Previous makeover: www.patriotroad.com
January 2, 2007 • (0) Comments
Red Sky at Night has a new do. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep it, but the old two-column design was mostly a sop to you Luddites with the 800×600 screens and paleolithic browsers.
I indulged you for a couple of years while prices for HUGE LCD-panel displays fell faster than tube tops at a biker rally. It’s time to move on.
A few years ago, when web design savants (read: unemployed Canadians) were whining about usability and showing off fixed-width layouts targeting least-common denominator readers, it seemed almost criminal to put up any page that needed more than 773 pixels of horizontal real estate.
Recently, I’ve noticed that the guru class are bored with all that. Check out A List Apart or any other hipster showcase today. But you’d better be packing 1024×768 or face those dreaded horizontal scrollbars. And look how commercial sites are fudging: Amazon.com, Cnet.com, and even Microsoft.com place most of their content in the 800px footprint but have stopped throwing away all that extra liebensraum. Amazon now takes whatever you give it, but will settle for an 882px viewport before scrolling sideways. Cnet features a fixed-width graphic “page” that is 986px wide and wants another 20 or so pixels for background. Microsoft.com fits comfortably in 950 pixels or more. Gone are those skinny, horizontally-centered layouts swimming down the middle of our larger displays.
That said, I’m currently swamped and don’t plan to make this do-over another week-long labor of love. So I snagged a recent WordPress theme called Vertigo and adapted it to my purposes. It’s clean, fills my own full screen nicely at 1157×842 pixels, and degrades predictably. Font-sizes and layout elements are frozen with pixel-based properties, so there are no boxes to break. With little risk that Jakob Nielsen will ever read my work, tell him that resetting browser preferences in Firefox works as expected and resetting them in IE7 does nothing when he misplaces his reading glasses. So my blind audience should either switch to Firefox or bring a screen reader or wait for the podcast.
Most alarming of all, reduce your viewport to smaller than 968 pixels and you will get a horizontal scroller. Consider it a wake-up call.
There. I’ve said it.
Happy New Year.