My Backdrop Loses Me a Reader

Just when I was about to brag about having hidden the design of this site from Netscape 4.7, it appears that my new funky backdrop has cost me at least one reader:

Have you ever stopped reading or cut down on your reading of a weblog because they changed the design? Radio Free Blogistan, one of the first Salon blogs, used to have a spare, plain design. I used to read it quite often — lots of good stuff about the world of weblogs. But now that they’ve switched to one of those busy, choppy, non-scrolling backgrounds, it’s hard for me to look at.

Hmm, that’s disconcerting. Maybe I need to take a poll.

  1. Go back to some very plain design
  2. Offer multiple stylesheets-with-cookies
  3. Just tone down (fade, blur) the background patterns
  4. Some other option I’m overlooking?

Please let me know. I tend to agree with Words Mean Things. The writing in this blog is or should be the primary draw. I think design is important, but not if it drives people away. (I figured a nonscrolling backdrop was preferable, for example, because it focuses my attention on the text areas, but clearly mileage varies.)
I welcome feedback on this issue.