Monday, March 11, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about layouts. Not layouts on an ultimate frisbee field, body stretched in flight arm extended fro the catch, mud-landing certain, band-aid prophecy fulfilled-- my friend Beth is an ultimate Frisbee champion--her layouts on the playing field say heart and warrior and bravery and team and commitment.

 I've been thinking about blog layouts. What do blog layouts say?  When I started Portable Teacher in 2008, I thought it would be a collaborative space. I imagined writing with friends and sharing ideas. I wanted a nice looking piece of header art, a three-column layout, a meaty list of blog links, widgets and stats--frame to frame filled.

I started to question my intentions.  Do I need to see the stats or the visitors on the front page? Which features am I really using?  I  stripped the layout. I minimized it. I simplified it. I took the header-art down (though it's still around on the mobile version). I tried to focus more on writing, on thinking, on conversing and less on widgets or stats.

I'm currently using a "Dynamic Views" template from Blogger. A few friends have had trouble posting comments. Sometimes I don't want to play hide and seek with the blog links. Not much shows on the page. Content hides in the side menu and only pops out when the cursor hovers over it. It can be tricky.

I like the page links across the top. I like the clean lines and minimalist feel. I like what the layout says and doesn't say. Still, perhaps, I can eliminate the pop out menu and go with white and writing like Gillis or maybe color can make a comeback.  Blogger lets me customize template options, play. Now is when I wish I'd learned how to code well. 

Why did you choose the template you chose? I'm curious.


  1. I chose mine because . . . well, it might have been the first one I tried. The easiest one for a beginner. Now that i've done a few posts, next time I'm not typing at the last minute on Monday night, I might try something different to see what it looks like. I should say that now that I check out the blogs through my own blogger acct, I never have problems posting (as long as I'm on my laptop). And I feel badly that I didn't blog with you more when I was there. But you can see that it still took more than two years after I left to give it a try and I'm still a baby stage.

  2. I like the clean look too, although I will admit that I'm a layout junkie. I've played with almost every option, colour, background . . . As a former visual artist, I can't keep myself away from playing with possible looks for the blog. I like my sidebar because I use my lists of favourite blogs, my list of popular posts lets others know what I write about. The dynamic view is nice, clean, sparing, but the choice of colours, of fonts is too limited for my need to play.

  3. I chose my initial layout last year...because of the red background to symbolize blood. I don't like the color red though, which is why I change mine yesterday to the pink and orange. More uplifting. I find myself frequently confused on the layout of the two writing teachers these days. And when you invited me to blog with you initially, I didn't quite get the process. I like seeing my list on the side and seeing what posts the person reads as well.