I’m sitting here; just sipping some nice red wine and eating chocolate, celebrating that the last seven days are over now. I’ve been working double shifts for about a week, doing my hours as a consultant daytime, and working on redesigning this web site nighttime.
So finally: redesign! And I wanted to get done with it as fast as possible, I couldn’t stand making a live redesign spread over a longer amount of time, like one of my friends does. There have been a number of reasons I wanted to create and implement a new design for this web site, and the factors and choices have mainly been these:
Write the code myself
When I launched robertnyman.com, I installed WordPress and looked around for themes written for it. My previous design was a theme designed by Shawn Grimes, that I tweaked a bit to personalize it. But with me ranting about how web sites should be developed, I ought to live up to what I preach at my own web site. You know, the shoemaker’s children and all…
Also, someone (in a jokingly way) teased me saying that I couldn’t create my own design. 🙂
I wanted something that was really easy on the eyes, something that looked good and also being original to get some attention for that as well. All image material used here is from pictures I’ve taken myself. And since it’s an Easter Island theme, naturally there has to be an Easter egg; if you find and hold down a certain key combination, you will get to see a freaky picture of me! 🙂
I want this web site to be an example of being accessible to everyone:
- With or without CSS switched on/supported.
- With a wider or narrower window.
- With a smaller or larger text size setting in the visitor’s web browser.
- With or without using a mouse.
Since I work full-time with web development and also have it as a hobby, this web site should be a showcase of how I think a web site should be. Therefore, the layout is elastic and works in most web browser window sizes. I also use AJAX for the search functionality, thus not requiring a post back of the whole page to see the search results.
It’s possible to easily navigate through the web site just using the keyboard, leaving out the dependency on using a mouse.
Something that will interest certain people out there, and definitely Anne van Kesteren, is that this web site is using strict HTML, not XHTML. The reasons? First, I’m tired of everyone using XHTML without knowing the reasons why. They just do it because their tool/-s deliver it, they’ve heard it’s cool etc.
Second, XHTML should be served as
application/xhtml+xml. In my previous design, that was the case first, but since WordPress wasn’t fool-proof and I still wanted it to be user-friendly to write comments on my posts, this ended up in me having to check the web site all the time just to make sure that nothing bad had gotten through. I then went to using
text/html with XHTML for that design, according to Appendix C, but knowing that my code should be valid so I could switch to
application/xhtml whenever I wanted to, I hadn’t used anything intentionally that should break.
However, now I use innerHTML in my AJAX script and Google’s ads use
document write; two things that don’t work with
application/xhtml+xml. So, my decision to use plain old HTML is definitely thought through and a very deliberate one. Maybe some day this web site will use XHTML again, but only the future can tell.
Testing web standards
When that’s done, and your eyes have feasted on the new layout, please let me know what you think of it! 🙂
PS. Don’t miss the two new cool map functionalities; they can be found at the bottom of the left column. DS.
PS 2. A big thank you to Henrik Box for helping me evalute my design sketches. DS.