Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Dear Author’s New Look for 2014

About a year ago I started getting a hankering to change Dear Author. We’d been green for awhile but even more importantly, I felt like new visitors may not be able to easily find information. I wanted a new home page to really clearly identify what Dear Author was for new visitors.

Jacqueline of JumpIllustration designed the new logo. (She also designed the logo for The BookSmugglers which is where I received the recommendation). I loved the way that the stamp and letter features are incorporated into the new design. Jacqueline is really a master at taking my words (hey, I want something new and fresh that is stamp like) and creating something I hadn’t even envisioned would be so perfect. All the details from the pen in the hair to the date of our inception to the mail markings waving like an extension of the woman’s hair were amazing. Genius. Dear_Author_Card_and_Mugs Mobile_Touch_Image_Dear_Author_2

The smaller logo is for mobile touch users as the icon if they want to save the site on their desktop. Even better, I’ll be making this design available on a few Zazzle items such as mugs, iPhone cases, and the like.  Look for that in a few weeks.

From Jacqueline’s inspired logo, we then went to MoxieGirls who also designed SmartBitches site.  Patiently, Joelle worked with me to create the right layout to present all the important elements of our site which really boils down to reviews, opinions, deals, and news. We provide those daily but really wanted an easy way for people to find information.

On our front page, you can now see a clean breakdown of all the features that are available at Dear Author. More importantly, it’s easy to see the last few posts in each section (we’re working on updating the news part).

Finally, for those who are old school, merely bookmark http://dearauthor.com/blog to see a running list of all our posts.

If you think we’ve forgotten something let me know!

 

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

105 Comments

  1. azteclady
    Feb 01, 2014 @ 23:55:22

    Thank you kindly for providing the old school alternative–my brain works better with that one.

    ReplyReply

  2. Jo
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 01:23:29

    It’s awesome. I love it. The stamp logo is so pretty :)

    ReplyReply

  3. Julia
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 01:31:49

    I like the new layout, but I miss the genre being listed beneath each review. I used that a lot to determine which reviews I definitely had to read and which ones I could skip. I can’t always tell from the cover what the genre is and there’s some I’m just not interested in at all (for instance I want to read all the M/M but none of the contemporary suspense).

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  4. Mada
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 01:41:42

    I really like the new look, but not the format. I enjoy browsing by scrolling down through the posts like the old site. Thank-you for the blog version. I have two criticisms for you to consider:

    1. The new site/blog view doesn’t show tags. Ie: the old version showed tags in the main page for the reviews like “historical” or “ya”. The new site just shows the grade. I think this is a great loss since we could use these tags as further info before deciding to read a review.

    2. The animated ads are tacky. Makes me think of trashy downtown billboards. Advertisers on your site don’t need to have flashy ads to get my attention. I’m much more likely to click through on romance ads that aren’t animated. I’m pretty sure they were there on the old site but just didn’t realize how annoying they were until I saw the more subtle color scheme of the new site.

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  5. library addict
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 01:42:46

    As much as I claim to hate change, it is really just the adjustment period I dislike. Love the new logo.

    I do miss the numbered comments, but I’m just really glad you didn’t start using Disqus (sp?) as that system hates me :p

    Off to explore…

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  6. library addict
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 01:51:55

    Just FYI, when I clicked on the little Twitter bird I got a page saying “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist!” All of the other links I tried were okay.

    ReplyReply

  7. HJ
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 02:56:23

    @Julia: I agree strongly. And I see another commentator below makes a similar point. Hope this feedback helps you make an adjustment!

    ReplyReply

  8. HJ
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 03:01:19

    Having posted my “reply” to Julia’s comment, I see that instead of its appearing immediately underneath it my comment appears at the bottom and so doesn’t really make sense. (I think this is something else you may want to change?) Anyway, the point I was agreeing with is this:

    “I like the new layout, but I miss the genre being listed beneath each review. I used that a lot to determine which reviews I definitely had to read and which ones I could skip. I can’t always tell from the cover what the genre is and there’s some I’m just not interested in at all (for instance I want to read all the M/M but none of the contemporary suspense).”

    And the other comment I was referring to is by Mada.

    I’m also assuming that you’re still in the re-design process i.e. seeing how it shakes down and how people react, so that you can make changes. After all, I’m sure you didn’t want to lose functionality!

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  9. Liz H.
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 03:22:07

    I agree with other commenters that I relied on tags to gain more information about reviews before clicking on them, and I hope that feature returns. I like the new layout in theory- being able to go directly to news or opinion articles especially. However, unless I’m missing something, from the front page you can only click on the last article in that category. You can’t see a list for the category, and the links at the bottom of the article send you to the next/previous article in the blog (which is understandable, and very useful for the blog part of the site).

    As an aesthetic change, the site looks great. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this makes things more naviagable. But maybe the continued changes you mentioned to the News section will fix that? Fingers crossed.

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  10. Holly
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 05:30:20

    I like the format change but not the colors of the links. On my iPad they are a very pale pink and I can’t see it very well – especially in bright lights. Also the table of contents (right side) – white lettering on pale pink – very hard to see. I imagine this would not be friendly to the visually impaired.

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  11. Maria
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 06:11:41

    I thought I’d clicked on the wrong page. It was hard to find anything. It was much easier with the old scroll down method. It’s really unintuitive. The colors are actually hard to read … too pale like the most recent version of Word. It’s like Windows taking away the start button and giving us a start page … Confusing.

    I know no matter what I say this format and coloring will stay but it’s … bland.

    ReplyReply

  12. Maria
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 06:26:43

    @Maria: I just wanted to add that after reading the blog for about 10 mins I had to stop. And my contrast is way down on my laptop, but this is just too bright — too much white and pale pink, and the black font is so large, wide and thin it takes a while to read. You think being large, the black font would be easier, but the problem is it lets in too much of the white background through so it hurts my eyes even more. So yeah, I don’t like struggling with colour when I read so it’s unmanageable for me.

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  13. Holly Bush
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 07:08:06

    Very nice! Attractive and easy for me to read. I’ll do what I do when I’m on SBTN – scroll through the scrolling thingy by clicking the arrow. I’ll skip what I don’t care about and click on what I do. I like that there is more subject matter on the front page.

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  14. Sirius
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 07:23:27

    Logo is so lovely. But yeah I also will need few days to adjust myself to new design – it is very pretty though.

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  15. Tabs
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 07:28:16

    I am having a lot of trouble with the mobile site which is how I primarily read DA. (I’m reading on an iphone 5, if that’s relevant information.)

    The slider bar is on the home page is oversized and can’t be navigated. The “blog” link is easier to navigate but, unless you know where to look for it, it’s extremely difficult to find–which could be a significant barrier for new readers. I also really don’t like that the cover images for each post seem to be sliced in half in the blog format.

    ReplyReply

  16. kara-karina
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 08:05:19

    Fabulous! I adore The Book Smugglers header and this is just as awesome. Amazing work all around!

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  17. CG
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 08:06:10

    The new logo is beautiful. I also hope you bring back tags as they were very useful in deciding whether I wished to read a review. Another thing, the white background is really glaring, my eyes are starting to burn after only a few minutes of perusing the new site.

    ReplyReply

  18. Sandy James
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 08:28:23

    I love the new logo. The new website design, not so much. Could be because I’m simply too much of a creature of habit… I had trouble finding comments, and all the white is a bit much for me. On the positive side, love the scrolling links at the top of the page!!

    ReplyReply

  19. Samantha
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 08:42:03

    I’m going to have to agree with others – the new logo is nice, but I miss the tags, and the bright, high-contrast colour scheme makes it hard for me to read with my messed up retinas. I’ll also be using the /blog feature, because sites with the new style of front page have never worked for me.

    ReplyReply

  20. Imani
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 08:47:06

    I’m viewing the site on my Nexus 7 tab and I loooove it. I dig the little slideshow and the Open Reader Rec thread on the home page. I would appreciate the return of review tags — I used it a lot to find the kind of reviews I want. I will explore some more but so far so good :).

    ReplyReply

  21. Willa
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 08:50:23

    Love the new logo and the fresh clean look – but I have to admit to suffering from snow blindness after a few minutes with all the white! My eyes, my eyes!

    ReplyReply

  22. Imani
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 09:12:10

    A correction to my comment. I saw the tags :D. Perhaps we could have some consistency with the tags, please? I come here for m/m reviews but it is not often used so simply.

    ReplyReply

  23. cleo
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 09:17:28

    Congrats on the successful make-over! I like the new logo. I’m getting used to the new layout. I’ll probably stick with the blog page (that’s what I do at SBTB), but I think the first page is good for newbies – I especially like having the for readers and for authors info right on the home page. I like the new tagline – “By Readers, For Readers” – that should take care of the occasional confusion over the name. I kind of miss having the commenting policy at the comment box, but we probably don’t need it (I know I have it memorized) and I like the commenting policy link at the bottom of every page. The Author Word Cloud page (http://dearauthor.com/author-word-cloud/) isn’t working on my browser (Firefox 26.0 for Mac). I agree that it’d be nice to see the genre as well as the grade on the reviews on the home page and/or blog page.

    Congratulations again – it’s beautiful!

    ReplyReply

  24. Estara Swanberg
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 09:35:23

    @azteclady: Ditto. I hardly ever visit SBTB anymore because of the layout – so I’m very thankful for the option for oldies ^^

    ReplyReply

  25. Li
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 09:38:43

    The logo’s lovely! I was looking forward to seeing what you would do with your redesign – it’s really pretty and fresh.

    Like Cleo said, I also like the By Readers For Readers tagline – I can’t actually remember if it was on your old site or not, but it really stands out on this one.

    ReplyReply

  26. Jody W.
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 10:42:33

    The logo is interesting but the whole site itself is very pallid. I’ll be reading it old-style. And what one commenter said above about the ads really standing out garishly now? Yep. They do, since the rest of the site looks washed out and faded. Hey, maybe that means your advertisers will get more clicks–who knows?

    ReplyReply

  27. Anu
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 10:49:42

    I like the logo, will adapt to the layout, but agree with Jody W. that the colors are quite pallid. The salmon-and-white combination is just ugh – washed out and difficult for the eyes to fix on. Darker, more vivid colors would provide relief and welcome contrast to the white. I’m sticking to the old style out of mercy for my poor eyes.

    ReplyReply

  28. Amanda
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:03:24

    I have never been good with change, but after taking a minute and looking it over I have to say I like it and find it very pretty.

    ReplyReply

  29. Luce
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:04:09

    While I like the redesign (the logo’s cool), I have to chime in with the other commenters who have pointed out how washed out/pale the color scheme looks. It would be great if there was more of a contrast. I’ll be crossing fingers that this will be fixed. I’ll use the old school (old version) alternative til then.

    ReplyReply

  30. Jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:08:35

    We’ll be working on adding a few things, but the color scheme is definitely something that is staying. I asked for this specifically to work with the logo and this is just my aesthetic. I like very clean, streamlined looks with minimal color. My favorite websites are those completely plain ones that are white with black text but I figured that was a bit too harsh for the DA crowd.

    ReplyReply

  31. Jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:10:18

    @HJ: When a comment appears under another comment, those are referred to as nested comments. We don’t employ them here at Dear Author at the request of the majority who find the straight linear set of comments easier to read so that isn’t something that will be fixed as it would generate (or has in the past) a huge uproar.

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  32. Kerry
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:17:22

    Love the new look, including the overall color scheme – very clean and pretty. But I have to chime in about the white-on-pale-salmon menu text. I’m only 44, and I can’t read it AT ALL on iPad or Android phone (the only ways I visit). How about a nice darker maroony color, within the existing pallet, just so it’s readable? Also – bring back the genre tags! :)

    ReplyReply

  33. Kerry
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:20:44

    *palette

    Is there an edit comment feature? I couldn’t find one, and I can’t live with typos. #englishteacher

    ReplyReply

  34. Julie
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:24:40

    I like the new logo, color scheme, and fonts. It’s very readable and has a nice clean look. However, I’ve been accessing the main page via the “/blog” link because I like being able to quickly scroll down the page to see the recent posts and find what interests me, as opposed to having to wait for them to scroll by horizontally. I find that scrolling to be a incredibly inefficient way to display recent posts, and if that were the only way a web site had to find recent posts, I’d stop reading the site (that’s just me, though). Oh, and I did really appreciate the numbered comments that the old layout had. Other than that, though, I do like the changes.

    ReplyReply

  35. Julianna
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:57:32

    I love the new look and the logo is especially clever. I do wish you’d include the genre/tags with the reviews (on the main screen) again, so I don’t click on reviews for genres I’m not looking to read. Or was that the point? Are you trying to trick me into trying new things?!

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  36. leslie
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 12:02:13

    The old site was colorful. Beautiful and unique. New Look? Well it looks like every other site now. Pink and bland.
    Thanks for offering the old school alternative.

    ReplyReply

  37. Sam
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 12:36:40

    I love the new look – from the logo to the colour scheme. I’m a big fan of the minimalist look, and I really like the subtle background textures. Off to explore some links, now!

    ReplyReply

  38. Tessa Dare
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 12:52:19

    I think the new design is lovely. I love the logo, and I have a fondness for clean-looking blogs myself. I am excited to see my round gravitar when this comment posts.

    That said, I have to join the group having readability and eyestrain issues. Is it the reduced contrast of the text? The sans serif font? The abundance of white? I don’t know, but my eyes feel I just had three flash pictures taken. Maybe I’d get used to it.

    tl;dr: I find it very pretty, but harder to read.

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  39. CK
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 13:34:15

    I’m all for the minimalist, clean look, but raising hand on the eyestrain issue and I work/read on the computer 8/10 hours a day everyday. I’ve been here less than 10m and my eyes are toast.

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  40. Lada
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 13:36:27

    I’m a big fan of the new look! I appreciate readers may have some issues regarding eye fatigue but so far I’m not experiencing anything like that. Colorful can be fun but I’m a fan of the more streamlined look. Thanks to DA for continuing to provide great content.

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  41. Jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 13:39:28

    I am concerned about the complaints about eyestrain. Generally speaking high contrast sites result in easier readability. Dear Author’s previous incarnation was a white background with a dark gray text and I believe the contrast ratio between background to text is very similar in this set up so if anyone can pinpoint the eye strain issue it’d be helpful so that we can address this.

    Most major trafficked sites have a high contrast–white background/black text.

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  42. Stacie
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 13:44:39

    @Maria: I totally agree. I thought my contacts were dirty. I’m near sighted with astigmatism and I can barely read this. I thought I was seeing blurry words, but when I leaned in close to the screen I saw that there are fuzzy lines distorting the words. The text is way too light. I may just have to pull the site through Calibre or an RSS reader.

    Final Verdict: I do like the stamp, and I’m glad dear author keeps innovating, but the light colors and fuzzy background are not for me. My eyes hurt.

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  43. theo
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 13:48:06

    Beautiful! Congrats on the new design.

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  44. Sweeney
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 14:00:43

    DA is a daily go to site for me. Thanks, Jane, for the effort put into the new site. I like the logo, but I would prefer to read in blog format. Is that a settings option somewhere? Someone else mentioned this, but when SBTB changed their site my readership dropped dramatically. I like the simplest presentation possible of the post and the blog style does it for me. I like the colours and I do wear glasses and don’t have issues reading the site!

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  45. Jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 14:02:34

    @Sweeney: It’s mentioned in the second to last paragraph

    Finally, for those who are old school, merely bookmark http://dearauthor.com/blog to see a running list of all our posts.

    ReplyReply

  46. Tessa Dare
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 14:13:28

    @Jane: I wish I could be more helpful! I prefer black text on white, generally. But is this black text on white? As someone else said, I have this impression of fuzziness, and my eyes keep trying to make the image focus. Maybe it’s something that only those of us with certain kinds of eyes will experience.

    ReplyReply

  47. jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 14:18:18

    @Tessa Dare: I think the root of the issue is the patterned background, not the font color or the contrast. We’ll see if we can address that.

    ReplyReply

  48. Moriah Jovan
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 14:30:26

    If I may, concerning the readability nobody can pinpoint, this just my opinion:

    The lines of text are too close, the font is too small, it’s sans serif on a minimalist background, it needs to be darker, and the Georgia font was built specifically to combat eyestrain. If I were asked which of those is most important, I would say line height.

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  49. Jill Sorenson
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 14:43:21

    I agree re: very pretty but hard to read. The text in the comment box is light gray on lighter gray. Not just too light, but also maybe too many lines or layers. The background, the pink slanted lines, curvy lines in the logo, ruffled stamp…all nice details but maybe these shapes draw the eye in different directions.

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  50. Maytoo
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 14:47:21

    I like this new look – I obviously have “different eyes”, as I don’t find this fuzzy or a strain. Hopefully you can fix it for the folks that do find it a strain. I would like to see the tags on the reviews without having to open them.
    One question – have you dropped your affiliation to All Romance Ebooks? I always used to go through your site to get there, but now the link has disappeared.

    ReplyReply

  51. erinf1
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 15:09:53

    love it! It’s pretty and functional :) Congrats!

    ReplyReply

  52. Cate
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 15:30:25

    Jane, I really like the new logo, and I’m normally all for clean lines etc,etc, but for me the terracotta-ish pink is too bland,and the text is not an easy read…I’ve had to take my spec’s off , & put my tablet to my nose to read comfortably……sorry.

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  53. Lisa
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 15:43:43

    I also find this difficult to read. I would prefer darker text and less stark white. I appreciate what the layout and logo are going for, but none of it works for me.

    ReplyReply

  54. Samantha
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 15:47:22

    The text is a little light when I read the site on my laptop but it looks really good on the mobile site when I use my iPhone, very crisp and easy to read. The new logo is beautiful!

    ReplyReply

  55. library addict
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 15:48:33

    Is there a list somewhere of the HTML tags we can use at DA? I can remember blockquote and em for italics, but I never realized how much I used that little list that used to be on top of the comments block.

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  56. azteclady
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 15:49:11

    I am not sure how to describe the issue except “not enough contrast”–the pink is so light (for me) it’s barely readable, and the black text (is it truly black? it looks grayish to me) is too thin, there’s so much white coming through the text, it makes my eyes tired.

    And I really want all the tags back, if at all possible.

    ReplyReply

  57. cleo
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 16:20:54

    For those who mentioned not liking the SBTB homepage, here’s a link to their blog page, which has a more old school blog style layout – http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog

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  58. hapax
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 17:04:25

    It is very pretty looking, and the new logo is terrific, but the layout of the frontpage drives me bonkers. The slider dominates the screen, but doesn’t really offer useful information; I find it very confusing to find the most recent posts. I’ll most likely change my bookmark to the “blog” screen.

    But I’m an old fogey, and I hate practically every new trend in website design. You should have heard me gripe about the overhaul of our library’s website.

    (Of course, every potential glitch I pointed to eventually caused problems….)

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  59. hapax
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 17:14:20

    Oh, and please bring pack the comment numbering!

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  60. KatieF
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 17:57:51

    Will there be a new favicon to match the new design?

    ReplyReply

  61. Shel
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 17:59:37

    Very pretty logo. I also prefer straight blog format to magazine format when browsing. But for newbies, it will probably be easier to see the content categories.

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  62. Jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 18:43:45

    We’ve removed the background which I think may have caused some readability issues.

    @KatieF: Yes, it’s been uploaded so hopefully it will start showing up soon.

    ReplyReply

  63. Vi
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 18:46:05

    I am old school. Thanks for the link so I can bookmark it.

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  64. hapax
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 19:15:29

    @Jane: MUCH easier to read! Thank you!

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  65. Maria
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 20:06:13

    @Stacie: My vision is darn near perfect for my advancing years. :) I went to an optometrist for a regular check up and after I read a sign down the other end of the street from his office, plus picked out nearly all the letters he showed me, he declared all was good.

    So my eyesight has no problems and I find reading this site hard. Even typing in the comments is difficult. The font here is pale gray and the background is paler gray. The issue with reading with the white on pink is because the black font isn’t dark enough. The pink isn’t dark enough. The font is too large and lets in too much of the white glare. So it’s white, light black font, and light pink.

    What is comes down to is usability. People’s bias clouds the issue, when they need to take a step back and consider if people can simply use the site.

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  66. Luce
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 20:15:35

    @Maria:

    “The issue with reading with the white on pink is because the black font isn’t dark enough. The pink isn’t dark enough. The font is too large and lets in too much of the white glare. So it’s white, light black font, and light pink. ”

    *nods* Thank you for explaining what I kept thinking as “not enough contrast”.

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  67. Jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 21:03:05

    @Maria: I appreciate your comments but what some of you have deemed pink does not look pink on my screen or many others. Everyone’s monitor shows a slightly different shade due to contrast settings.

    While I understand and am listening to the complaints, it’s important to note that the design was a) just launched b) it is a Sunday and c) changes cannot be made immediately particularly ones that involve large scale overhauls.

    If you are referring to my “personal bias”, then yes, I choose this cleaner, minimalistic design for many reasons including readability based upon my own favorite sites. The color scheme is based on the logo itself. Obviously, readability and usability is important to me which is why the site is redesigned to both provide more information to new users (over 50% of DA’s daily traffic is from new users) and to maintain familiarity for existing users (hence keeping the blog format).

    To me (and for many others) the site is not difficult to read. I do understand that there are some who find it challenging and we will try (and have tried) to address those issues.

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  68. Maria
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 21:22:14

    @Jane: I honestly don’t expect any changes at all. Truly, that’s just my experience talking because people will have whatever they want. I can’t read it as it hurts my eyes too much. I spend a lot of my time looking at a computer screen, and after 10 mins with the pale background, pale pink and light grey font, I have to rub my eyes. They hurt. Just visit Facebook after this page and see how the blues in Facebook are restful for the eyes. The font is thin but darker etc. The reason I mentioned bias is because it’s easy to say, that’s just what I like, and that’s what I read, so that’s what you get, rather than thinking, okay, how does everyone else cope with this, especially the people who use the site? I think ‘use’ is a key word here. I see this a lot in new software as well. Changes are made and most of the time I adapt quickly, unless it’s unintuitive. In this case, it hurts. It isn’t usable. Take Windows 8 for example. Some people love it, some hate it. They made a new look for a reason, but is it usable? Did they get the people who actually use the software to test it out–the people who aren’t computer geniuses? The people who bought the product because it was so easy to use? I have a headache after using this site. I’m sorry to say that, truly. *Shrugs* It’s my problem, and I’m not expecting any changes at all.

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  69. Jane
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 21:25:34

    @Maria: I’m not sure what gives you the idea that I don’t listen to people or that I’m unconcerned about the usability of this site.

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  70. Ducky
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 21:31:00

    I find the new design harder to read because of so much white in the background. Also not a fan of the salmon color. No doubt I will get used to it.

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  71. azteclady
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 22:28:10

    I see the tags now (sorry, I must have not paid enough attention last time I checked).

    I would second/third/whatever whomever asked for comment numbers to be brought back, makes it easier when trying to refer back through the non-nested (which I personally prefer too) comment threads.

    Thank you for listening to our griping, Jane.

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  72. Kaetrin
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 22:44:18

    I’m not seeing any pale grey at all. The font looks like a really dark grey to me (almost but not quite black) and the links are a dark salmon pink colour (which stands out fairly well from the background) and the background looks like a very very pale pink-y white colour. I have found it easier to read since patterned background was changed to solid – but I haven’t seen any pale grey at all.

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  73. Ridley
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 22:44:19

    If my opinion counts for anything, I think greater line height would fix the readability. I changed it in my CSS editor just to see and it made a big difference.

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  74. Sirius
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 23:07:40

    I am not seeing any pale grey either – on iPad at least I am seeing what Kaetrin does now. However the links initially did look very pale pink to me. Maybe change of the background indeed made the difference, I don’t know.

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  75. Mzcue
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 23:11:38

    I went to check the quality of the type in Internet Explorer, just to see if it differed from what I’m seeing on Firefox/Mozilla. Indeed, there is some sort of pixilizing happening that is more noticeable on IE. It’s especially marked in places where the font is larger. I can see it most clearly on the capital Bs in various titles.

    My hunch is that some people’s screens may be more forgiving than others. I’m using a middle-of-the-pack Dell laptop, Inspiron 15, if that is any help for comparison’s sake. I’m finding the contrast to be acceptable, but the typeface issue could become tedious.

    If the size alone of the font is problematic for any readers, they can of course adjust it by using either the plus or minus sign in their browser tool bars, or the shortcut key combination, Ctrl together with the plus sign on the keyboard.

    Most computers will also allow users to dim brightness if they find the contrast uncomfortable. Never a problem for me, since the higher the contrast, the more readable seems to me.

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  76. Meljean
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 00:28:26

    I’m not having any issues with the white and I really love the overall look, but for those who are having some trouble, Ridley’s suggestion will probably help — a slight adjustment to the line height (larger) will probably reduce some of the eyestrain. The font has a high x-height, which means that there doesn’t appear to be much space between the lines. So paragraph blocks can seem really dense while reading and that contributes to eyestrain.

    Not that anyone at DA ever writes long paragraphs in either the posts or the comments. :-D

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  77. kbum
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 04:19:16

    i read DA entirely on my ipad.

    with the revamped website, i canot see any of the reviewed authors listed in any shape or form and ipads do not have the cntl/cmd + F option to find authors (unless there isbut i dont know how to use this?)

    i prefer minimal clicks to get around a website, having to click, then mor e clicks and ssearches just slow searches down., and makes me pull my hair out.

    i really liked to browse the list of reviewed authors cloud list – i hope you are able to retain that feature., as a one click-and-glance feature.

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  78. ms bookjunkie
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 04:29:25

    It’s a little thing, but I really miss the reassuring “(will not be shared)” next to “Your Email” when leaving a reply.

    And numbered comments. I always miss numbered comments.

    Thank you for the old-skool blog format for those of us set in out ways! :)

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  79. Char
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 05:31:38

    I think the problem is the link and date colors is just too light on my screen it’s a very light peach color I would darken it to a rusty brown or sepia color. The text color is not a true black it’s a off black according to my hex code picker. I think making it true black would fix the eye strain and it would sharpen the text and keep from blurring when people with less than perfect eyesight view the page. I love the clean look and the layout and the new logo. I think it would be very simple to fix the readability issue by changing just those two things.

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  80. Jessica
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 07:37:41

    I love your new layout and logo; they are beautiful!

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  81. CG
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 07:44:57

    After perusing other blogs that I find easier on the eyes I’ve come to the conclusion that for me the issue is all the white (light gray?) space in the background. I’ve notice that blogs like SBTB have margins (for lack of a better word) that are a darker color and I think this cuts down on eyestrain. Right now it’s like looking into a field of white with nothing to break up/cut down the glare.

    Also, I second the motion to bring back numbered comments as they are very useful when returning to a comment thread and finding where you left off.

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  82. Jia
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 08:10:12

    For those who are having trouble with the font itself (not the color scheme or the background but the font) and Ridley’s suggestion about increasing the line height doesn’t help, Mzcue’s reminder about using ctrl+ to increase the font size in the browse did the trick.

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  83. Aoife
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 08:25:16

    I love the look of the new website, although it is going to take me a while to get the hang of finding my way around it. I’m a creature of habit. I really like the soft salmon color, too.

    My eyes are terrible, and I am having no trouble with the font style or the contrast between the background and the font color. What I would really appreciate, as others have commented, is having comments numbered. It makes it much easier to keep track of long threads.

    Congratulations on the beautiful new design!

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  84. Barbara
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 08:29:34

    I like the new look of the website as it is much more up-to-date and easier to navigate. I do agree with others that it seems a little “light” in color. I just checked on my work laptop and then on my second monitor and there is definitely differences. Adjusting contrast helped.

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  85. Kimberly James
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 09:03:11

    Love the new look! I also enjoy the simplicity and pale colors.

    Thanks for the blog option as that will be the way I’ll be reading the site. Didn’t realize I was so old school.

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  86. Samantha A
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 09:22:01

    I don’t mind the change in design. I don’t love it, but it’s not my site, so I don’t have to. I’d learn to live with it (thank goodness for the blog feature otherwise I’d never find what I wanted to read on it). But the new color scheme is probably going to keep me from reading the site any longer. This morning was my first time checking out the new site and by the time I read through the comment string my eyes were hurting and a raging headache started. So while I love checking in here daily, usually several times, I’ll probably rarely be back.

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  87. Karenmc
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 10:05:16

    I like the new clean look, and really appreciate the changes that have been made over the first twenty-four hours (the original salmon-colored dates in the comments were nearly impossible to read, especially on an iPad). I just took a look at the site on my iPhone, and, when viewing horizontally, the fonts are large and crisp. I also opened the site in both Firefox and Safari on my iMac and noticed a subtle difference between the two (Firefox was easier on my eyes).

    That said, I’m not a fan of the format. Today’s news wasn’t sitting on the homepage, and it was mildly annoying to have to go looking for it. For that reason alone I’ve bookmarked the blog. I’m also in the please-number-the-comments camp.

    Thanks, Jane, for being responsive to the concerns of old fogies with failing eyes.

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  88. Annette
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 11:29:40

    Very pretty! I think the site is already improved from yesterday (you work fast!) in terms of eyestrain/readability. I’m not a big fan of the scrolling topics, but at least there is that little clicker thing right below it so we can back up or skip forward or whatever. I didn’t see that yesterday, so if it’s new, thanks for that. The only things I really miss now have to do with numbering comments – both the total number at the top of the post, as well as numbering each comment. Makes going back to an interesting discussion much more efficient. Good luck with the rest of this roll-out!

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  89. Kaetrin
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 18:44:09

    I think the changes made in the last 24-48 hours have made the site look even better (and I liked it to start with). I’m not having any trouble reading it and I like the darker border. It still looks clean and minimalist and the colour scheme works for me.

    I really like the way you have incorporated the feedback from commenters into the theme without compromising your goal of clean and minimal.

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  90. Susana
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 21:24:31

    I really like the minimalist layout.

    However, I am not a fan of the carousel on the front page. While the carousel is flashy and looks pretty, it does not enhance usability. In fact, there are known usability issues on mobile devices with carousels. (Relevant site: http://shouldiuseacarousel.com). I dislike websites with carousels so much that it deters me from visiting them. Fortunately, I can bypass the carousel by going to the blog.

    Since comments are not nested, I really would like the comment numbers to come back, even if it was a really faint number in the background.

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  91. Sabrina
    Feb 03, 2014 @ 21:30:43

    Somone made a comment about the site being harder to read in IE 9. I opened it in Chrome, and wow, what a difference. In Chrome, the text is sharper and I swear it’s even a little darker too. So part of the trouble for some of us might just be Internet Explorer being crappy.

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  92. Laurie
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 07:17:04

    The new logo is really lovely. But like many other commenters, I too am having a problem with readability. I am using IE on a desktop and the text appears to be a pale grey. Perhaps it is the sans serif font. I remember hearing in a university class that if you don’t want someone to read something you should use a sans serif font. Something about the eyes just not paying attention to it.

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  93. Benham
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 11:02:48

    I’m only reading the site today, feb 4th so I’m unaware what changes were made from the first version that was put out. Obviously this is just my opinion, but I find this new color scheme extremely bland and boring. The pale salmon and dark taupe color scheme is unexciting to say the least and offers low contrast. I’m also a fan of minimalist, but there’s a line between that and plain washed out. I prefer SBTB with it’s more colorful outer columns, darker pink background and the the black text on white background. It makes it such a treat to read and peruse. It’s easy to focus and navigate, and the numbered comments are useful. There’s so much pale background here it’s not the best reading experience. I know change is always a challenge, but I really really prefer the older version, so I will be using that. The peachy colouring here makes it look a lot more feminine, which isn’t a bad thing, I realize this is a matter of taste, but I felt that the green gave it a bit of an edge. I know this site is mainly oriented to the romance genre but now it really feels that way, if you know what I mean, with all the light pinkishness. Whatever, obviously Jane’s taste is the only one that matters.

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  94. Robin/Janet
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 11:56:50

    I’m on Safari and don’t have any readability issues; I’ve also opened it in Chrome, and it looks pretty comparable there. I do like the way the colors have been darkened up a bit, though, and am also really glad that there’s the blog option, since I’m still switching back and forth between the two formats (what can I say – change is hard!).

    @Benham: Just FYI, Dear Author used to have a largely pink theme (I see this color as more orange than pink, and the font more brown than gray, at least on my monitor), and when the site design was changed to the blue/gray color scheme, many readers protested, preferring the pink. So, you know, chacun à son goût, and all.

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  95. Janine
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 13:09:51

    @Robin/Janet: I think we had another theme in between the pink/red and blue/gray — there was a red/green one, wasn’t there? I remember it because it was my least favorite.

    The original site had a white background with pink and red header and accents. That one had a letter, envelope and stamp as part of the log, too. I was very fond of it (maybe because those days were so much fun?) and I like the way this one hearkens to it — but different strokes, and all that.

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  96. Ann F.
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 14:02:18

    I think the new layout and colors are lovely. It all looks clean and sharp on my various screens and I’m not having any of the low contrast/ readability issues other readers mentioned. I also really like the new layout. It’s great to have reviews, deal, and opinions all separated by category. I only check the site once or twice a week so it’s easier for me to find what I’m looking for rather than scrolling down…down…down….. Well done!

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  97. Jane
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 14:56:44

    Thanks for the feedback. We’ve made a lot of changes including removing the background, darkening the font, changing the font and darkening the “peach” (not pink) tones of the highlights as well as adding a few darker elements.

    We probably won’t make any other changes and we hope that the new site grows on you. If not, definitely feel free to pull the site through an RSS feed or whatever works best.

    As for comments, I don’t see a way to bring back numbering with the site, but I am totally willing to turn on threaded comments. It’d be easier, allow me to cut down on two plugins (plugins all cause the site to slow down), and I’d be using more wordpress integrated features. Up to you commenters, really.

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  98. Marumae
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 17:51:24

    I am loving this look, the gentle creams and pinks, it’s bright and soothing to me. :). Love it!

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  99. library addict
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 18:55:15

    As for comments, I don’t see a way to bring back numbering with the site, but I am totally willing to turn on threaded comments. It’d be easier, allow me to cut down on two plugins (plugins all cause the site to slow down), and I’d be using more wordpress integrated features. Up to you commenters, really.

    Please NO to threaded comments. The numbers made it super convenient to pick up reading new comments where one left off, but it’s easy enough to scroll and find that. With threaded comments you have to reread/skim the entire thing and try to pick out what’s new. Threaded comments are horrid IMO.

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  100. hapax
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 19:14:37

    I do appreciate the many changes you have made. It’s no longer difficult to read, either for a quick skim or a longer peruse, and I am impressed with the gracious way you have responded to comments / complaints.

    Ah well, I shall miss the numbered comments, but they were only important with much longer threads than usual. Please, I beg of you, NO! nested comments!

    (Also, since nobody else has mentioned it, I really like the way that news posts will now jump to the previous / next post, no matter the category; on the old site, you could only jump from news post to news post, and that always rather bugged me)

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  101. Jia
    Feb 05, 2014 @ 06:06:41

    Given how long some of the comment threads get, I think nested comments wouldn’t be a good idea. You’d be jumping around all the time, trying to figure out which comments were new!

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  102. Zara
    Feb 06, 2014 @ 22:20:34

    Five days! I don’t check in for five days, and WOW! From what I can tell, most of the concerns regarding readability and formatting were resolved, yes? I really like the color scheme, greatly appreciate you kept the blog style for those of us resistant to website changes (yep, that would be me), and the new logo is perfect. I think it’s fabulous.

    And I’ll add my two cents about threaded comments: I dislike it. I think threads can turn ugly in a way that non threaded commentary doesn’t, and I like how people respond back in forth here in comments.

    I noticed (or maybe it’s my iPad?), the author cloud is missing. I liked it.

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  103. Mzcue
    Feb 06, 2014 @ 22:50:36

    @Zara- Author cloud is gone for me, too. I’m accessing the site on Firefox/Mozilla via my laptop, for whatever that adds to the discussion. I’m also unable to see the feature on the top of the page that I think someone called a carousel. I have no problem viewing what I think is the same thing on SBTB, so it is confusing. Nevertheless, the blog version seems to be there for me 100%, so it’s not a big deal.

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  104. Mzcue
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 09:02:22

    Hey—hooray! As of this morning, I was able to enjoy the whole DearAuthor first page. The “carousel” feature is working just fine. Now I can switch from the blog format to the new look without missing any features. Thanks very much for ironing out the glitch. Go Dear Author!

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  105. azteclady
    Feb 11, 2014 @ 14:34:49

    I know this is pretty late, but adding my voice to NO threaded comments–it makes reading long threads a nightmare.

    Thank you for all you do, Jane.

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