I’m just wondering what you think of the wibiya toolbar I added to Omniglot this week – the green band that appears at the bottom of pages.

Do you find it useful?

Would you like to see other links or applications on it?

I also decided it was time to change the template of this blog. Do you like the new one?

This entry was posted in General.

17 Responses to Toolbar

  1. Charles says:

    I find those bars rather annoying to say the least, on my site I made a less invasive concession to social web users by adding a single [+] button allowing them to tell friends they have been amused by rude words.
    The button seems to be used mostly to add bookmarks, so much for computer literacy.
    In short: lose the bar.

    The new design is fine, but maybe too Asian-themed despite the fact that you do not limit yourself to Asian languages.

  2. pennifer says:

    I find them really annoying b/c they take up valuable real estate on my 13″ screen. The wibiya toolbar DOES allow one to hide it at least. The same can not be said of most of other similar products out there.

    I like the theme in general, although I was bemused by those two tags at the top. And it is surprisingly Asian, like Charles said.

    Sorry not to be more positive on it all. 🙂

  3. Phillip says:

    Same here – hating the bar (is it really necessary?).

    I instantly recognised the theme from the Endangered Alphabets blog – in any case, I like it.

  4. Christopher Miller says:

    I tend to dislike these pop-up toolbars and bubbles you find more and more all over the web now: they’re the visual equivalent of a street tout who won’t leave you alone. All I want is to be able to read what I came to look at without the extra distraction. If a page is going to have a special set of links for connecting to outside sites, I just prefer these to be located in an unintrusive sidebar.

    That said, I have always wished there were a simple link back to the main Omniglot site from the blog. I always have to go into my URL field and erase the /blog… portion and hit return to get there from here. A clickable link would be so much nicer.

    The new graphic background seems too busy to me and detracts from the purpose of the blog. Each little graphic element (calligraphic brush set, luggage tags, brush paintings) conveys information that seems to have little to do with the purpose of the blog and just leaves one puzzling at what the connections might be. I would prefer a graphically simpler theme in which the colours, shapes and layout combine to subtly reinforce the text, which is the primary element here.

  5. Anon says:

    I think they’re annoying too. Like the theme though!

  6. Jayarava says:


    (Apparently ‘meh’ is too short a comment to be accepted so I have to write this disclaimer to go with it).

  7. Simon says:

    Thanks for your comments. Do they apply to the toolbar on the blog, the one on the main site, or both?

    I wasn’t entirely sure about using the toolbar on the blog, and I’ve removed it now. I’ve also added a link to the main Omniglot site at the top of the side bar, and there’s another further down under My Sites.

  8. Christopher Miller says:

    As for the theme, I just went to the Endangered Alphabets web page (, and guess what theme he uses?!

    In the context of that particular blog, the theme fits in better with the overall intent of the site.

  9. Esteban says:

    Nice change, but it does have more of a specific Asian feel to it. Love that you placed a link back to the main page! The bars at the bottom of the homepage don’t really bother me. Always love this site!

  10. Rauli says:

    I didn’t even realize which toolbar you were talking about until I realized that I had blocked Wibiya earlier with Adblock Plus 😀 I really don’t like that kind of things on websites. I also find it annoying that nearly every site tries to get me to connect with Facebook nowadays. I’m an active user of FB, but if I want to publish a link, I like to do so on the FB front page.

    As for the theme, it looks nice, but I liked the previous one more. I think it is a bit too Asian as well, for a site about languages and scripts in general. The “one language is never enough” subheading is rather small now.

  11. Alekx says:

    Personally, I like the toolbar and the way it looks but I never find them helpful. They usually have links that I don’t need or can get more directly from my delicious bookmarks.
    The theme is nice but a little busy. Since I am a big fan of asian languages, I think it’s kind of neat. However, I think minimal decoration is better.
    As far as either of my comments go, this is your blog, Simon. So, if you like it, that’s what matters. As long as the content continues to be top-notch, everything else is just window-dressing. Thanks for this blog and your site. They are great!

  12. I personally like the new design for the blog. It’s clean, simple and, in spite of what others have said, I don’t find it distracting at all. People need a little bit of visual variety when browsing the web — not everything should be as black, white, and boring as a newspaper. And who cares if it’s an Asian theme? I like me some koi.

    One suggestion I would make is to remove the parchment images behind your navigational bar along the top. They’re a little superfluous, but not seriously so.

    Good job, dude.

  13. bronz says:

    I agree with previous comments about the bar. Maybe I’m a little more old-fashioned, but I always thought of the main Omniglot site being academically-oriented (i.e., it’s the best go-to site for reliable information on writing systems there is), so the bar is kind of sending the opposite signal.

    I do miss the original theme. The current one makes the posts look secondary; it makes me stare at the top, and I like it, but visually it makes me ignore everything else beneath it, too.

  14. Tommy says:

    I like the new template. It’s calming. But I agree that the posts feel secondary. We’ll get used to it!

  15. prase says:

    I prefered the old design and find the new one distracting. There are some strange half-visible horizontal lines in the background, which are probably only an artifact of the design, but seem like being intended to separate the text. For example, in the sidebar, it looks like the Categories section is divided in groups Animal Communication … Czech, Danish … French, General … Irish and so on. I suppose you are not going to change the design, but I write it in order to give some feedback.

    As for the toolbar, I really dislike it, and I would find Omniglot much more attractive without it. Actuall, I have switched from Windows to Linux recently, and one of the reasons was the omnipresent annoying suggestions and advices steadily popping up from nowhere which seem to be a natural part of Windows 7, which I got with my new computer.

  16. renato says:

    I also don’t like tool bars, not even when it comes tighten with an exe. This is one of the reason why I use Firefox; IE allows lot of these awful bars.
    I liked too much the new blog layout, clean and beautiful. Very good.
    Today I visited, as every every Mews section, and saw the Happy birthday songs topic. For people who don’t know, I don’t remember when but It was realized an International context to create this song around the world, The winner was Brazil, because the lyrics wasn’t a translation of the American song, but a new lyric celebrating The date, the person, and wishing the all the best.

  17. Jurčík says:

    It was better without it 🙁

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