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Hardly inspiring IMO
Agreed. I was in the middle of working on something that I was using their taming lists article as a basis for, and for a whole day the site was off-line. Then, when it came back, it was in a format that seemed to be designed for 640x480 browsers... Not something that seems to be very cutting edge IMO, a top class fluid layout would have shown off what CSS is capable of far more effectively.
Having said that, maybe, as everyone is doing fluid layouts at the moment, they thought their 'old-school' version would be more distinctive...
As redesigns go at the moment, the new Mozilla site is the one that really impressed me.
but it's a very "safe" design, which I suppose is the best way not to get too much criticism... re the CSS that is ;)
It's also very "blog" looking and I'm supposing that they are maybe using a blog content manager so keeping the design basic/templatable will make it easier... who knows, but it looks better than it was...
the mozilla.org site is suffering some immense criticism...
But I just don't get the super narrow channels alot of sites seem to use. It's like either tiny type or narrow channels. The 640x480 market is dead. Use at least a 700px channel so the content doesn't scroll on and on and on and on! Some white-space around the channel is nice but do they need *that* much?
I suppose that it's for readability, and if you don't need the space than why use it. I'm in the very early stages of redesigning one of our sites and having trouble figuring out what to do with the width - fixed at 700px or let it resize? Anyway, something for another thread I suppose...
...any takers or has it been done to death?
I agree with SuzyUK that it's very blog-like. When ALA was active before, it was ahead of many sites. But now it seems behind. Everyone and their dog has a site like this now, it needs to stand out more.
I'm sure Jeffrey Zeldman has put a great deal of effort into it, so I feel wary of criticising it, plus the content is obviously superb. But I feel it is a missed opportunity to wow us.
I see the comments have been reworked as well. Remember when ALA had a proper forum? A new version was promised - waferbaby was recoding it - but I guess that will never happen now. I used to use it a lot - there was a ton of knowledge on there.
I quite like the fonts used on ALA 3.0 but people are right about the width. They will have problems with long lines of code or wide tables. Maybe they're aiming at the handheld market?
Well at least it's back! Hurrah!
For many of my pages I also use a page width which will happily sit inside a 640x480 browser - even though the percentage of my readers who use this screen resolution shrank to below 1% quite some time ago.
Because I recognise that sometimes, users don't want the browser to fill the whole screen. Sometimes - if anything this is even more relevant, now that we have screen resolutions which make 1024x768 look small - it's more convenient to have three or four working windows at once.
I want people to be able to read my website in one window, have excel open in another, and to be writing an email in their email client in another window - with all the windows large enough to enable usability.
I don't know if Zeldman is thinking along these lines as well or if he's thinking about other factors, but I'm delighted to finally come across a site (apart from Google amd my own) which I can keep running and still leave a lot of screen estate for running other applications.
If I want to view a site in a narrow width I can resize my browser. If I want to see a lot of information at once, I'll leave it fullscreen. Peering at some narrow column on my monitor isn't my idea of easy reading!
One peek at the source code and I see some things that just don't seem right. In some areas, <h> tags are not being utilized properly (based on my interpretation of the spec). In others, there are metadata elements that we all know are useless in today's environment.
Overall, I think they took a step backwards with the redesign. Unless of course they know something we don't! ;)
Do you think the staff intend to use the ALA site as a working example of the tutorials?
Will the lessons from each tutorial be integrated into the ALA site design each month so that regular readers can see the site evolve and more readily appreciate the gains in usability?
Is that (possibly) why the screen layout is currently non-fluid?
Seems harder on the eyes, anyway.
For show-me-how's I would like to see more sites break the examples into multiple pages. With the small screen width, there's a lot of scrolling to get through from beginning to end and it's easy to get lost in that much vertical real estate. I have always preferred digesting such things in distinct "chunks", but I may be the minority.
Ah, what the heck - at least they committed to a "design". They can always change it, right?
Looking at zeldman's personal site, I think he likes that best. It's gotta be for readability, no?
At the same time, in my limited experience, pixel-perfect design saves headaches, and that kind of reliability may be what he is after as he (they) has to deal with different authors, topics, images, example etc.
I've felt sucked into 'head-banging-against-wall' situation trying to find nice looking workable solutions for some things with css because I'm trying to make the designs fluid - some designs shouldn't be or weren't meant to be - "just because you can..."