Saturday, March 3, 2012

OT: Change of Header Image

I've changed from "Ultraman" to something inane (it's a pile of debris at Fukushima I Nuke Plant).

Let me know what you think. I am also monitoring if there is any significant increase or drop of readership over the next few days...


Lena said...

Less distance to scroll down. That's good. But Ultraman is so familiar on this blog from the disaster era. Maybe you should leave it available somewhere for kind of nostalgic reasons. It dissappears from old posts too and that feels a bit like erasing the past. Probably not your intention to give an impression of erasing history.

Anonymous said...

It is always difficult to change a well know image. I think both images look fine, since the content of the blog is the important part.

Anyway, if you stick with the new image, you might think about moving part of the text on the right side to the left side. The part 'nuclear accident' is hard to read currently. If you make 3 lines like:
'__________SINCE MARCH 11, 2011'
[comment '_' means ' ' - to overcome the automatic removal of multiple spaces in the comment section]
The whole part of the text should be over the rubble road that can be seen on the lower left of the image. The hight (y-axis) is OK. Maybe you align the right side of the text roughly with the centre of the image.

The yellow EXSKF is easy to read, so there is no need to move or change that one.

Thanks for your great blog and continued coverage.

Anonymous said...

Hello, you might have an increase of readings in sometime, as the fellows sitting behind your readers will not mumble "... reading EX-SKF again !..."
but as for the joy of colors, I prefered Ultraman.
Thank you.

Marita said...

I liked UltraMan but your new image is a good one.

And if people stop reading because of an image then they most likely were not intelligent enough to understand the value of this site.

You could have an obnoxious flashing animated gif image and I still come here , I'd just have the finger on the scroll wheel ready to scroll down.

Anonymous said...

The image change is immaterial to me. I read your site because of what you compile from Japanese media sources and what you write. You could put a picture of the pope there, and I wouldn't change my reading habit.

Hélios said...

Hello Ultraman,

To me, you are still an Ultraman, for the quality of your posts and your daily work...and I used it to mean my translations of your posts.

But I agree you want to change your image, I do it every week for my blog and it seems contribute to the readership, but I post something else than Japan on my blog, too.

(The black letters on grey background are not very readable and the picture is so sad.)

BTW, what does mean EX SKF ?

Anonymous said...

For me, the new image is really good.

The message I understand from it is, "What! Is this mess still here?"

In which case, the longer the image persists, the more powerful the message.

I would like the sub heading to be moved over to the left, where the road is background, for ease of reading, and impact. I think, also, that a more powerful font, or bold &/ italics, would not be excessive.


misitu said...

If you would like some alternative fonts for that part of the title image I might be able to suggest one or two.

Chibaguy said...

What brought me to your site was the content and the pursuit of truth over just headlines. Your insight and ability to navigate both English and Japanese is truly amazing. Anyone can translate if given the time, but you read between the lines.

Ultraman will be missed though. Ultraman brings about a sense of justice. For your readers that can understand Japanese I think that 「日本、負けるな」と「政府を当てにするな」っていう表現が印象的であり、何処かに残した方がいい。

Anonymous said...

Red letters are better for expressing "urgency" and "importance".

The black type below should be in bold in order to improve readability.

Tks. as always for the great work.

Fallout Man! said...

Hi Ultraman,
The new image is a big improvement. You have great content, very good analysis of a variety of important news and now a professional looking page header. The new image takes up less space, and relates to what you are talking about. A genuine improvement. It makes what is a deadly serious news and analysis site look deadly serious. Its great.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Ultraman could still be present somewhere on the page.

But the smaller size of the current image is certainly a plus. I prefer it in many ways, although it is grim.

Michael Uplawski said...

Apart from the font-colors, the header-image is okay with me. Now I notice, that I never much liked the previous image but that is not what draws me to this block.

This morning on the French radio «France Inter»: "The children of Fukushima":

I was really astonished to hear this from my favourite radio station (which is France Culture), because there has not been much coverage of Fukushima-topics recently. When my wife informed me, that she did not manage to tune in to France Culture and had chosen France Inter instead, this really made me think. It may be a signal, that the media in France are looking for their next «Chou-chou» or at least prepare for something different.

Anonymous said...

The new image is pretty bad, it's just a nondescript mountain of rubble. I know that just a pic of the reactors would be a cliche at this point, but still...

Karen Sherry Brackett said...

EX SKF in yellow is good. The subtext will pop more in white or red against this particular background image. It was good to see Ultraman again. I had not thought about him and Goldar both in a long time. His creators should have been paying you advertisement fees for bringing him back to life.

Anonymous said...

I disliked the uruturaman picture at first, but later grew to like it, probably due to its association with this excellent source of information. I'll miss the Ultraman image a bit, but I come here for the information.

Thank you.

henry said...

How about a collage of J prime ministers of the 21st century? Nah, takes up too much space. Its the content that matters. Keep it up! (And BTW, what does ex-skf mean?)

Anonymous said...

I think the appropriate solution would be a smaller version of the original Ultraman header. Please don't lose the original Japanese text.

Janick MAGNE said...

Hello, I think the new image gives a more professional look, which is very positive especially for readers from other countries.
I agree with other readers that the letters in your title should be bolder (and may be on one othe the sides) for more readibility.
Bur to all of us you will stay the real ULTRAMAN forever !

Anonymous said...

I know some people (namely Japanese) who were put off by the Ultraman image and never gave the site its due. I hope the new image will help people to see the value that is really here.

Anonymous said...

Looks good, mate.

Viola said...

I loved the old one, because it was so powerful, for me clearly expressing the anger about what we all face since nearly a year and giving me a daily reminder to keep up the power fighting against nuclear.
On the other hand, the new one loads much faster, and it's the content, anyway, why we all come to your site. A big improvement as well for people who follow you via mobile phone: your site pops up immediately now.
I agree with all the others about the readability of the text.

By the way, as this is an OT thread - I'd like to make an OT-OT plea here:
Since a while, we started translating the HumanERROR video into different languages; we have collected english, french, spanish, catalan, russian and german. If anybody here wants to contribute others, or is interested in translating in general, please meet us on facebook: Translate Fukushima

Chibaguy said...


The HumanError piece is the most power piece I have seen up to now. I can only understand Japanese and English but when he goes on to repeat "直ちに、人体に影響がない。直ちに、人体に影響がない." This is on source of my anger. I hope you can make this video go viral. I wish he would have done this in Tokyo though. I do not agree with the intro but the overall timeline is spot on and accurate so I fully support him.

Anonymous said...

Not that it really mattered to me, but I thought Ultraman was funny.

I feel that the new image doesn't really say "nuclear", it feels more like "tsunami disaster". The thing that bothers me the most about the new image is how the text blends into the background so much that it's unreadable.

You should try outlining the edges with a contrasting color (white, for example) or choose different colors. Maybe even adjust the brightness of the foreground and background.

Anonymous said...

How about a little Ultraman in the bottom left corner?

Anonymous said...

The ultraman banner was too tall and unfirtunately made the site look less serious in the eyes of many.
However, the debris picture is too generic. It could be anything from anywhere.
I'd look for something that loaded fast, was not too big, looked serious and was unmistakingly associated to the nuclear disaster of Fukushima.

Anonymous said...

I want my ultraman back !

Arnie Gundersen said...

Ultraman added a bit of hope to a tragic situation. Kind of like a form of medical humor. The new image is a downer. Contaminated rubble out of a person's reach. Ultraman would have been able to stop the reactor before they did what they did. Ultraman would figure out a way to clean up that rubble in the new header. We need Ultraman back to finish the job.

Anonymous said...

I loved the Ultraman banner, but will, like in a true democracy, accept what the majority want or what the honourable blog owner decides.

I personally would have liked to see an old black and white Zatoichi pic because not only are you translating important serious information but also because you are cutting out the bullshit :-))

Like this one:

no6ody said...

I don't like the rubble pic, but I didn't like Ultraman at first either (but that changed quickly). I am here because of the hard work you have done and are doing.

Put an image up and be done with it, or change it every day, whatever you like. Don't listen to folks like me who would put up images of Reactor 3 blowing up, or the reactor rubble steaming over the ocean. The ignorati bother me too much.

Anonymous said...

From a historical perspective I would say no to the change. The image of Ultraman was why I stopped here a year ago. The content is why I return every day.
If you do need to make a new banner that is more "serious", perhaps the image of #3 spewing would be appropriate. Reducing to a small rubble pile works towards the same end as incinerating the debris-
No immediate harm to human health
Share the pain
Out of sight
Out of mind.

Thank you again for all the work you are doing.

Anonymous said...

I miss Ultraman. He beat up Godzilla which was the Japanese peoples' personification of the atomic bombs dropped on them. How do you fight radiation? How do you fight Godzilla? One is helpless before such terror! Until Ultraman and some others beat the crap out of him...

Anonymous said...

didn't care much for Ultraman, but he was a big lot better than debris

bring back Ultraman!

and keep up the good work on this great website

Anonymous said...

hi, I love ultraman, because he has, hum, somewhat humanoid face and shouts. a pile of debris is just so pessimistic. but i do not read almost everyday your texts for ultraman, but for your super super work you do. thanks

Anonymous said...

From a North American perspective, Ultraman is superfluous to the current predominant message and content.

The change is good in that ex-skf script is retained, and now different relevant mast head image can be changed out at will.

Placing as much information out is important, consult a creative artist friend to yield 'meme' messages to power a message more than simple illustration and photographs. In fact the memes are already in those photographs we consider relevant, they just need polishing.

Good stuff always at this ex-skf site.

Mike said...

i love this blog and read it every day. i think you should design it however you want. but since you asked, as an autodidact designer, here are some comments:

1. i like the smaller format of the banner.

2. i think the old ultraman image may have led some readers to discount the quality of the information in the blog, because of its association with pop culture fantasy and lighthearted adventure.

3. the image of disaster debris is a step in a more serious direction, but it does not immediately evoke *nuclear* disaster. perhaps an image of the damaged reactor housing? (i don't know about japanese copyright laws, but i assume that you cannot simply use an image taken by the press. perhaps someone who reads the blog and made such a photo will permit you to use it?)

4. if you use the current photo, i agree with the suggestions that you move the type (*including the EX-SKF logotype*) to the left, so that it overlays the dirt in the photo, to increase legibility.

5. i'd also suggest changing the subtitle type's color; if you used red, it might be a nice nod back to the old ultraman colors, and would enliven the banner a bit. i'd consider tweaking the gold of the logotype to make it just a little less orange. the kearning on the logotype looks fine.

4. you might experiment with changing the border. i'd try a simple solid border about twice the thickness of the logotype stroke width, perhaps in the same dark red color used for the titling elsewhere on the blog.


arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

So far, ultraman and fuku-I debris are neck and neck on the poll.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I personally didn't intend to change the image, but after several suggestions I wanted to see how readers think.

No offense to people who suggested Ultraman image is too pop or childish or un-serious (as far as I know it's not copyrighted, and thank you for your suggestions), I'd say exactly. How could I take anything that has come out of that government and that nuke plant operator seriously any more?

(I did think about changing from Ultraman to Godzilla destroying Hamaoka Nuke Plant or Mothra dousing the Reactor 3.)

Since this is not a google template, I will have to change HTML codes to do some of your suggestions like left-align the blog description. Will do when I have time.

Anonymous said...

I loved Ultraman even thou my comp loaded the image a bit too slow.
Suggesting to keep him on but a bit smaller.
By the way, I leaned about Ultraman due to you)) ==Elena

Darth3/11 said...

Happy to chime in, and I am a daily reader.
I vote for Ultraman and keeping the Nihongo.
Perhaps making it a bit smaller to help people with small screens?
It's original to this sight, and conveys the sense the powerfully and bravely fighting the forces of evil and darkness that the 3/11 events have unleashed on us all.
The pile of debris does not evoke this wider frame of reference.

Go Ultraman and all power to our hero, A.Laprimavera, who has become "Ultraman" in my opinion!

Darth 3/11 said...

Ack. Typos! Here is my corrected version:

Darth3/11 said...
Happy to chime in, and I am a daily reader.
I vote for Ultraman and keeping the Nihongo.
Perhaps making it a bit smaller to help people with small screens?
It's original to this site. It conveys the sense of powerfully and bravely fighting the forces of evil and darkness unleashed by the 3/11 events on us all.

The pile of debris does not evoke this wider frame of reference.

Go Ultraman and all power to our hero, A.Laprimavera, who has become "Ultraman" in my opinion!

Anonymous said...

You are a good person for what you have done. You have brought a great number of people together. I've been on your site for many months and didn't start posting until recently.

Those who are looking for information will find it no matter what the site looks like. Shallow people will avoid your site which is a good thing. BUT

I miss Ultraman.

Like many, spring in Japan is what we I look forward to. I won't ever forget. We all have a TONS of photos of much happier times and the Sakura.

I suggest a number of square panels in-line horizontally over a background stripe of color. The first panel will have Ultraman, the next will have a lovely image of the Sakura, next a photo of some koi fish together, next will have the historic markers that told of past Tsunamis and the warnings they carried, next will be a photo of a Tori from Fukushima.

These panels will each be the same size and nearly square not more than 1-2 inches. They will be equally spaced and over the same background and to the right of the squares will be the name of the site and title.

On a line under the above you will have your links.

What I wish I had the song bookmarked, I know I have it on my facebook, is the old poem or song of returning to the place of my youth. It talked about the mountains, the trees and the rivers. It was about the area of Fukushima or place nearby. I remembered crying when reading those words you translated.

If you could include a link to that song and also offer something on the same linked page with this message: Dedicated to the memory of our ancestors and to those consumed by nature and man's folly.

I'm a design hack and fool. I can send you a mockup.

You are loved and appreciated.


Smoking Caster

Anonymous female said...

So many honourable men and women(okay,except one) reading and writing here. Bless you all and like Smoking Caster(goodness, what a moniker) writes, you are loved Arevamirpal. You ARE Ultraman.

Anonymous said...

Put Ultra-man on either side of your new narrow strip. Put him in two boxes on either side of the strip. Also, it is hard to read the font in front of the new picture. Utra-man can lead the world toward a new future, "It's time for the world to move toward a clean energy future. It's time to move away from energy sources that will poison the land, water, farms, gardens, nature, children and future generations."

Anonymous said...

Please, we need Ultraman!

kintaman said...

A.Laprimavera. My apologies for distracting you from the news by having started this topic.

I am, of course, a big fan of Ultraman since childhood. My only real issue with the banner was that it was so tall and would possibly deter new readers from the site. Also that new site visitors (foreigners of course) may not understand what the content of the site is and not become a reader.

I am happy for the banner to remain with Ultraman but preferably at the same dimensions as the current debris banner. Alternatively would you consider something similar to the below which shows the the actual reactors #1-4?

or even the fallout maps?

Just possible suggestions of course. Perhaps the community can offer something better! :)

I think though that everyone in Japan needs to stop saying "がんばれ 日本!" and instead "Wake up Japan!".

A.Laprimavera, again, I thank you deeply for your great efforts with this blog (especially in this last year). You are a hero to Japan and beyond. You are an Ultraman!

Lastly, potentially embarrassing question but what does "skf" refer to?

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

@kintaman, nothing to be embarrassed about. There has been only one person (blogger George Washington) who figured out what SKF is without being told. I'm sure the readers from Zero Hedge would know instantly.

SKF is an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) that inversely tracks the financial index at double leverage. This blog was a financial and economic blog before March 11, 2011, though it had been taken over by the coverage of events in Tunisia, Egypt, middle east, and Libya at the start of 2011.

Now, thanks to Ben Bernanke and the world's central banks (namely ECB and Bank of Japan), the market is totally corrupted and doesn't function as market (exchange of goods, services and information) any more.

Darth3/11 said...

Smoking Castor has a really interesting concept. Looks to me like readers in general long for "Ultraman" to return in any new guise. Ex-SKF, you have posted an interesting challenge and I look forward to your decision.

And, btw, I also figured out the meaning of EX-SKF on my own, with a little googling. Sure I am not the only other one. Well done, my friend and hero.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I was fond of your earlier illustration, to me it summed up your role as a defender of the people of Japan.
The photo is ok, but it doesn't evoke the same sense of "protector."
Whatever you decide, nothing can change the fantastic work you have done, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Make the header picture more iconographic for the Fukushima disaster area.

Anonymous said...

I agree with previous posts about improving readability of headline by moving it to the left.

As I also agree with the danger that the Ultraman picture may lead some people to the impression of a nonserious site and believe the new banner is more professional.

The rubble can be representative of the Fukushima accident: NPP site in ruins, lives in ruins, trust and confidence in nuclear power/government/etc. in ruins ...

If a more visually obvious connection to the NPP is desired, you could always a screened back (transparent) image of one of the damaged reactors over the right side of the banner, i.e., the rubble.

One way or another, your blog is fantastic and the work you put into it is soooo... much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

If a more visually obvious connection to the NPP is desired, you could always OVERLAY a screened back (transparent) image ...

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