The new black — Syrup & Tang has new clothes


Gourmands and gourmets, look at me! After a month of rest and relaxation slaving over CSS and HTML and swearing at Photoshop, Syrup & Tang has a very new look. Less pastel and more Melbourne-style black. {For aliens, Melbourne is often said in Australia to be the home of people dressed in black all year round.}

As you’ll have noticed from the front page, a number of things have been reorganised. Here’s a list of the major changes:

  • I wanted to have a slightly more magazine-style layout and increase the visibility of older posts. Recent items are now shown in a ‘Ripe’ column, while popular or interesting older items are in a ‘Preserved’ column. The most recent article has a larger feature box.
  • The sidebar now contains a special section called ‘World News, Views, Chews’. Here you’ll see a diversity of morsels that I gather from my readings and surfings, including interesting or amusing news items, products or other stimulants of discussion. You can click through to read and discuss as normal — they are normal posts that will be part of the RSS/Email feed and can be viewed as normal articles, but they will not appear in the main part of the front page.
  • A tighter banner design was necessary to permit a little more open space on the front page.

You’ll notice a number of other aesthetic modifications. I hope most people like the new look!

If you have any problems with the display of pages or notice any malfunctions, please leave a comment or contact me directly. As always, I must nag people who use Internet Explorer 6 to upgrade/defect/do something!


After all this hard work, I think I need a little bit of chocolate to help me sleep at night. I blame all the IE6 users who cause me so much sleeplessness 😛


21 thoughts on “The new black — Syrup & Tang has new clothes”

  1. Wow, look at you! Look at you! 😀 I reckon the main window could be bigger, or it’s hard to know where to look.

  2. Thaaaaanks! Now, Y, when you say the ‘main window’ do you mean the feature (‘Fresh’) article on the front page?

  3. It does look good, I’m a bit partial to black templates…if I can offer a bit of feedback, I’m still not a huge fan of the background image behind this grey panel, perhaps something less pixellated?

  4. Duncan, here’s my opinion. I really like the new header, much tighter and easier to see where things are. I usually don’t like black websites but yours is ok. I just hate reading coloured text on a black background, but this middle grey part helps solve that problem. As I said last time, I still think the background image is too colourful and distracting, but that’s just my opinion. It’s your site and if you like it, definitely keep it.

    But I do like most of the contents of your blog.

    And how big is that chocolate? 10kg? Or have you become really good with Photoshop and that’s just a regular chocolate bar? 🙂

  5. @Ellie: I’m not quite sure what you mean by pixellated in this context (usually would mean a digital image breaking up into visible squares of single colours)… it certainly shouldn’t be appearing in pixellated form except on quite old monitors (as they would usually show a maximum of a few thousand colours). Is it just too busy visually for you? If you want to email me a screenshot of the effect you’re concerned about I can send you my email address.

    My site testers split about 70:30 in favour of the background image, though I’m aware some unfortunately don’t like it. One of those cases where my own love of it makes me choose to keep it. 🙂

    @Thanh: it’s a meagre 5kg… no Photoshop:) Very tasty, though I would probably dislocate my jaw if I tried to chew on it. It’s 4cm thick.

    I am glad people haven’t reacted very badly to the dark background + light text. It was a big step, but one which I thought made things crisper, so to speak.

    No reports of technical difficulties so far… phew.

  6. Yes, sorry, the “fresh” bit. I think I know what Ellie means about the image. Maybe it’s been enlarged so much that there’s quite a lot of ‘noise’ in the image, and so maybe jars a little with the sharpness of the rest of your site’s look.

  7. There’ll be a strong difference depending on whether one looks at the left half or the right half of the background pic — the lefthand teaglass is in focus and the right one isn’t. When the image is flipped, people find the sharper image too distracting on the right because of the intricate detail… no joy in this image (other than me liking it… hehe).

    Users of IE6 (don’t get me started) will see much more of the whiter part of the picture because IE6 mislocates it on the page.

    I’ll test one or two ways to make the featured article more conspicuous.

  8. Wow Duncan… why am I paying someone in the States to overview my site when someone better just lives over the other side of the city. Perhaps you should add blog design to your cv!
    Black is forever a fashionable classic.
    BTW I love the citrus and the little attention to detail bits like the scripty writing in your title sliping down into the content as it scrolls and the background image scrolling, and the top bar not… people do notice these things!
    Thanks for taking the acceptable blog standard up a notch or six, makes my basic blog look… :(… very amateur! 🙂
    Well done!
    NB did you get my return email??

  9. Welcome back Vida and thanks:)

    I’m very grateful for your comments Jack. As the neck stiffens and the elbow aches after juggling all these graphical tweaks, you always hope people notice:)

  10. Brilliant, very Melbourne indeed and of course I love Melbourne it’s my favorite Australian city. Love the new header. It is all very groooooovy baby 🙂

    Because of you I did upgrade to Internet Explorer 7, look what kind of influence you have on me. Happy Now?

  11. I’m glad I wield such power, Amelita:) And just think, your pc is now safer and my website is prettier on it too:)

    I just wish it were easier to bite into it. I have to use a chisel instead… much less fulfilling.

  12. It’s rather warm in Melbourne tonight… the chocolate has taken on the consistency of a petit comté and cuts well with a cheese knife… I’m feeling slightly bloated.

  13. Not to sound like an arse, but I’m aware of what pixellation means. The tea glass may be in focus, but since the image is being displayed at (I assume) 100%, the out of focus area appears pixellated:

    Yeah, it does look like the image also has some noise at this size but that doesn’t bother me much at all…anyway, as Thanh put it, it’s your site and if it works for you then it works, right? 🙂

    (Would’ve emailed you directly but all I could find was that form…)

  14. Ellie, I invited you to tell me if you wanted to send me a pic and I would send you my email address. To call what you’re seeing ‘extremely visible pixellation’ seems to me an exaggeration. I guess you’re more sensitive than most to compression artefacts.

  15. Duncan, apologies cap, I completely missed that bit of the reply – my brain is still adjusting to voluntary 6am wakeups and so I blame my daft head for that! You’re also quite right, I spent over two years at my last job looking over images for the slightest imperfections before they went to print so things that may not bug others seem to punch me in the face. Apologies again for misreading the comment – I totally didn’t mean to offend 🙁

  16. Hi Duncan, without any IT background the out of focus/in focus sections of the background work for me; they are stylistically different and because the eyes don’t like the slight blurring they slide past that panel and concentrate on the articles.:)

Comments are closed.