Universe Today… Redesigned

Article written: 26 Jul , 2010

Nancy and I thought Universe Today was getting a little long in the tooth – its design was so 2008 – so we updated it. Hurray! The goal here was simplicity, so we’ve cleaned things up, threw things out that didn’t really matter any more, and tried to give it a hip 2010 look.

Of course, we broke all kinds of things, which now need fixing. So if you see any problems, font strangeness, or stuff that just looks plain ugly, post a comment below, or drop me an email ([email protected]) and I’ll see what I can do to fix it.


42 Responses

  1. J. Major says

    I like it. Nice header too….although maybe the “TODAY” would look better in white?

  2. J. Major says

    Maybe the rocket trail too? 🙂

  3. cbcnasa says

    anything is fine, the content is the important thing and it always is great

  4. Forty says

    Very nice, better than before!
    But I would really appreciate if there were a favicon for UT, since I almost have certain tabs opened in my browser an I would like to see at first look which is which.

  5. Forty says

    Oops, forget my last post, now I can see there is one now. Great!

  6. Member

    Yeah, we’re still squashing little bugs, so let us know if you see anything.

  7. William928 says

    Fraser, Very nice! Very 2010, and content is great as always. Congratulations on a small inprovement to a terrific site.

  8. Member

    We are going to try it in white.

  9. Astrofiend says

    I’m liking it!

  10. GEAR says

    Nicely done…a new look for continued informative content.

  11. RUF says

    Can we have higher contrast lettering? My old eyes have trouble reading the smaller type in grey.

  12. pahles says

    Great new look, but I agree with RUF, a bit more contrast would be nice.

  13. pahles says

    Oh, and the submit button at the bottom says: “SUBMIT Q”

  14. HeadAroundU says

    The previous design looked more like from 2000. 😀

    I love this one. <3

  15. SteveZodiac says

    Nice, it seems more spacious somehow.

  16. DrFlimmer says

    First of all, a nice new design! Looks very good and appears to be a little bit faster, as well.

    But allow me a few remarks:

    – Maybe you should change this reply box a little bit: A bolder border could be useful, because it is almost invisible on my Laptop screen (but maybe that’s just me). More importantly, it would be useful to make the box as wide as the actual answers above. That would make it much easier to apply a good structure to one’s text, because one would immediately see, how it will look like.

    – I haven’t tried it out, but just in case:
    a) Either make it possible that one can post more than one link per answer, or advice your writers/moderators that they should, indeed, moderate (if possible as soon as possible…)
    b) What about an edit/preview facility?

  17. Craig says

    love the site. just don’t like how the advertisements are so huge… its kinda distracting

  18. DrFlimmer says

    @ Craig

    I love “AdBlock Plus” (using Firefox)! No ads at all….

  19. Kevin says

    I love the leather bucket seats and the fuzzy dice!

  20. Dark Gnat says

    I dig the new loook. It’s cleaner and very professional.

    That little rocket logo would be a great favicon. Didn’t you have a favicon at one point?

    Also a preview/edit button would be nice, but if you cant, I’m sure we will be fine. :p

  21. Dark Gnat says

    Ohh, the Submit Comment button needs to be wider – I can only see SUBMIT C. (I’m using I.E. 8, btw)


  22. BeckyWS says

    Very positive change.

  23. BeckyWS says

    Actually, a slight issue- before, the previous and next stories were listed at the bottom of the article/page. These don’t seem to be there anymore (unless I’m being blind to it), making surfing between stories more of a hassle as you have to go back and forth to the homepage.

  24. Quasy says

    Nice look!
    Just a few tweaks necessary in my opinion:

    – Move “Logged in as” / “Log in” link to the top of the page (or at least to the end of the article). If you check the site from different computers and the articles have a long list of comments, you have to scroll way down to check if you are logged-in or not. Also to reach the logout link you have to scroll the same ammount. Both links (user and logout) have very small text – even smaller than usual comment text and can be tricky to spot / activate

    – A higher text and borders contrast can be indeed a good improvement

    – on my work computer (IE6, resolution: 1280 x 1024) the right side panel (the one with “Subscribe”) starts at the end of the comments row (instead of being side by side with the article). I will check at home if this bug occurs also on Firefox and newer IE versions).

    – the comment box (text input) should be a little bigger (larger in height); longer commnets are difficult to preview (for the submitter) on just 7 lines of text

    – i love the header picture, but perhaps the logo and the “universe today” text looks better on a transparent box, rather that the grey one that is in place today. even in the text has some “shadow” efect in order to emphasize it, but not that simple gray box;

    (don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to be critical, I just want to help improve my favourite site 😉 )

  25. David Gard says

    Looks great!

  26. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    Yay, looks nice!

    – First, the good news: either NoScript or this site has been tweaked, so I have been able to lift the NoScript block on the site (which actually only blocked the new rollover “dictionary” tool, I believe).

    However, it is still slooow on opening pages first time. IMHO the rollover tool isn’t worth it.

    – Then, the bad news:

    * I concur with Quasy, functionality on top if convenient.

    * The new comment box, which should stay on bottom of course, has much too few rows. It is also inconveniently hard to locate due to low contrast.

    [Of course you only need to click in its general position. But this, and the few rows, slows commenting down.]

    * The SUBSCRIBE/Popular et cetera frame is pushed down beneath the comment box. (Firefox.) Functionality on top!

    – Looking ugly:

    * The “LEAVE A REPLY/Logged in” block strikes me as both hard to see, read, and figure out.

    The SUBSCRIBE block is an eye catcher and signals function. Suggest using same layout for REPLY.

    The new comment name block is an eye catcher and signals function. Suggest using same layout or at least _its large text size_ for “Logged in as” et cetera.

    * The SUBMIT COMMENT button reads “SUBMIT (” (Firefox). Yes, that is a half C.

    [* The site’s source code, which I had to see to verify above buttons original text. But if you can live with it…]

  27. Meate says

    Looks great!

    I would only recommend that on the main page you put some kind of spacer between the articles (maybe 20-30 pixels of vertical space, or a horizontal rule). As it is, everything seems squished together and it’s a tad difficult to figure out which title, preview image, summary, etc, go with each other.

  28. No significant problems associated with the new design, but just FYI, for quite a while I have been getting an “unresponsive script” error from Firefox every single time I view a page on Universe Today.

    I assume it’s caused by one or more of the advertisements. The script always sorts itself out in the end, but the time it takes to do so exceeds Firefox’s expectations, and so I get the error popping up.

    (BTW, the button directly underneath this comment box says “SUBMIT Q|” where the | is the left hand edge of the U in QUERY.)

  29. Spoodle58 says

    Great job gang, it will make our whinging more attractive 🙂
    Love the copyright in the bottom right corner and this is way off topic but check our yesterdays APOD, I thought I had a grasp on asteroid size but I was very wrong.

  30. Member
    Aqua says

    I’m liking the look and feel of the ‘new’ page. Like @MEATE said, some kind of spacer between articles might helpthough? Like ADRANMORGAN said, I too have been getting an ‘unresponsive script’ message every other time I post and also thought it had to do with the ads? WHICH, by the way, are always putting a bunch of cookies on my browser. I’ve learned to ‘blow them off’ occasionally with CCleaner and SpyBot. DR.FLIMMER’s suggestion of using ‘AdBlock Plus’ is a hot tip … thanks for that DF! His suggestion of a bolder border around the reply box would also be good.

    Keep up the good work you guys!

  31. Member
    Aqua says

    AdBlock Plus works! I like! Thanks Dr. Flimmer!

  32. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    Oka, Adrian Morgan, Aqua and I have had the same problem.

    Maybe it’s the ads, but I didn’t get the site sorted out by blocking or unblocking them but by _blocking the site_. Still thinks it is that “Vibrant” or whatever tool (I’m not opening the source code again!). Especially since I’ve had similar experiences before with them.

    Of course it all goes back to @#!? javascript somehow; what a slow poke…

  33. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    Oops: No Oka commenter, that was “Okay”. Chees!

  34. Member
    Aqua says

    P.S. I really like the new content search box at the bottom of the home page!

  35. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    I became curious about whether all past pages were formatted this way. I found that comments beyond about page 2 are gone. I am not sure if this is intentional or not.


  36. RUF says

    The text must be “enbiggened” and darker. I have to copy and paste the text to a Word document to read it.

  37. donjasjit says

    I must agree with RUF. The lettering is too small. The name holder on top of the post must be of a different color.

    The setup at present is straining my eyes.

  38. Jon Hanford says

    “I found that comments beyond about page 2 are gone. I am not sure if this is intentional or not.”

    I’m seeing the about the same thing. I can’t find comments past page 3.

    On a separate note, it seems to take a loooong time for pages to fully load. I’m using Firefox.

  39. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    So with Jon we are (at least) 4 Firefox users, that have problem with loading times and/or (java)script timeouts.

  40. Salacious says

    Nice look.

    Is it possible to upgrade the “Leave a Reply” textbox. It would be nice to have an intermediate editor for comment text so it can be fixed before posting.

    Also what are the HTML/XHTML syntaxes we can use it the text box and what is the range of extra characters? (the character set is now UTF-8.) —

  41. Salacious says

    Character Test (please delete)
    ☁ ★ ⊚ κ × ±

  42. Member
    muffie1801 says

    Really like new layout. Less cluttered page but like BECKYWS has said, find not having the PREVIOUS/NEXT story link is a bit of a nuisance. However content and stories excellent.

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