Is Rams the ideal blog layout?

May­be you hadn’t noti­ced, but ear­ly Decem­ber Word­Press has relea­sed a new ver­si­on (4.1) of its blog­gers plat­form. As usu­al, they used this upgra­de to also intro­du­ce a new default blog lay­out: Twen­ty Fifteen.

On the blog of Ernst-Jan Pfauth I read that he looks for­ward to this new lay­out becau­se he finds Twen­ty Fourteen a bit too dark in color set­ting. I agree with him. But that’s not what I want to dis­cuss today. For me it’s ano­ther remark he makes:

Ear­lier this year I dit­ched my hand­ma­de the­me, becau­se the­re just wasn’t a way to keep up with all the requi­re­ments that come with peo­p­le using hund­reds of dif­fe­rent screens for acces­sing your blog.

I mean, I love to geek around with Word­Press The­mes and CSS, but doing it just as a hob­by isn’t enough any­mo­re to gua­ran­tee eve­ry visi­tor of my blog a good experience.

Now I can’t say that I have a hand­ma­de the­me. To do so I lack the know­led­ge and skills of HTML / CSS / etce­te­ra. Howe­ver, I recog­ni­ze as some­o­ne who likes to play around with the many blog the­mes avai­la­ble for Word­Press that it beco­mes very hard to near­ly impos­si­ble to cre­a­te some­thing which give all of your visi­tors the same look and feel, regard­less of the the devi­ces they use.

More­over, it see­ms that the ide­al lay­out does not exist. Or at least for me remains hid­den. Always the­re see­ms to be a short­co­ming that I, at best, can almost sol­ve with a plu­gin or by chan­ging code in the php and css files. Almost, but not qui­te. At worst I’m not able to sol­ve it all and have to live with it. What I mana­ge to do for seve­r­al days. Until the gro­wing annoyan­ce makes me deci­de to start loo­king for a repla­ce­ment the­me whe­re this dis­tur­bing ele­ment no lon­ger reveals.

But whe­re ano­ther flaw is intro­du­ced. And we’­re back to start all over again.

Ernst-Jan has given up. He choo­ses to sett­le for the default lay­outs Word­Press has avai­la­ble. I tend to fol­low in his foot­steps. That’s why I instal­led Twen­ty Fifteen yes­ter­day after­noon to give it a try.

I loved it for fifteen minu­tes. In that peri­od  I didn’t suc­ceed to chan­ge the insa­ne­ly lar­ge font that is used for block quo­tes in to a for­mat that see­ms more nor­mal. Dis­ap­poin­ted I put the Char­le­ne the­me back.

Then I remem­be­red having read an inter­view with Anders Norén who refer­red to a the­me he had made which see­ms to have many simi­la­ri­ties as com­pa­red with the Twen­ty Fifteen the­me still under devel­op­ment around that time:

Norén see­ms to be equip­ped with a never-ending foun­tain of inspi­ra­ti­on for new the­mes. His Rams the­me, which bears a few simi­la­ri­ties to the upco­ming Twen­ty Fifteen default the­me, was inspi­red by Die­ter Rams, a Ger­man indu­stri­al desig­ner who is well known for his inno­va­ti­ve, unob­trusi­ve, and time­less pro­duct design.

May­be the block­quo­tes were bet­ter desig­ned within the Rams the­me, I thought and star­ted to install it:

That was late last night.

What are my fin­dings so far. To begin with Rams is very mini­mal. This not only applies to the design, but also to the set­tings. Apart from the standard color sche­me that is green but can be chan­ged, the­re is nothing to adjust. Oh of cour­se, the menu you can chan­ge as well. But tha­t’s it. You have to do with what you get. And what you get is very good when you ask me.

The left side­bar shows only the menu, and more impor­tant­ly, does not scroll but has a fixed posi­ti­on. I think it’s very rest­ful. Alt­hough the default green color is deba­ta­ble I have deci­ded to keep it this way. Becau­se when you chan­ge the color it also auto­ma­ti­cally upda­tes the color of hyper­links in the text.

As you pro­ba­bly under­stand by now the block­quo­tes are mat­ching my tas­te other­wi­se I would not have writ­ten this blog post at all. Nowa­days, you usu­al­ly see a ver­ti­cal line in order to dis­tin­guish a block­quo­te from the rest of the text. That is not the case with Rams. Norén has cho­sen to use the quo­ta­ti­on icon. It’s not my pre­fe­ren­ce, but for now I lea­ve it like this.

Com­pa­red with the Twen­ty Fifteen the­me the left side­bar is real­ly far left, making sure that on a big screen, the atten­ti­on stays focu­sed on the text and the side­bar more or less dis­ap­pe­ars from view. Which is ano­ther subt­le dif­fe­ren­ce which I like. Same thing with the meta-data at the bottom of the blog post. Default this is hid­den but can be acces­sed by clic­king on the ‘ham­bur­ger’ icon. Again a choi­ce for focus on the text and no distraction.

All in all I am much more satis­fied with Rams than with Twen­ty Fifteen. Con­tra­ry to all the pre­vious lay­outs I used the­re is no need so far to chan­ge code, install addi­ti­o­nal plu­gins or any other fine-tuning. Could it be that the ide­al blog lay­out for me real­ly exist? Or am I just in a generous mood now I have a few days of vacation?

[Lees in het Neder­lands]

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3 reacties op “Is Rams the ideal blog layout?”

    1. Ga je gang en steel ‘m maar, zou ik zeggen.
      Waar­om bij de pre­view een klei­ne let­ter ver­schijnt begrijp ik niet. Heb dat zelf niet gehad. Mis­schien gewoon even acti­ve­ren en dan bekij­ken. Kun je daar­na toch weer gewoon terugdraaien.
      Heb je ook Twen­ty Fifteen beke­ken? Die heeft wat meer moge­lijk­he­den zoals bij­voor­heeld een hea­der foto. Dat heeft Rams niet.

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