Monday, September 21, 2009

Hiatus / Color Scheme Changes

PATSP will be on hiatus from 22-25 September. New posts will resume on the 26th.

(Celebratory Gazania picture.)

REPEATEDLY EDITED TO ADD: I'm really tired of the current PATSP color scheme (which I've had for almost two years now), and early attempts to change and get feedback were mixed, so I've quickly whipped up five options for everybody to vote for and against. I won't necessarily use the one that gets the most votes in favor, but I definitely will not use the one that gets the most votes against.

#1 is red-brown with chartreuse accents. It goes with a header picture of Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Gay's Delight' and was reviled and despised by Celtic Rose and Anonymous.


#2 Is primarily dark blue with light blue, light green, and white accents. It goes with a header picture of Brunnera 'Jack Frost' flowers and got a positive comment from Nancy from Sun Lakes AZ:


#3 is mainly dark blue with some semi-neutrals. Its accompanying picture is a Pachypodium geayi trunk. Nobody had commented on it yet when I took down the original hiatus announcement.


#4 is mainly dark reddish-brown with some coral and blue highlights. It goes with a transmitted light picture of Stromanthe sanguinea 'Triostar.' I expect everyone will find it kind of hideous, but I like it (the coral is very close to the color I'm thinking about painting my office).


#5 is mainly dark purple with some cream and green highlights and goes with an overly-large Viola picture. I'm not happy about the picture being so big, but otherwise it seems fairly inoffensive.



lynn'sgarden said...

Enjoy your break!

our friend Ben said...

Hope you're having fun!

Kenneth Moore said...

We'll miss you & your posts!

CelticRose said...

Have a good break! We'll miss you!

Hate the new color scheme. Reminds me of the worst of 1970s home decor.

Anonymous said...

Not fond of the new color scheme

mr_subjunctive said...

B-but, it's autumnal, dammit.


All right. Trying again.

Nancy in Sun Lakes AZ said...

I love the new color scheme because it is very restful for the eye. It is just a nice change for awhile! You deserve a break, but I'll miss the posts.

Anonymous said...

There, I voted.

Diane said...

Have a great break!

I may be alone in this but I have a hard time reading light text on dark background in general. It makes my eyes feel strained and I sometimes get an afterimage that makes the next thing I look at harder to read (or is that your intention..? haha). Any chance you would consider adding a lighter-colored text box for the post area?

mr_subjunctive said...




I know. It's kind of a problem whichever way I go, because light-on-dark is harder for me to read too, but looking at too many mostly light-colored pages makes my head start to hurt. (I think. It's my theory for why I've been getting so many headaches lately, anyway.) That's why I picked light text on dark background for all five choices (that, and because I wanted something different from the old scheme).

I don't know how I'd add a lighter background for the text; I'm sure it can be done, because I've seen people do it, but I don't know how with this template.

lynn'sgarden said...

I voted #1 since the header photo just go with the 'strange' part of the blog name. Not sure about the text color though.

Blue with Jack Frost...tooo common!

I don't mind the coral (nice picture) but YOU may after having it on the office wall and the screen!

Fun isn't it?

Kenneth Moore said...

I have to agree with Lynn: the text colour for the first one would be easier to read if it were different, at least for the blog description--I think the name will be fine. Although it might just be hard to see because it's a small version of the screen grab.

Other than that, it's my favourite of all five--my second choice would be the Viola one, despite the overemphatic large opening photo. I definitely think that Stromanthe is too much! Which seems odd to me, on second thought, because the colour scheme is so similar to the Solenostemon one, just replacing the coral with lime green... I guess I like green better.

The other two don't do much for me. Really it's about what you like, but since you asked, I opined. :-D

Kenneth Moore said...

Hm, rereading this, I think Lynn meant the body text--I was talking about the blog description text. I don't have a problem with the posts' body text. It makes me happy.

Karen715 said...

I voted for 3, though I liked 2 equally well aesthetically. I just don't associate outdoor garden plants with PATSP.

I voted against 4, though I also dislike 1. Both clash horribly with your green PG-13 rating box.

I'm neutral about five.

I have no trouble with light type on dark backgrounds, as long as the "light" type isn't a strong color (like fluorescent green or yellow) itself. Another reason I didn't like number 1.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

I voted. I didn't choose the most popular answer in the first case, but in case of vomiting, I'll have a lot of company!

Daffodil Planter said...

Just one more plea for dark font on light page. You write long (and fun) posts, and it's going to be hard to read them if the font is light on a dark page.

If that's too dull you could change the header photo often to keep yourself interested?

sheila said...

My initial reaction was, oh crap, I hope he's not going to do one of those light fonts on dark background things, because my newly middle-aged eyes do not do well with that. There are a few blogs that are just so hard to read that I simply gave up for that very reason.

The contrast that you have going now works really well for me. That is more important to me than pretty colors or pictures.

Personal opinion - brown is really bad for a plant blog. Brown reminds me of dead plants. 'Nuff said?

Hà Xuân said...

Hi there, I just join you here and I voted for #5, Viola. I like soft color :-o)

Have a nice break.

mr_subjunctive said...


Well okay. Um.

Right now, it's looking like #3 has it: it has the best most-favorite/least-favorite ratio. (I'm also sensitive to the criticism from Karen715 that Brunnera is probably not really the right sort of header for a houseplant blog, which is true.) What I'm considering -- and I could yet be talked out of this, probably -- is trying #3 for some brief but meaningful period of time, like 3-7 days, and then getting everybody's assessment of whether or not it's as good or bad as they'd hoped/feared, at which point we will perhaps do this again. I don't expect there to be any palette that's going to make everybody happy, of course, but I'm willing to experiment to keep as many people happy as possible.

As Diane, Daffodil Planter, and sheila have noted, some people have trouble with light type on dark pages. I don't like it a lot either, though like Karen715, there are some sites where it bothers me more than others, depending on how intense the type color is. Callus and Chlorophyll has what looks like gray type on a black background, and I can't say I've ever found it problematic. Ditto for A Desert Observer (blue on black) and A Yard in Fort Pierce (green on black). Growing With Plants' white on dark brown is more difficult, and Another Yard in Fort Pierce (white on black, bright green on black) is occasionally painful.

So my hope is that using colors for background and text that are not fully-saturated or intense will be more readable than people think they will be. If not, then perhaps we'll go with something more familiar: keeping the black type I've got now and just bringing down the intensity of the background a little. It's kind of important to me that the background be darker, though, for the sake of my own eyes.

And point taken, sheila, about brown maybe not being the best color for a plant blog (though Mr. Brown Thumb could get away with it, I bet). It was intended as more of a red/purple, not a brown, but obviously it is not.

Lance said...

I agree with Sheila that some colors are very hard to read. Blue texts hurt my eyes, as do reds.

I like the green it is today - not sure if that was new or not. Guess I'm more aware of what is written than what color it's on as long as it isn't hurting my eyes.

CelticRose said...

Thanks for letting us have some input! :-)

I voted for #2, but I also like #3 & #5.

The color of the link in #3 is difficult to distinguish from the rest of the text.

The picture on #5 is way too large.

I voted against #1, but I also disliked #4. Both are nauseating color schemes, particularly since I read this blog while eating breakfast.

As for the light text on dark background thing, you're not going to please everyone on that. Colors affect everyone differently. I'm with you on needing a darker background; bright white backgrounds hurt my eyes. However, I don't have any trouble reading text as long as there is sufficient contrast between the text and background.

our friend Ben said...

Well, sheesh. I liked #1 best. I guess there's no pleasing everyone!

Andrew said...

Favourite would have to be #2, least favourite is #1. Header pictures in 3 & 4 are both great though in #3 the colours of the background are too much more saturated than those in the picture (try the colours of 3 with that picture maybe - there's that lighter blue in the background of that shot). Personal preference on the colours in #4 - just not a fan of red web pages in general. #5 is nice but the picture's very big as noted. Nice colours and contrast between background and foreground in that one though.

Anchie said...

For what it's worth, some of your color schemes may be lovely per se, but I visit your blog not so much for color, as for your writing. Reading light type on dark background is a no-no for me, unfortunately. I really hope you will reconsider, because the loss will be mine...

Anonymous said...

I agree with previous posters regarding the light text on a dark background. The eye strain is headache inducing. There is another forum I visit less and less because of this. Just too hard to read :(

KAY-JAY said...

Bet you didn't think about the can of worms you were opening up asking for our input. It is a testament to your popularity that we are all so passionate about your blog. In the end, it is your blog and you can do what you want. Even if I dislike the color scheme, I'll still read it for the knowledge, and wit.

Kay-Jay the anonymous who said she wasn't fond of the red scheme ;)

mr_subjunctive said...

No, no, input is good. I figure I ask a lot of readers already, in terms of word count, so I certainly don't want to make it hard to read too. Though I would never have expected so many people had a problem with light text on dark backgrounds, considering how many sites do this.

I'm trying to get something workable set up for tomorrow; assuming that I can, the switch should happen around noonish (CDT). It will almost certainly be dark type on a light background, so the polls are now irrelevant (though they were still informative).

Emily said...

Although you've already decided to do it, I just wanted to add my voice to the plenty who state that light text on a dark background, regardless of contrast, is always more of a strain to me to read than dark on light. I often will highlight just to read, and I definitely prefer sites that have dark text on light backgrounds. That said, I don't mind at all having a light background as opposed to white, so I'm excited to see what you come up with! I hope our lack of headaches don't come at the expense of causing more of yours!

Emily said...

Sorry, rereading after posting, my comment was unclear in the beginning. I was saying I know you've sided with us, too, in giving us dark on light. :)

sheila said...

mr s, I really like the new color scheme. Elegant, subtle, and the green is very evocative of plants! It may be a tad harder to get through a really long post, but I think it will be OK, time will tell.

I like this one better than any of the 5 we voted on, actually.