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ALA gets a Face Lift

redesigned

   
4:00 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member suzyuk is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



www.alistapart.com

(maybe Brett will change his mind now ;))

Suzy

4:12 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Looked better before IMO.
4:12 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nick_w is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yuk!

Why are they wasting all that space? Nice choice of colors and overall feel but it reminds me of a classic "window in middle" table design.

Hardly inspiring IMO

Nick

4:21 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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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.

4:29 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member suzyuk is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



Yes I've looked at it properly now... and agree the colors are definitely better (couldn't have been worse;))

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...

Suzy

4:46 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Wow! I've been waiting for them to reopen for soooo long! The navigation is better than before.

The ala logo unintentionally looks like... ugh, it disturbs me.

4:48 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member nick_w is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



>logo

Ooooh! - That's funny ;)

Nick

4:52 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Ah very nice on my eyes. And I am a big believer in two column sites (three column is just too busy IMHO).

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?

5:07 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I didnt even notice the logo the first time :). What's with the 'banner' graphic? Combine that and the background color and its like they were trying to make it look bad.
5:18 pm on Oct 22, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Nice to see the redesign, but I too wonder about the width.

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?

6:10 am on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I like it, the colors are almost identical to one of my sites. But more importantly, I think it's more functional than the old site. The old site turned a lot of people off with the navigation (or lack thereof). Now you can see more of the content iceberg.

Adam

9:36 am on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It's odd, quite a 'primitive' design. Why not use a more stunning rollover effect? I'm not crazy about the banner images either. A pity as the pink splash screen they had before was really nice.

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!

9:47 am on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I feel it hard to read the articles, my eyes keep wandering to the big red titles.

DaveN

[edited by: DaveN at 10:15 am (utc) on Oct. 23, 2003]

10:15 am on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I just read this in the Bowman article on styling tabs. Seems quite apt... ouch.

Is this all CSS can offer us? A bunch of boxes and flat colors?
10:29 am on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, but one look at the zen garden [google.com] shows you what can be done!
2:55 pm on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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A lot of people have commented about the new width of ALA.

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.

Why?

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.

3:19 pm on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

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How about a site where the user can specify the width?

Also, where are the style buttons to change the look? I'd like to get rid of that depressing concrete-grey background colour.

3:29 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I agree with the majority here. Not impressed with the redesign at all. This is a site that promotes cutting edge css techniques and they've gone with a design that goes completely against the point of css which is to adapt to the users viewing technology rather than force a design on people.

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!

3:42 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



I'm not impressed at all. In fact, I thought the previous design was more visually appealing than the new one.

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! ;)

3:50 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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What I'd like to know is who'se behind x-date? And good on them for the links, pr, and anchor text they're getting!
5:12 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I do it find it quite ironic that in the first of the three new articles, Douglas Bowman decries the use of navigation tabs with a 'basic' appearance and yet, at the top of the page, ALA is using exactly that type of basic navigation tab.

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?

5:15 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Do you think the staff intend to use the ALA site as a working example of the tutorials?

I dont know if it was intentional but if the feedback they are getting is the same as it is here they might start doing that :).

5:18 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



In the spirit of CSS accessibility a higher contrast color (black?) for the body text and larger size right menu font would give my old eyes a break. It seems like the reliance on small fonts wasn't so abundant before - or maybe it's just the color combination that makes it more noticable this time around. The red menu items do contrast nicely, but on my screen they seem smaller than 8pt... pretty doggone small i.e. tiny, bold, smudgy.

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?

5:18 pm on Oct 24, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



> Is that (possibly) why the screen layout is currently non-fluid?

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..."