Fall '06 Redesign
The redesign is pretty much done now. I think this will be my last for awhile although I had fun with this. Similar to the May Reboot, I tool a slow-and-steady approach never spending more than an hour at a time on the site. I tweaked and I tinkered. I added, I took away.
It won't make the rounds at the CSS galleries but many of those sites are too focused on the eye candy. How much does it pop when you first load the page? Gradients and glossy galore might get you in but use a site day in and day out (as I do with my own site) and you begin to discover some weak spots (as I certainly did with mine).
In the end, I'm pleased with how it turned out.
It's about the content
I've had the same 400px wide content column for about two years now. However, with some of the code examples, it was sometimes difficult to fit things in. I bumped up the column to 500px ("25% more!!") to help ease the cramping. I also added more whitespace around it.
I also found that small articles looked completely overwhelmed by everything else on the page. With the sidebar now gone (it's a fat footer!), even small articles seem to feel okay.
It's a three column grid. Each column is 230px wide with 40px of padding between them. (The main content column is just 230 + 230 + 40 = 500.) The last couple design projects I've gone with a 3 or 4 column grid as the framework for the design and it works well.
Lose the gimmicks
Yeah, the contrast widget, the column collapser, and the dockable comments were kinda cool but having things work consistently across all browsers was just a pain. I didn't have the inclination to do those last minute tweaks. I even dropped the sIFR headlines to keep things quick and responsive. Some people complained about them last time due to lack of the Flash plugin or because they used Flash blockers.
Maintaining the Brand
To keep things consistent, I kept the Fixed Comments box. IE6 users don't get the pleasure but IE7 is out now so I don't feel so bad. IE7 handled the new layout smashingly. I didn't have to do anything for it except use my
zoom:1 hack here and there (for forcing hasLayout and containing floats).
And of course, the gray and green are still here. The gray is lighter than it was last time. In fact, I believe it's back to the same gray it was before last.
There are some things I still want to add. Tweaks are inevitable. That's what makes it fun.