Results tagged “Web design” from Ye Olde Rad Blog III

CSS Image Replacement & Other Misnomers


Happy Halloween. I modified the method of placing the graphics in the header found at the top of the home page .. up where it says » RADIFIED | Nuclear Grade Technolust. There I implemented a technique known as » CSS Image Replacement, of which there exist many variations, each with its own set of pro's & con's.

HalloweenThe dividing-line among web designers seems to be whether or not to use a non-semantic span tag with CSS positioning, which involves a more complicated technique .. but leaves visible TEXT in place for visitors who surf the Web with STYLES turned off (primarily those using mobile devices).

I used a simpler IR technique, by changing the images you see displayed there .. from foreground images to background images.

This allowed me to replace the foreground images (contained in those heading elements) with TEXT .. which I then indented (way to your left), so it can't be seen. By moving the TEXT out of the way, this technique reveals the graphics (.. which look prettier than standard heading-text).

The advantage however, is » devices that don't render styles (such as screen readers and mobile devices) will now see a TEXT heading and tag-line displayed there, where before there existed only images. Search engines also gives more weight to TEXT than images.

Most Rad visitors will never notice the difference .. seeing most who frequent the site (fellow technolusters) browse with both images and CSS turned ON. But I'm gradually filling my webmaster toolkit with increasingly sophisticated techniques. (Learning by doing.)

After all the pages are styled however, and the markup is coded semantically, there's still no substitute for insightful content .. that is well written (.. and hopefully seasoned with a dash of personality).

This has always been the most difficult challenge .. because a stylish suit does not a charming pig make. And the ugliest person can say the profoundest things, and possess scintillating ideas. So it would seem that content trumps style .. no matter the venue (.. except maybe for those who focus on style).

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If I knew then what I know now. Ever uttered those words? Looking back on my progression of web skills, one omission stands out » incorporating the use of templates to help develop & maintain the pages of my web site.

Templates are both powerful & flexible for two reasons:

  1. They speed up site development, by allowing the rapid creation of web pages based on a preformed (uniform) structure .. so all your pages have the same look & feel.

  2. They facilitate site maintenance, by enabling structural changes site-wide via the editing of a single-file .. similar to how CSS works. This aspect of templates is considerably more significant than item #1.

Dreamweaver TemplatesIf your web site grows bigger than expected (as they usually do), and you want to make structural changes (non CSS-based changes) to your web pages, you'll have to edit each page individually (.. which suks giant goose eggs). Tedious maximus.

When CSS came along, website designers could transfer all style controls into a single file, so that the look of an entire site could be modified by editing a single file (provided, of course, the entire site was based off of the same style sheet). Very cool development.

But what about structural changes? That's where templates come in. To be honest, I'm not sure if web design programs (such as Dreamweaver and Expression) had the ability to generate templates back when I launched the site. But they do now.

CSS-based Tabbed Menu (Centered)


Created a tabbed menu today .. something I've been meaning to do for ages.

Kandinsky's Black Spot

The menu displayed at the top of the homepage is pure-CSS driven (no images used). Using images would allow for more creativity, but would also add to the page's download-weight. (And I use enough images already .. in the daily entries.)

My goal was to design a tabbed menu that was both simple & functional. I'm pleased with how it turned out .. tho it took a surprising amount of tweakage to get it to look the way I wanted.

Now that I've developed a basic format, I can tweak & adapt as necessary.

Might look simple, but centering that menu had me jumping thru hoops. I reviewed several methods and finally decided to modify Ethan's approach .. so it would resemble the cleanness of Eric Meyer's tabbed navbar (which is not centered).

Redesigned the site's » Archive index page (from scratch). It contains links to all monthly archives posted since the site's launch (summer of 2000). Gateway to Memory Lane.

Knights debating the importance of good table design with King Arthur

Been meaning to do that for some time now (years, actually). That page was the single-most mucked-up page on the entire site. The code was a rat's nest of deprecated standards, poor design choices and mark-up errors. I'm surprised it would render.

Began that page back when I knew very little about HTML and before I'd even heard of CSS. Over the years, the muck seemed to multiply as the page grew. It's not a highly trafficked page, so I didn't worry about it.

Tho at sundry times, I'd go in and try to manually clean up the code. That always proved an exercise in futility. Seemed like the more I tried, the worse things got. The only real solution was a complete makeover (a move which could be viewed as symbolic of the site's growth and development).

Now the page contains a third the mark-up it did before (10-KB vs 30) and the styling looks 3X cleaner, by making use of advanced techniques such as colgroup styling for better readability. Leaner, meaner and faster-loading.


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