I've spent the past few days redesigning Watermark (again), before I read Top 10 Ways to Uglify Your Blog. As it happens, I did some of what Christian would advise, but not all -- and not always for his reasons.
I love 80x15 blog buttons, and tag clouds. I think the buttons are fun, and I find tag clouds (not, as he states, organized radomly, but by frequency, and/ or alphabetically) easy to navigate. However, I don't have ads, and my photo is only on the About page. Feed buttons are nicely coordinated with everything else, and there is only one for each feed. I had already reached the conclusion that if you use a social bookmarking site, you don't need me to give you a button for it -- fond of buttons though I am.
I felt like a doing a good clear-out, and hoped to make the site quicker to load. Most of the buttons have been changed to text, and since I know some folks come here just to get buttons, I made a whole new site for them: Milieux. A new place for toys and play -- a truly ugly blog by Christian's standards.
Much of the sidebar content is now in expand/ collapse boxes. I found the script for this at flooble [BEWARE: many loud and obnoxious popups!] via someplace I've lost track of -- if you think it might be you, let me know and I'll add a link to this post. This script works in a TypePad typelist, even if you don't use advanced templates. At least, I think it works; I've tested it in Firefox, both Mac and Windows; Safari; and IE on Windows.
The sidebar certainly looks cleaner. The question is, does this speed loading, or have I just traded the time it takes to load images for the time it takes to load scripts? Do these boxes improve or inhibit usability?
Also, there is some problem with the Rings code; it breaks the template in IE, in or out of an expandable box -- so it's at the bottom of the sidebar until I can figure out what's wrong. Even though I'm a member of PowderPuff Geeks, I'm really not a geek; I just play one on the internet.
What do you think -- have I improved things, or made them worse?
[ADDED later: Oh, wait! My photo is up there on the banner. Forgot about that...]