So, What do You Think?

As some of you have already noticed, we’re working on some changes here!

New background, new look, all in the hopes of making the site easier to navigate. The intent was also to blend the original look of the site (which was chocolate brown, in case you don’t recall) with the second template, which was white with those fun blue dots swirling down the side.

I understand not everyone’s going to love this, but change is good! And we’ve been working on this for a while. This was something I’d hope to unveil in 2008, and we have finally been able to make the site look the way I wanted it to. Easy to find tabs at the top of the page. Less clutter. More room for words, photos, and video.

This isn’t yet set in stone, and I’d love to hear your honest and helpful feedback. For example, one reader asked for darker, easier-to-see font, and we’ve already figured out how to fix that. There are some things we CAN fix (like font color) and others we can’t (like where the number of comments appears. It’s going to be at the top, not at the bottom now).

We’d appreciate any constructive criticism or advice you may have. I say “we,” because all I can do is direct, ask questions, and make suggestions. My husband’s figuring out the back end changes as we go along. So if any of you techie bellas have suggestions, please let us know!

What do you think of the new look?

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Comments

  1. I think it is very clean and spacious. I think the only thing I would recommend, is perhaps making the font a bit bigger? I know, I say that because I am a glasses wearer, but I think perhaps a font just a tad larger would do it. Otherwise than that, I like it! :)

  2. I love it! Right before I checked the website for updates (I check almost ten times a day lol) I thought she may change the layout to compliment her other life changes and low and behold, you did! I love it, looks clean and very user-friendly.

  3. I like it overall. I think the chocolate background is a bit muted for someone as vivacious as you. But I can live with it because there are hints of color blend well. And I do like the overall design with the tabs.

    I’d like to see Recent Posts and Catagories much higher but I know you probably have to do what you have to do :)

    The only suggestions I would make are that the header gets lost with that ad above it. They shouldn’t be the same size. Your logo is too beautiful to compete with Verizon. Unless they are making it SO worth your while, send them elsewhere.

    I agree. Font could be a bit bigger. Could be hard to read, particularly on your lengthier posts.

    I’m on the verge of a redesign as well. Wishing I had a design guru s/o. Easier to barter ;o)

  4. I really like your new setup Bella. The boarder is nice the colors blend well with your logo. Instead a brown back ground, maybe a brunt orange or yellowish color would be a better fit to your spunky personality.

    Your page loads much faster now. :)

  5. It looks great! Keep up the good work!!!

  6. Hey Bella! Overall, I’m digging the new look. It’s streamlined and cleaner than the old look. The tabs make it easier to navigate too.

    But my suggestions are to make your header the width of the body of the page to ground it a little bit more. Also, your beautiful afro lady logo oughta be more prominent on the site. One thing I did dig on your old site was how she held down that upper left corner.

    Thats bout all I got. Thumbs up on the upgrade though.

  7. I love the new setup/structure! Very streamline, very professional and chic.

    The chocolate brown is very nice as a background color but I think the page overall needs a bit more color. I’m a relatively new follower and I’m used to afrobella using bright, fun colors, lol. Perhaps each tab could be a different color (like the greens, blues, and golden shades in the header). And I must agree with the others, the header is just a tad small. We can barely see your beautiful afrobella logo (that I love so much!).

    Thank you for sharing this with us and welcoming our opinions!

  8. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    It looks great Bella,and hubby.I would not change a thing.Now when I misspell words it won’t be as noticeable,because everything looks so neat.

  9. I like the new layout, it’s so fresh, so clean! Just two (hopefully helpful) comments: I agree with Luvvie about the header — making it the width of the body of the page and somehow integrating it into the design more so it’s not just a stand-alone banner on top. Oh and please, please, please make the font a bit bigger. It’s very difficult to read at this size; getting through even this short post literally gave me a headache. Other than that it’s looking good, and I know you’ll keep serving us up great content.

  10. Bellas, thank you for the constructive criticism! We’ll work on font size and “adding more color” today. Not sure how we’ll add more color, but I’ll ask the husband to come up with something!

    We had issues with the header — full disclosure, no shame in my game — I am with the Glam Network and need to have a banner ad up there somewhere as per my contract. Hey, a blogger’s gotta pay the bills (especially now that I’m about to be a full time blogger for a bit!). But I’ll work on making the logo more prominent. She is too lovely to be reduced in size. She deserves to be proudly displayed, I agree!

    I’ve gotten some comments thus far that haven’t helped much, like “please go back to the original look.” That isn’t in the cards, and this new look is part of some of the changes I needed to implement to take Afrobella to the next level.

    THANK YOU for making me feel more assured in my decision!

  11. Luvvie’s comments have taken the words right out of my mouth. Cleaner navigation is a great thing and I like the rich, chocolate brown! Right now your header is a little bit lost compared to before. Is there a way for you to make the beautiful Afrobella logo more prominent? Perhaps incorporating the blue and green swirl of dots directly onto the chocolate background, rather than within the white band?

  12. i like it. the font is clean and smaller. only thing is the background isn’t so much chocolate brown as it is just brown, maybe a nicer brown?. maybe its my computer tho lol. i like it :) you’re right, change is good

  13. Love it! Very user friendly and somehow I think it downloaded much faster

  14. Love it. I agree that the header and font should be larger. I’m not 15 anymore. My eyesight needs all the help it can get.

    And it would be good if you could left align the bullets for the Archives and Blog Roll. Right now they look a little drunk and confused.

    But all in all, LOVE IT! Well done.

  15. It’s nice but the background I think should be a bit more colourful make it pop and the font slight bigger . Other than that it looks great.

  16. i am loving it!! easier to navigate and pretty

  17. I love it, the simplicity is refreshing :)

  18. Wow!! Very organized and easy to navigate! I like it!

  19. Hi bella -
    I love the new site, but I ditto what others have said before – your page headline should be larger – more prominent, and I also miss the Bella at the top left of the page, also MORE color!!! The brown background is nice and some other bright colors would really pop with this background.

  20. This looks really good!

    I think you should take advantage of the background in the Afrobella banner and use it as the background for the page instead of one solid color. It’s got the movement and the vibrancy the page needs. You’ll then be able to make the logo, title and kicker as big as you want them to be. And those elements should definitely dwarf banner ads.

    If you can’t tell, I like color everywhere and I think each tab at the top of the page should have a color say, brown for Home, the really pretty green in your banner for About Afrobella, aqua for the FAQ, and maybe the orange from your logo for Awards, Etc., or some variation thereof. Then when you click on the tab, the white box that contains the text can have a thick frame around it in the same color as the tab and the color would extend out from that tab. That way you get to integrate even more color but it’s still consistent with your design.

    Does any of that make sense?

  21. I’m sorry I don’t like it. The brown is great but everything looks squashed in the middle. You’ve also lost that “a-ha” impact when the reader’s eye is immediately drawn to the prominent Bella logo on the left. Now the left (and right) columns are just wasted space. I do like how you’ve changed the letters on the Afrobella header – it might work better if it were bigger.

    Also its a lot more difficult on the eye for the reader because the text is squashed at the center. I think you run the risk of losing readers when the appearance is so busy. I personally avoid blogs where the font is too small or busy on the eye.

    I also agree that the comments make more sense at the end, not at the beginning.

    The color combination of brown and teal is one of my favorites -that’s definitely an attractive change.

  22. Also, I know you need to have the advertiser’s banner prominently displayed but does it have to be first? It would make more sense if the Afrobella logo was on top (and definitely larger than the ad).

  23. i like afrobella banner. beautiful. only critique is the brown could do with being 1 or 2 shades lighter. but overall it goes well together.

    ditto the advert above the afrobella title. solution make the afrobella double the size

  24. I like the overall look. It’s a lot easier to navigate. I would consider formatting your Archives and blog Links for left justification, just like your Categories. It makes your eyes less jumpy.

  25. Natural Hair Product Researcher says:

    I think the website is fine. However, it looks like many other websites.

    What I liked about coming to Afrobella was that it was different and exciting*. Somehow, the different and exciting should be included in with this new setup.

    You are dynamic and your website should reflect that…

    *different and exciting, I am defining as: pops of color, personal style, original display.

  26. ESTEBAN AGOSTO REID says:

    FUNCTIONALISM TRUMPS AESTHETICS!! Looks good! Love it!! Nuff respect!!

  27. Change is good!

  28. sandra G. says:

    I like it but have a suggestion. Somehow the words in the title of the posts get lost. I’m not sure what it is; but I don’t think the background to the post title should be dark brown;it’s easy to scrollo right pass the titles. And I think the dark brown around the white post area is maybe too dark; it lends a more somber mood. But as far as spacing of the content and infrastructure I love it.
    Also, I’m glad you’re changing. Have you noticed that Oprah and talk show hosts change their sets, colors and designs once a year to keep things “fresh”. I really think you’re onto something good here. Just work on trying different color masts and title backgrounds.

  29. SlumBeautiful says:

    I don’t like that the ad trumphs your banner at the heading. I do like that it is simplistic and easy to navigate but I have to agree with the comment that Natural Hair Product Researcher made. Also not to fancy about the comments being at the top now, but I’m sure I will get used to it. Keep up the good work…!!

  30. SlumBeautiful says:

    *trumps

  31. I love the new look. It’s elegant, clean and beautiful.

  32. ana julia says:

    I like the new layout,it’s wonderful and I love your site!!
    kisses from brazil

  33. I love it. I would make the font a bit bigger, but other than that, the page is great!

  34. Love it! Good luck with your move!

  35. I love it! pretty design and colors

  36. looks good. very clean and a lot easier to navigate. may I suggest a category cloud vs a category list.. it will help it bring up some of the other items in your sidebar. maybe eventually you’ll change the colors just a bit to pop out more but if not that’s fine too :D

  37. oh I hit send too fast.. also maybe a drop down for the archives.. again all about saving space to have more room in your sidebar :)

  38. I can dig it. The font can be a bit bigger because I wear glasses, but besides that……

    I can dig it. :-)

  39. I like the navigation aspect but I prefer a brighter background/more color.

  40. I like where you’re going with this. The advert at the top is big and distracting – it competes with the “Afrobella” masthead. Also, some little decorative touches (dots or swirlies) down the sides to tie in the colors of the Afrobella logo would set it off nicely.

  41. I like it. Quite clean. If possible it would be nice to have a left column for you to put your glam banner vertically probably and any other banner you may have!!! I like it though. And hopefully my comments can go through with this new format….

  42. thesouthernlady says:

    This is good.

  43. Hey, the site looks great, organized and clean. The only think is the header I don’t think the ad should go under the space where your header is.

  44. Hi Bella,

    It’s lovely… one thing, I think the tabs at the top should be indented slightly, so it lines up with the curve of the main body, or that the main body be extended to exclude a curve on that corner. It’s just me being symmetrical. Everything else is lovely… I love brown and pink together, brown and blue too… :)

  45. Davina Emily says:

    Hey Bella!

    I love the new layout.

  46. Love the new look. Very clean and organized. The brown registers really dark on my computer maybe a little lighter shade would be nicer. But I understand if that’s not possible. I am fighting with my own blog and its issues.

  47. I love it! It will take sometime getting used to where the comments part is, but other than that I love change and I love this site!

    Keep up the great work Bella

  48. I love the new look Afrobella… It’s easy on the eyes and your content stands out more (IMHO- in my humble opinion)!

  49. It’s a design that we will easily get use to. The logo helps preserve the organic feel to the sight. I don’t mind the new look at all. Happy February!

  50. I agree with the above comments. It’s cleaner and easier to read, but the font and the logo should be a bit bigger. Great job so far! Goodluck with the finishing touches. Take care.

  51. I’ve followed your blog since ’06 and this is my #1 fav. layout!!! Clean, easier to read (especially with your ads). Everything now has a place. I love this one Bella!!

  52. I really like this. I like the darker background color. You could change the color of the post to match which would balance out the white (just an opinion).

    Overall I like it and I find it easier to navigate.

  53. I like it!

  54. Natural Hair Product Researcher says:

    Yay!!! Sometimes all we need is a tweak and then Shazam!!!!! Thank you…

  55. Love it! My only suggestion would be to check out the sites you’ve linked to, if you haven’t already. I browsed through some of them recently, and some are either broken or have moved. Perhaps organizing the links by subject–beauty, commentary, fashion, etc) would be very helpful, too.

  56. I think it is a lot cleaner and more organized while still maintaining your sassy Afrobella self! ;-)

  57. I’m very excited that it looks less spamalicious.

  58. I like it! Change is fun.

  59. African Bella says:

    It’s beautiful. Love you and all that you stand for. All the best in Chicago, may you be blessed beyond your dreams!

  60. Hey Sunsail! Good looking out – that’s one of my next projects, to move all my links to their own tab. I’ll have to click through alllll of them to verify they’re still up and running first!

    Bellas, as you can tell we took quite a few of your earlier suggestions to heart over the weekend. Bigger logo, header’s been moved, changed the color of the title area, darkened the font and increased the font size. Yay! Now any additional aesthetic changes will take place over the next week or so. So stay tuned!

  61. I like how your comments and blog roll are now more uniform and easy on the eyes.

    The dark brown background makes everything looked squished in the middle.

    Love the afrobella logo seals on both sides. I also agree that your logo needs to be a bit larger that the ad banner and centered between the logos.

    Overall, I like where you are going with this. It does look much better with everything more centered:)

  62. I just had to come back and give you and your hubby a thumbs up for making the logo more prominent (near the header).

    Thanks again for welcoming our input!

  63. I am liking the background color and the boldness of the dipslay. I notice one thing and it is that my page fully blown up does not allow me to see the Afrobell Logo without scrolling right. It would be nice to have your entire header display without scrolling towards the right.. Great job!

  64. Leslie,
    that’s one of the main difficulties in redesigning a site — everyone uses different web browsers, computer screen sizes etc. So the logo shows up perfect for some, and too big for others. We’re not sure how to fix that just yet. But we’ll get there eventually =)

  65. wooo that’s a lot of thoughts up above!
    I love the simplicity and cleanness of the layout. The only thing I wish could change was the banner/header. Have it blend better with the current background color scheme. But knowing you bella, you’re probably working on that ;)

  66. excellenTIA says:

    very nice.
    and thank u again!

  67. love it!

  68. I love the fresh, crisp, neat look of the layout. I would love to see more of the colors from the Afrobella logo incorporated through the site. I love those earthy, sunset tones and think they would bring vibrancy to match your posts, and you! Very nice.

  69. Hi Bella!
    I love the new website too! Just one suggestion – when you create a link for us to click on, is there any way you can have the website create a new window? I just hate having to click on the link and lose your Afrobella page because i’m in another website. This would help quite a bit from us having to use the back button to get back to your site. Thanks and much success with your new job and move!

  70. Markeysha says:

    TOTALLY LOVE!!!! BELLA

  71. flygyrl72 says:

    Hey Bella, it’s cool. I got no problems with it. Might wanna add more color though, but if not, the earthy thing is good too. As far as set up, I likey. Straight-forward & easy to navigate.

  72. It looks great Bella! A lot easier to nav to. Great work!

  73. Bella:

    Love, love, love the numbered comments. Makes it so much easier to check out the discussion throughout the day. However, as I think others have mentioned, that huge ad near your logo is not the best. IMHO, it would be so much nicer if the ads were all on the right side.

  74. i dont like it… for some reason it looks less professional than the last site. i think this has something to do with the font and enlarged size of text on the right. you have to scroll back to the top to see the comments. and for some reason i dont like the tan bars. i think the pink and maybe orange would breed more lightness to the page.

  75. LOVE IT! And , I’m glad the brown is back. It’s a very clean and polished look.

  76. Nice!!Kinda like facebok!! and suer friendly!!

  77. I am crazy late to the redesign party but my one gripe is that there is a horizontal scroll because of the width of the design. Other than that, I think it’s super cute!

  78. The site’s new look is great! The colour scheme is attractive and I think the comments tab makes it easy to navigate. Great new look!

  79. Oliva Apolito says:

    I have recently started a website, the info you offer on this website has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work. “The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice.” by Mark Twain.

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