Not exactly spring cleaning, but it’s time for a new look here at Manga Bookshelf! As this website has become more and more a collection of regular columns and special features, it’s also become less well-suited to a bloggish layout, and even the semi-magazine-like functionality of the old theme was no longer fitting the bill. As new columns began to pile up, the layout just got longer and longer as I attempted to make them easy to find. Meanwhile, lengthy articles, such as roundtable discussions, could only be read in a long, narrow column, confined by the omnipresent sidebar.
So, please welcome our new layout! I’m sure it won’t please everyone (I already got an earful from one reader when I asked people to tell me if the layout worked in their browers) but before anyone else feels it necessary to chime in, let me tell you what I like about the new layout and why I believe it will serve this site better.
First, the front page is divided into multiple columns to better accommodate the site’s many regular features, more like the layout of a newspaper or magazine. Special features and discussion columns populate the left two-thirds of the page, while the right-most column showcases reviews. For those who just want a quick list of the site’s most recent posts (including those imported from Manhwa Bookshelf), one can be found in the top right corner, just as in the old layout. If you’re wondering how much less scrolling it now requires to view all this, check out the difference here:
I can now view the entire front page (save the footer) *without scrolling* on my phone. Furthermore, without the “Featured Article” box at the top (which seemed necessary when the newest items were so often buried at the bottom of a long layout), there is no more repeated information on the front page, which I think is a lot cleaner. This layout also supports WordPress’ new custom menus, which you will see in use above (note especially the new “Categories” menu item which allows you to go directly to your favorite column or feature). Site announcements (such as this one) and random entries will be available from this menu under “Blog.”
Lastly (and this is my favorite thing of all), the framework I’ve chosen to build on made it very easy for me to put into place a full-width page for single posts, which you are looking at right now! This is something I’ve missed since my LJ days, and it is quite thrilling to once again be able to design individual posts for something wider than 500 pixels or so. More space has allowed me to increase the font size, too, which should make longer posts a bit easier on the eyes.
I’ll be putting more functionality into place over the next few weeks, but for now, let me just thank all of you for continuing to read Manga Bookshelf as we evolve!