Listening To Reader Feedback

by derek on July 26, 2007 · 20 comments

Awhile back I put out a request to all of my readers to critique my theme and there were some great comments and feedback.
Over 60% of the people that responded to my poll thought that the theme itself was okay but that my header needed to be updated. There were 18% that didn’t think anything had to be changed while 9% thought everything with this theme was terrible.
At the time I did not disclose my feelings but I am in agreement with the group that thought the theme was okay but the header needed to be changed.
Listen To Your Readers
When I first started this blog, I had thought that I would spend more time discussing Scion and cars in general. As you can see by the volume of posts in the *Cars* category that hasn’t exactly happened. I knew the picture of the Scion tC in the header didn’t really fit but I left it alone as things were working as they were.
But as I reviewed the results of the poll and digested the comments that were provided, I knew something had to change. For the time being I have simply removed the tC while I continue to experiment with different ideas for both the header and the entire theme itself.
Through the poll and the subsequent comments I really gained an appreciation for the valuable resource that readers can be for your site. When you take time to read and consider the ideas and feedback of your readers, great things can happen.
Your readers contain a wealth of information but it is up to you to dig out the treasures.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Kwan July 27, 2007 at 12:47 am

So you’ve gone with no header at all for the time being? I personally think that a header that doesn’t fit (contextually) is better than not having one at all.

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derek July 27, 2007 at 1:09 am

Michael, thanks for the feedback. I just put up the original header image from this theme to fill the void of the empty image.
I’ve been tinkering offline on my XAMPP install with creating my own theme from scratch. Unfortunately that is slow-going so I am not sure if I will continue down this road or not.
Edit :: I’ve changed the header again to something a little more goofy.

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Chris Gray July 27, 2007 at 7:50 pm

A nod to the soon to be revamped header I take it, LOL. Looking at the picture from your XAMPP postâ€ĶI like what I see (hope you go with it). I have always been partial to black themes myself. Good luck, can’t wait to see what you end up choosing.

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Enkay Blog July 27, 2007 at 10:33 am

If you need help with the header, I suggest something that stands out. I have been a webdesigner for a long time and evne though I haven’t designed my own Wordpress theme, what could help is a header image thats catchy. So far I have seen that cartoon characters seem to be doing really well. May that could help!

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derek July 27, 2007 at 11:26 am

I’ve been trying to visit as many blogs as possible just to get ideas on what other people are using. I’m a programmer that can handle the code side of things but my design skills are quite lacking. 🙂
Thanks for the feedback!

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Enkay Blog July 27, 2007 at 9:04 pm

I can help you to a certain degree trying to put things together. Im not too good at creating characters but I know my graphics and stuff so let me know!

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derek July 28, 2007 at 5:17 am

I just put out a new theme, as well as the latest WP version finally, so I would appreciate your feedback!

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Enkay Blog July 28, 2007 at 8:33 am

This theme looks really good!

Damien Riley July 27, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Sorry I missed that post . . .
Take pictures of all your favorite scapes around town and run them through a page refresh randomizer.
PhotoMatt’s Image Rotator is an amazing little code scheme. It works like a charm. I used to have a bunch of scapes when I ran Kubrick. Now I back to classic but have started with 2 headers as I mentioned. In Explorer (FF seems to hang onto one) click refresh and each time you have a new header.
I think that would be exciting, and you could always make it static once you find one you really dig.

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derek July 28, 2007 at 5:17 am

Damien, I’ve thought about that as I have seen you using photos on your theme. I just made some theme changes so I’ll see how the response is to this before pursuing the rotating photos.
Thanks for the suggestion though!

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Chris Gray July 28, 2007 at 8:10 am

It’s a winner….love the new theme!

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Saman Sadeghi July 31, 2007 at 1:15 pm

I do too! This theme is very sleek and cool!
Great choice!

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derek July 31, 2007 at 4:45 pm

Thanks Saman! I’ve received some great feedback on this theme so I am pretty happy that I went with this for now.

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Saman Sadeghi July 31, 2007 at 11:53 pm

I just bought a really cool theme, but AdSense is really starting to perform for me and I’m afraid to change anything…

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derek August 1, 2007 at 12:16 am

Where did you buy it? I’d really like to see it but I can understand the desire not to mess with the success you are having right now.

Saman Sadeghi August 1, 2007 at 12:19 am

I bought this design – it’s not a WordPress theme, just HTML that I was converting into a theme.
I really like it, but things are really working right now!

derek August 1, 2007 at 12:41 am

That is a really cool layout. You can use XAMPP to build a dev instance with this new theme and have it ready to deploy if you ever decide the timing is right. 🙂

Saman Sadeghi August 1, 2007 at 12:47 am

That’s a great point! I think I will continue to mod it (using XAMPP) – just in case!

Damien Riley July 28, 2007 at 10:56 am

The other one was fairly traditional and I liked it. Themes are personal and artistically chosen by the individual. I still would like to see a header or some other sort of personalized aspect to it. Take Doc Searls Weblog for example . . . he’s got a Manila, run-of-the-mill theme but he’s got that cool photoshopped avatar of his head that looks pro and says: This is a human being’s site, not just a static theme applied to a random feed. To me that’s kind of what the new theme of yours is like. But you oughta know after all this time that I’ll come and be part of your discussions no matter what theme you have. If you wanna discuss more, My IM on GTalk at rileycentral@gmail.com is always on when I am. It’s not bad, I just wanna see that you are the one black sheep walking against the white herds headed to the cliff ya know?

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derek July 28, 2007 at 7:34 pm

@Chris :: Thanks for the feedback!
@Damien :: I’ve actually been trying to come up with a cool little avatar of myself (partly to avoid having my ugly mug plastered everywhere) but I really like that idea. I hear what you’re saying and appreciate the feedback!

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