~ responsive design ~

New at Moving Poems: a mobile-ready theme and a links page

This week, the main site of Moving Poems got a facelift. Videos now fill almost the entire width of the page, and will automatically resize, along with the rest of the site, to fit any screen. Check it out and tell me what you think!

A fresh look often prompts fresh ideas. This week I also decided it was high time to add a links page to the main site. That way I could not only include more links than what I can fit into the footer, but I can also make the footer links section more useful by restricting it to a handful of top sites (and linking to the full list). The links page is still nowhere near exhaustive; too lengthy a list can overwhelm visitors and thereby defeat its purpose. But I welcome suggestions for additional links I should include. For example, I’m thinking there have to be a few more poetry presses with video divisions…

The nitty-gritty

For fellow web publishers and others who may be interested, here’s a more detailed account of what changed and why. The device-responsive video resizing is thanks to a jQuery plugin known as FitVids, which is bundled into the new WordPress theme: Origami Premium from SiteOrigin. I’d been putting off the change to a more modern theme because I liked the look of the old one a lot, but the upgrade to WordPress 3.5 forced my hand — it no longer made sense to keep trying to re-write the code of an aging theme to keep up with changes.

This is the third major redesign of the site. When I started Moving Poems nearly four years ago, few videos looked good at much beyond 600 pixels wide, and it made sense to devote the remaining screen real estate to a sidebar. Now, even most non-HD videos, whether uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, look decent at full-screen size on a desktop monitor, so why shouldn’t a site devoted to video appreciation take full advantage of that? The smartphone and tablet revolution worried me for a while, especially after Apple decided to stop supporting Flash, but the major video hosting platforms have found work-arounds for that. I’m told that the small viewing area on most mobile devices is compensated for by an ever-increasing sharpness of the display. In any case, the fact is that more and more people are interacting with the web primarily through their phones and tablets, even sometimes watching full-length movies on them. So whether we like it or not, this is the new media landscape that web publishers have to adapt to.