and I will keep following you no matter the design of your site.

    Like

  7. charlie says:

    It sux big time. Magazine-like layouts are crap-loaded, cold, dizzy and impersonal. Old layout was a blog-style, with articles easy to read, in a good flow, with just one sidebar for those interested.

    Like

  8. daianara says:

    Yay you! :D

    Like

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