To be honest, I wasn’t so sure how to go about today’s assignment. Once again, I’m being asked to place Flavored Lemons under a magnifying glass, to try to look for flaws and potential improvements, this time, towards making it mobile-friendly. When I read the assignment during lunch break, I thought this should not be much of a problem because I have a responsive theme. The Twenty Fifteen theme description boasts of how it emphasizes content and prides itself on its adaptability. I personally think the theme does a very good job fulfilling its promise and am thus far satisfied with it.
That polylingual pattern of perfection shown in the typography is matched by the responsive design of Twenty Fifteen. It looks great on devices of all sizes, from desktop to mobile and everything in between. The theme adapts to any screen without sacrificing usability or design integrity.
I thought I’d finish this task pretty easily but as I started digging through the blog’s features, I came across this interesting post written specifically about my theme: One Theme, Three Ways: Customizing Twenty Fifteen. I thought yesterday that I was being minimalist with this blog, but when I saw those three featured blogs using the same theme, I became obsessed with the idea of deleting widgets from my sidebar. But hey, I later thought doing so would lose a big part of the blog personality I’ve been trying to build since my 101 days. So I ended up deleting only one section—the one that explains about the tagline. I’m happy I did that. The choice for tagline is explained in the about page anyway so that sidebar item was, decidedly irrelevant.
But first things first, as promised I’ll stick to doing the assignments for 201. So here’s a blow by blow report on my findings regarding how my blog looks from the different digital vantage points.
1. I remember viewing my blog using a desktop, a laptop, a tablet and a cellphone for the Blogging 101 assignment “Love your blog” but to be sure, I repeated the exercise. One striking difference is that the text looks a little more cramped and the posts seem longer as the screen gets smaller, but that should be fine (and this should be obvious anyway).
2. A major difference particular to my theme is how the header positioning changes with the gadget used. So as not to sacrifice readability of content in narrower screens, the header appears on top in lieu of a sidebar containing the blog name and a portion of the header image on tablets and mobile phones. The image is automatically cropped to fit into a default header space. I noticed that for my blog, the only thing being left visible is the color, which is fine as the signature yellow is what shows as a background of the blog name. Interestingly, the tablet view accommodates the tagline but a mobile phone doesn’t.
3. The sidebar widgets become hidden behind a menu icon for both tablet and mobile phone view. Once it’s clicked. it occupies the whole screen and shows what’s originally pinned to the sidebar. However, the header image still retains its cropped appearance.
I do not feel a strong call to action from these findings as of now. I have one minor learning though, it would be much easier to read content if the text is justified, especially when using the mobile view. So I’ll try doing that from this post forward.
What actually took my time more was checking out other blogs that use the same theme as I do and then using them as benchmarks to improve how my blog looks in whatever platform. On top of deleting a widget from my sidebar, here are other changes I’ve made today:
1. I noticed my blog’s the only one I’ve seen without those share buttons appearing at the bottom of posts and pages so I’ve finally added them in.
2. I personalized the email messages sent to someone who just signed up to follow my blog or a post. Before this assignment, I haven’t even realized that thing existed!
3. I shortened widget titles that works for desktop but looks over the top on mobile view. By the same logic, I learned to keep in mind that increasing indentations in posts can also alter the look of the whole body of text in the mobile version.
4. I wish I could say I was able to add the social media widget on my sidebar, but I can’t. I’ve been trying to find out how to do it for hours but arrrggh, I was unsuccessful! Can anybody help me please? (Sorry, I’m still locked out of Blogging 201’s The Commons so I’m shouting out from here.)*
Overall, though the assignment seemed simple, it turned out to be really helpful. It made me rethink of the importance of a blog theme—how its best features and limitations can help or burden a blog’s readers especially. As a bonus, I also got to compare myself with other bloggers who, like me, have the same minimalist aim for their blogs. I gained a more accurate view of my blog’s own reflection through that.
That’s it for today. It’s getting really late and I should head to bed. Is there anything else I missed? Your further scrutiny would be much appreciated, so feel free to throw them in.
*A very dispensable part of this post which, owing to the amount of effort wasted, has been retained.
Featured Photo is taken from imgkid.com.