Yes, it's true. Once again I have tweaked the look and format of the LA Observed front page for a new year. Had to do it! I'll explain below. But first, if the top of your page doesn't line up something like in the screen grab below, press the CTRL and F5 keys (on a PC) and then refresh the page. If that doesn't work to make things line up, also try clearing your browser's cache, closing your browser and reopening. Then try LA Observed again.
If that doesn't work, please let me know which browser version you are using. The page flows as expected on every browser we checked, but older versions of Internet Explorer have always given us some trouble. Also, if you use ad blockers the page will look strange in unpredictable ways. Sorry, we're not good enough at web coding to cover every possibility.
In an ideal world, you can see the page as we intended. That's with three featured stories or blog posts across the top, under the LA Observed banner. That's 200 percent more than in previous iterations! And luckily, that's what I was going for. The old design was frustrating for only allowing one top story. To accomplish the triad approach, I moved the picture window down a bit. This allowed two more improvements, as I see it. The featured photo can now be bigger, and I was able to accommodate a more logical Twitter box to display what LA Observed authors are tweeting between posts.
On most full-size monitors, the top three stories, the Twitter box and some of the big picture will be visible on the first screen. Yay. I've also added some news links so you can drop in, see what's new at the top of the page and on Twitter, then easily click over to the LA Times or another news site to follow a thread.
There's also been some freshening lower on the page. You can still read the blog reverse chronologically under the Recently Posted tab, or check just the last 24 hours or the past week. Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for some refining and still more tweaking to come down the page.
For now, though, you will also see a widget that connects directly to a new home on Facebook for LA Observed. We'll be putting more of our blog posts on Facebook and using that page to put up extra photos and video. As the Facebook page evolves it will probably have a bit of a different mix of content, with some items that are not on the website. Also, of course, Facebook members can post germane comments on the FB items. I'll post an item there about the altered design for people to respond if they wish.
Sadly, this design tweak does not do anything to improve the way the site works on phones. More of us are using our phones for news and blogs. The stats show that. I would love to upgrade the backend of LA Observed to handle a responsive design suitable for phones and tablets, but that's a ways off. More on that later.