October 17, 2006
by: jovial_cynic
Here's some background for why I chose this particular layout for my site.

There's a couple of schools of thought in the web programming world about the nature of content and layout. Some folks spend a lot of time on the design element of their sites and produce outstanding and visually stunning websites. Other folks care almost nothing about the design, and focus all of their attention on their content, leaving their sites rather spartan and "ordinary." There's nothing wrong with either approach, as long as enough people find the content relevant.

I've decided to go with the latter approach, but I wanted to emphasise accessibility. The site is spartan, for sure, but if you poke around at the site, you may notice that the font-sizes are all set relative, which means that readers can resize the font within their own browser settings. Also, if you resize the actual browser, the main content wraps to the resized column width appropriately... and I think it shrinks down to 400px, which is the maximum width I'll use for images that show up in my posts. Lastly, I've chosen to stick with some tables instead of using purely CSS-oriented layout, on account of browser compliance. I'd love to move into a purely CSS-based layout structure, but until all the browsers (ahem... microsoft) decide to play nicely, building a site that functions differently in one browser than it does in another adds another accessibility hurdle, and I'd just as soon use something that works on all browsers for now.

I decided to go with the 2-column layout instead of the center-navigation 3-column layout of my previous design, for ease of use. After several people told me that the right-side column of my site (which housed "off-topic" posts) was nearly indistinguishable from google's ads that you find on other sites, I figured that I was doing something wrong. Other folks mentioned that the center-navigation was unintuitive and confusing, and one reviewer even stated that the navigation system made him angry because he couldn't figure out how to navigate the site. That's probably a bit of an overstatement, but the point was made. I switched to the traditional 2-column layout with a simpler and intuitive right-side navigation system.

I'll probably add more functionality to the navigation column, so be sure to check back and see what I've done with it.
np category: site


penny said:
i like it! very good. one of these days i'll fix my site. :)
October 18, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Luke - Yeah. Quite different. I wish I had taken a screen capture of all my site changes... I swear, my site is going through an identity crisis. Or maybe it's me that's going through that crisis...

penny - um... thanks! It's odd that my site's skeleton would be called "very good," as I actually stripped it of all visual themes and am looking for a better one to implement. I guess some people appreciate the spartan look.

:: shrug ::

Hrm. I just noticed that the site behaves a little differently between Firefox and IE. If you shrink the window width too much IE., it behaves the way you'd expect tables to behave. But if you use Firefox, the white box shrinks more than the text, which is weird and unacceptable. I'll have to fix something...

October 18, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Fixed the Firefox/IE problem.
October 18, 2006

Mark Glesne said:
Identity crisis much?


October 18, 2006

jovial_cynic said:
Not reading previous comments much? :)

I swear, my site is going through an identity crisis. Or maybe it's me that's going through that crisis...

October 18, 2006

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