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Design and redesign

Post #977 • March 28, 2007, 1:16 PM • 28 Comments

As previously mentioned, I spent the last two days at An Event Apart Boston. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the problem of building websites. I'm self-taught, but the process, as I learned, isn't all that different than any other creative pursuit: figure out what you want to do, do some research, throw some stuff down, and then alter and eliminate until it looks good. It turns out that I'm already using the same method as Jason Santa Maria; he's just a lot better at it. That's cool. Floundering around is The Way.

So here we have another redesign. This time I wanted to break up the boxiness and indicate a bit of dimensionality. I needed a break from the illustrations. I wanted to see what I could do with one font - a nice, clean sans-serif. But some of the changes go more than skin deep this time. I eliminated about four div tag sets, converted the navigation and recent articles to unordered lists, and totally and utterly divorced presentation and markup. The markup, semantically, rocks, even for HTML 4.01 Strict.

At any rate, if anything's choking to death, let me know.

Spring is here.

Comment

1.

Boba Fête

March 28, 2007, 1:46 PM

Nice paper!

2.

BMD72

March 28, 2007, 2:50 PM

I enjoy how the color of the logo changes with each refresh.

Question: When you redesigned the page did you take Tetrochromats into consideration? Most importantly, did you consider the feelings of the dichromats?

3.

jm

March 28, 2007, 2:57 PM

"Floundering around" ? It doesn't seem like you are. I still fumble with basic HTML.

Looks great Franklin. I liked the ink drawings a lot on the top though. Why did you remove them ?

4.

JL

March 28, 2007, 3:52 PM

Oh, I like the paper as well. Nice touch.

5.

jm

March 28, 2007, 4:15 PM

Aha ! My bad - I see the drawings now. The paper color change is effective as well.

6.

Franklin

March 28, 2007, 5:32 PM

Boba, nice handle! Alas, the paper is heavily Photoshopped.

BMD, the tetrachromats are enjoying life quite without my help. Anyone with deficiencies should do pretty well with the site - try turning off CSS by way of example. Something, I'm not sure what, is stopping me from going through a nigh thousand posts and putting "alt" tags in for the images like I should have, but I resolve to do better in the future.

Salutations, JL. We ought to get together sometime not too distantly.

JM, the illustrations live on in spirit at The Moon Fell On Me, and if you're still seeing them, in your heart as well.

7.

jm

March 28, 2007, 5:37 PM

Thanks, they are coming up on the comment page !

8.

Franklin

March 28, 2007, 5:39 PM

Right, there is that. Don't get attached, though. The comments page is like two versions old.

9.

necee

March 28, 2007, 8:47 PM

uh, okay, now don't take this the wrong way....but i didn't realize until i read the comments that those squares were paper. my first thought was "carpet samples" and second thought was "tiles." i had this sense of interior design mag that didn't jive with the little illustrations on the right. i find it a little busy, style-wise.

still--i'm in awe of this site in general.

10.

Marc Country

March 28, 2007, 9:20 PM

I'll secong necee's comment, about the un-jibe-iness of the swatches with the right side ad bar images.

11.

Marc Country

March 28, 2007, 9:22 PM

And the clock's off Edmonton local time by one hour. Better fix that.

12.

jm

March 28, 2007, 9:34 PM

Bro, is this Canson paper ? Or is it (pause) virtual Canson paper ?

13.

Franklin

March 28, 2007, 9:40 PM

JM knows his materials. That's totally Canson paper. I started with two photographs overlayed, created the shadows, and played with the color sliders to create the different versions, which are based on the materials in Five Element Theory.

14.

Marc Country

March 28, 2007, 10:10 PM

What? No hyperlink for "Five Element Theory"?

15.

billermo

March 28, 2007, 10:11 PM

i prefer the previous little b/w graphics. but what do i know? ive been lurking around here for months.

16.

jim bob

March 28, 2007, 10:25 PM

Franklin has influenced many without intimidating or imposing upon anyone . This is an ingenius act.

17.

jorge

March 28, 2007, 10:52 PM

George can you send a link to your site - are you making those sculptural paintings ?

18.

ahab

March 28, 2007, 11:31 PM

Hey, how about the sleeve of a t-shirt poking in from the upper right corner, the corner of a book visible below that, and the corner of a framed painting under that - all just as dimensional as the 'spensive paper. My only niggling complaint with the current layout is the angle of ".NET" in relation to it's paper background. I think it should be tipped down away from level. And...is there some formula keeping the paper colours harmonious? Or are they not separately generated?

Let it be known that I'm even less help with any of the website design that isn't strictly visual.

19.

ahab

March 28, 2007, 11:44 PM

The Five Element Theory, as preferred by my kids. And my wife.

20.

african american

March 29, 2007, 12:00 AM

What does "niggling" mean ?

21.

Marc Country

March 29, 2007, 2:05 AM

...To niggle...

22.

JL

March 29, 2007, 11:38 AM

Salutations, JL. We ought to get together sometime not too distantly.

We should. My schedule through April and May is pretty horrible, though. It's going to be time for another trip to Salem soon, however. This could be interesting as well, in the typically off-beat Peabody Essex way.

23.

Chris

March 29, 2007, 11:47 AM

The design is clean and open and easy to read. Nice. But two things (inevitably, right?):

I think the paper samples in the top left is cheezy. It's too big, takes up too much space in the left column, and the color is jarring. Plus, it just makes the site look like a paper sample site.

Centering the comment number, name, time stamp, etc., isn't good. When I read a comment I jump down to the next one to start at the left but then I have to pull my eye to the center to read the info and then jump back to the left to begin reading the comment. Too much movement, it interrupts flow, it isn't good for scanning, it isn't how we read.

24.

J.T.

March 29, 2007, 11:57 AM

Franklin,

For me, the left hand nav is reaching into the the comments text. Meaning, "Publications" runs over "22 comments." I'll email you an image of what I'm seeing as I havent seen anyone else mention it. Maybe it's just me.

25.

BMD72

March 29, 2007, 12:35 PM

RE: 24

I'm having the same problem with "publications" running over comments. It's not a hassle, just looks sloppy.

Also it's harder for me to highlight certain snippets of text and copy them. It makes me copy the entire page.

26.

BMD72

March 29, 2007, 12:35 PM

RE: 24

I'm having the same problem with "publications" running over comments. It's not a hassle, just looks sloppy.

Also it's harder for me to highlight certain snippets of text and copy them. It makes me copy the entire page.

27.

drew

March 29, 2007, 12:35 PM

comment 23 ( chris ) is right on, the paper samples are cheesey...a simply scripted artblog.net would be more effective...

im geting the same problem as jt aswell.

28.

Galen

March 30, 2007, 5:43 AM

Nice work. I think you've done a great job in keeping it simple and elegant. Simple doesn't have to mean basic or boring.

Well done.

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