I’ve occasionally mucked with my blog’s theme with a general aim of removing superfluous crap that makes reading posts harder. A couple weeks ago something Parker Higgins wrote inspired me to try a little harder:
How awesome is @niemanlab’s “faded” sidebar? And zen mode? That’s a site that cares about its readers.
You can view an archived version of the Nieman Lab site should their design change. The top of the sidebar isn’t faded, but overall I think the fading there is makes it a little easier to concentrate on a post without switching to “zen” mode (removing all navigation).
For my theme, I made the sidebar always faded except when hovered over, and float to the right as far away from the main content area as possible. All “header” content is in the sidebar so that there’s nothing preceding a post’s title.
I intended to remove anything hardcoded* for my blog, anything I don’t understand or not used, and anything that doesn’t validate, but I didn’t get very far on any of those. I doubt this will be useful to anyone, but patches welcome.
*Yes it is also a little ironic I’ve never bothered to published modified source used to run this blog until now.