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Nip and tuck

Notice anything different?

That’s right, we’ve undergone … if not a proper facelift, at least a little cosmetic surgery.

This has been imminent for a while and I must say I’ve been reluctant to take this step because I’ve been so fond of the rotating photos. However — unfortunately they’ve been positioned in the optimal advertising space for any blog or website and, well, truth is my sponsors have been giving me a bit of flak.

When I signed up to run BlogHer ads just over a year ago, they made a special allowance for my photos, even though their rules stipulate that their ads must be placed “above the fold” — a phrase used to denote the space that is visible when the user logs on to the web page [“above the fold” was originally used to talk about newspapers – the best space of the paper is thought to be the front page above the place where the paper is folded in half].

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago they decided to firm up their rules, so – no more exceptions for those pretty little Iceland photos.

I didn’t want to abandon the pictures altogether, though, so I soaked my head* and came up with the idea of having the photos flashing inside the content column.

So — TA DA!!

I must say that, given the circumstances, I’m rather pleased with the result. One advantage of the flash images is that they can be displayed a little larger than in the rotating image box, which I think is kinda nice.

There may still be little tweaks to the site here and there over the next few weeks as I try different things out until I’m happy with the look of the site. Just a little heads-up.

Finally I have to give an extra-special shout-out to Grif, our forum-guru extraordinaire, who is the mastermind behind the flash feature and been such an excellent sport about it. So THANK YOU Grif!!

*Icelandic idiom – að leggja höfuðið í bleyti

Comments

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Bill C. January 26, 2010, 7:10 pm

    Looks good. I’ve always thought your blog design was sort of handsome, in a clean, unfussy way. As much as I like white space (and the splash of art) in your title logo, you might consider compressing (vertically) the site banner/header just a bit. Seems like the real estate you’d gain would bump the title and lead of the top-most post a little higher ‘above the fold’. Just an idea.

  • Simon Brooke January 26, 2010, 7:25 pm

    Does that mean the photographs have gone forever?

    If we come and bang frying pans under your window, will you give us back photographs?

  • idunn January 26, 2010, 8:50 pm

    One of my favorite features of ‘The Iceland Weather Report’ has always been the wonderful pictures. So I’m quite pleased that you’ve retained them. If your advertisers want the upper right corner (above the fold), fine. The pictures are perfectly lovely in their new position.

    I do have one minor concern, however. It seems that before the pictures were static, changing only when the page was refreshed. While it is also nice now to have them rotate, sometimes one just wants to dwell on a particular picture. One of my favorites is one of the cats, who has the most inscrutable expression. So if you can persuade Grif sometime, it would be nice to have a pause and play feature with the pictures.

    Otherwise, lovely as ever. And, a beautiful layout as well.

  • idunn January 26, 2010, 8:53 pm

    ps. Perhaps it is a question of sizing, as not all the pictures seem to fully match the frame, sometimes smaller than and showing the edge of another.

  • nick January 26, 2010, 9:01 pm

    Can someone please tell me that cat is being given food and shelter. I know cats are independent creatures but his/her grim expression always tugs at my heart.

  • Andrew (the other one) January 26, 2010, 9:04 pm

    And I can’t see the photos at all on my iPod because Safari for iPod/iPhone doesn’t support flash. Hey, Steve Jobs, come on: profits up 50%, how about fixing the glaring deficiency in the browser?

    I’ll have to view on my laptop to see the nice photos.

  • Grif January 26, 2010, 10:08 pm

    Alda, you’re most welcome.

    idunn, yes, it still puzzles me. So far I’ve only been able to reproduce this on one PC. Care to give me your browser & OS you’re using?

    About the pause buttons etc, that is something Alda will have to decide, but it certainly is an option (along with others I plan to play with)

    As for the images not showing on mobile phones/PDAs, I’m still playing with a possibility to solve this. Don’t hold your breath though (bit busy).

  • Joerg January 26, 2010, 10:17 pm

    If the sponsors are demanding their space, I suppose we’ll have to be happy, that the photographs didn’t vanish altogether. And the new place is indeed perfect. Unfortunately, the flash feature doesn’t work on my Iphone. But if it did, it would take away much bandwidth, so I don’t mind.

    I think I would like to be able to have the rotating pictures pause once in a while. On the one hand, I do have favourites like the Grótta Lighthouse, on the other hand it tends to affect my concentration when reading, if there is always something moving and busy on the screen or in the background.

  • Grif January 26, 2010, 10:17 pm

    Ohh, I should probably also say that I used to have this problem on my test site but then after altering the problem went away, hence why we published it here…

    Debug time…

  • JB in San Diego January 26, 2010, 11:24 pm

    Alda/Grif: The photos don’t show up when I use Chrome (Windows XP). I do allow flash to get through, normally. When I use IE I can see them – and the new format looks nice.

  • Grif January 27, 2010, 12:01 am

    I’m under the impression that it has to do with other images from other servers taking for ever to download. The slideshow won’t start until all other data is retrieved.
    If that’s the case, it should work when you retry to refresh the page (a few times). Can you confirm this?

  • c dunne January 27, 2010, 3:27 am

    I don’t get any photos when using firefox (my usual browser), but they show up in safari. I love the photos. Guess I’ll have to switch browsers to read IWR.

  • idunn January 27, 2010, 7:23 am

    Grif, I’m viewing this site via OS X, 10.6.2, using the browser Opera 10.10. I haven’t tried it with other browsers, but of course, yes, that could make a difference.

    Nice design of this site, and obviously great content.

  • Joerg January 27, 2010, 7:58 am

    Until a while ago there were links to the latest posts available in one of the right sidebars, which could be used to jump directly from one post to another. These links seem to have disappeared. To get from one post to another now requires a detour via the main page. Wouldn’t it be convenient to be able again to switch between the latest posts directly?

  • alda January 27, 2010, 9:40 am

    Thanks for the comments, everyone.

    Bill – yes I expect there will be more tweaks of that nature. Thanks for the tip.

    Simon – the photos are still there! Can’t you see them?

    nick – I would hope the grim expression was not due to hunger. In any case, that kitty is not Icelandic but Croatian, so I really can’t say.

  • Sigrun January 27, 2010, 11:05 am

    Hi Alda,
    I have been a silent fan of your blog since I discovered it some months ago. I live in Switzerland and therefore your posts are vital to me to understand what is going on in Iceland (just reading news is not good enough for me…). I have also started to blog a little bit myself and your blog is the one I use as “Vorbild” (what is that in English? Icelandic? ;-))

    Since I read your posts by clicking on my RSS-feed-link I go straight to the post and not your home page and there I don’t see a flash photo. I would love to see your photos when I read your posts, I think you are wonderful photographer (also another “vorbild” for me!). So maybe you can also include them in the blog posts too if that is not too much work.

    All the best from cold Zurich,
    Sigrun

  • Simon Brooke January 27, 2010, 12:14 pm

    Alda,

    I can see a link to your Flickr feed, with five thumbnails of photos, half way down the right hand side (‘below the fold’). I can see two calendar adverts, one column to the left and slightly below the flicker. I can see the spiral storm image in the headline. But I can’t see any other photographs. I’ve tried Google Chrome 4.0.249, Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0.6001, Opera 10.0, Mozilla Firefox 3.5.7, on both Windows and Linux platforms, and I can’t see any photographs (except the Flickr thumbnails) in any of them.

  • alda January 27, 2010, 12:28 pm

    Sigrún – hi and welcome and thanks for the kind words! (vorbild = model / fyrirmynd :)) — Interestingly you are the first person to alert me to the fact that the flash slideshow is not visible on individual posts, only on the front page of the blog. I’ll have a talk (or, well, email session) with Grif to see if there’s a way to fix that. Otherwise I’m afraid I’ll just have to ask you to click on the front page to see the pics!

    Simon – Are you looking at individual posts, or the front page? (see my response to Sigrún, above).

  • alda January 27, 2010, 1:29 pm

    ps – Joerg – ask and thou shalt receive. 😉

  • JB in San Diego January 27, 2010, 8:47 pm

    Grif, not sure if you did something, but today the photos are working. I tried to refresh yesterday to no avail.

  • alda January 27, 2010, 10:33 pm

    JB – possibly you may have been looking at a single post page. The flash feature was only working on the front page – until Grif fixed it today.

  • Pauline McCarthy January 29, 2010, 3:24 am

    Hi Alda, I have been admiring the photos for some time now. Do you take them? I especially like the ones of Kelir. Is that a view from near where you live. I oil paint and would love to use some of your photographs as working material, I often use a compilation of several photos to come up with the final idea for a painting. If you give me permission to use them I promise to paint one for you!

    LoVe Pauline

  • alda January 29, 2010, 10:16 am

    Hi Pauline, yes I take all the photos in the flash slideshow. And you are very welcome to use them – especially if I get a painting out of it! 🙂

    The one of Keilir was taken from Ægissíða, which is near where I live, yes.