Robert Cruickshank and I have decided to fiddle with the blog layout in an effort to improve its user-friendliness.
- The text field for posts and comments is now wider, but anyone with a monitor resolution at least 1024 pixels wide should still be able to view the entire page without having to scroll horizontally.
- We've reduced the number of recent posts on the blog's home page from seven to three to improve download times, especially when a recent post includes multimedia elements, e.g. Google Maps or Youtube videos.
- The Blog Archive was moved up to the top of the sidebar on the right. Only the top level, i.e. the years, are shown by default to avoid pushing everything else down too far. To view older posts, please click on the little triangles to open and close the hierarchical index.
- Just below it, we've added the new search widget Blogger has kindly made available.
- For those would like to become a follower of this blog, we've added the widget for that at the very bottom of the sidebar. There's a choice to follow publicly or privately and you can stop following at any time. Followers will be notified of new posts on their Blogger dashboard.
- We would quite like to use a suitable background drawing or photo for a new header that is not subject to copyright or made available to us by permission.
- The preferred dimensions are 920-960 pixels wide by 80-120 pixels high. A drawing should be in GIF, a photo in JPEG format with 50-80% quality to keep the file small.
- The text "California High Speed Rail Blog" has to be prominently superimposed on the image, either in a suitable application or else using Blogger itself. The subtitle presently in the header will probably end up below the image or else be removed altogether.
- A drawing could feature the blue-yellow-white color scheme adopted by CHSRA but not echo the Authority's logo - this blog has no official affiliation with that state planning body.
- Neither photo nor drawing should include the logo of any railroad operator, foreign or domestic, nor should any train shown be clearly recognizable as a product of any particular train vendor.
We'll keep looking for appropriate options, but if you have a good image that meets the above criteria, that would be very welcome indeed. Please send it via email to Robert Cruickshank at his last name dot gmail dot com no later than June 15, 2009.
If we end up with multiple good candidates, we'll publish a post later this month with a poll so the readership tell us which they would prefer. Since internet polls are easily skewed (or skewered, Stephen Colbert-style), we'd also take the comments into considerations. In any event, due credit will be given to the creator of any contributed header image that appears on this blog.
Meanwhile, we'd appreciate your feedback on the changes we've made so far.