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Your design opinion (Read 15593 times)
Rad
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Your design opinion
Jun 26th, 2007 at 11:46pm
 
YOUR OPINION PLS

here is original ghost guide: http://ghost.radified.com/

here is new one (which i'm still working on): http://nortonghost.radified.com/

new one is layed out with table-less xhtml css; old one table-based html.

1
. what do you think of
no borders
in new design? i mean between sidebars and main-content sections, and around headers & footers .. like used in original guide.

2
. what do you think about
red sidebars vs gold ghost logo
? color clash? should i make sidebars color more complimentary to ghost logo?

3
. what do you think of
bigger text
? too big? (it is the default.)

4
. what do you think of
underlined links
? again, it's the default.

5
. what do you think of the
color of the sidebars
? do you like that shade of red?

(got the color here > http://www.communitymx.com/content/article.cfm?page=2&cid=AFC58 )

background:

http://blogs.radified.com/2007/06/upgrading_web_master_skills_xhtml_css_challeng...
 
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #1 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 12:30am
 
Rad

1.  It's okay--no real opinion!

2.  Again, okay--I would say that the bright white background is hard on the eyes--is there a softer *white* available--muted--maybe a light grey--I think the message box here in the forum is not a *brite white*?

3.  Prefer smaller text--see your link for #5 for a good font size/style:  http://www.communitymx.com/content/article.cfm?page=2&cid=AFC58

4.  I like it when the background color changes when you mouse over a link--emphasizes that you are over a link--the new page the mouse pointer changes but it doesn't grab one's attention.

5.  It's okay--again no strong opinion there.
 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

No question is stupid ... but, possibly the answers are Wink !
 
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Rad
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #2 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 1:19am
 
Thanks bro. I tend to agree.
 
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nbree
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #3 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 2:15am
 
First off, congrats on diving into the CSS world. Much love for the CSS Zen Garden for some eye-popping examples of what you can do with proper separation of content and layout (although most of them are also better examples of "pretty", making them a guide to what not to do if you want a readable layout).

To be honest, I dislike all really narrow layouts. http://forums.symantec.com is one of the worst offenders at this, it drives me insane, especially being fixed pixel-width when I spend most of my time with 1920-pixel wide browser windows. On a screen, I want content to be flowed to fit about 95% of the window width. I prefer to read most content in a feed reader just for this reason, so I can get the important part - the text - without all the "design" people like to put around it.

The good thing is that for things like blogs, I can use feed readers to do just that. And a similarly great thing about CSS is that you can let people choose, a la the Zen Garden, alternate layouts like that too.

So, to the questions:
1. I would prefer to be able to get no borders at all, i.e. full-width text. No red, no black, 100% wide text please. Stuff at the top and bottom of the page sure, but not at the sides. That doesn't have to be the primary layout, but it'd be nice if a stylesheet like that was just a click away.
2. see 5.
3. I'd prefer a 10pt default size; Verdana and Arial as fonts are ugly at larger sizes. But then, control-mousewheel is just a click away so this doesn't bother me that much.
4. It all depends on the number of links; normal web pages are one thing, but that example is sufficiently link-heavy - not a criticism, for what you're trying to achieve it needs to be - that you are far better off not underlining them (and you should probably tone down the link colour too) just because the constant colour and "weight" changes make the underlying text much harder to read otherwise.
5. The red is a little much over the white, and that does overwhelm the text. If you really want the sidebars then it'd be a good idea to lighten the shade for less contrast against the white background - and ditch the black borders, which add nothing to the page.

The main thing is that content is king, and you write great content, so let the writing itself take center stage - the design elements of the pages need to be subtle enhancers, to support the writing rather than overwhelm it.
 
 
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #4 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 1:35pm
 
Although it is only personal preference, I too would recommend a layout that maximizes the functional use of the real estate (i.e., no borders, place navigation at top of window, etc.).

A small change, but note that the guide says “...your back-up images (now called Restore Points) should be stored...” -- “Restore Points” should read “recovery points”.

Lookin’ forward to see the new guide develop . . . .
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Rad
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #5 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 5:47pm
 
hey, thanks.

i've already fixed the "recovery" (vs 'restore') thing. Could be important distinction for searches (search engines).

i appreciate the input.

one more question
.. what about the
sidebars
.. do you think they should be thinner? thicker?

they are wider than the original ghost guide. these are both
13%
(lucky number)

original = 9 or 10 (skinnier) .. and a different color (sienna).

i have learned a lot, over the years, about the concept of hard drive back-up. easy to write volumes on that subject, and some points are crucial (e.g. image shouldn't be stored on same drive).

so i kinda feel the guide will develop more along the lines of solid back-up strategies, and norton ghost will just happen to be our tool of choice.

but a guide which could be applied to *any* disk cloning app would be the holy grail for me. with norton ghost ='ing subsection
1A
.

that's also my strength, since my experience with g12 is limited.
 
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #6 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 6:23pm
 
It is only the perspective of one, but I am not a big fan of sidebars because of the large amount of screen real estate consumed.  With web page design, I believe “less is more,” in the spirit of much of what Google does, for example.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Rad
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #7 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 6:33pm
 
I read somewhere that 12-words per line (max) was optimum for readability. Once I shrink the font, this number will climb.

The old Ghost guide has ~ 16 words/line (33% over max). Fatter sidebars will lowever this slightly.
 
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nbree
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #8 - Jun 27th, 2007 at 11:28pm
 
Rad wrote on Jun 27th, 2007 at 6:33pm:
I read somewhere that 12-words per line (max) was optimum for readability.

A interesting article related to this is at http://www.maxdesign.com.au/presentation/em/ - the important thing is that it's based on avoiding larger eye movements. So, it's a very VERY rough guideline at best; the actual underlying measurement is the arc subtended by the text, not words or anything else. Reading distance and monitor DPS and font size all vary a lot more than this guideline really takes into account.

The main thing is that there are good and bad ways of achieving this guideline if you do want to follow it.

The bad way is enormous margins and fixed-pixel layouts, since it doesn't actually achieve the right goal anyway and causes huge amounts of pointless vertical scrolling - meaning that in actual practice, the cure is far worse than the disease. Having a single column layout and constraining the width in an age of widescreen displays is sheer madness.

The main good way, in print, is to use multiple columns - but then print layouts don't have to worry about vertical scrolling. Vertical scrolling is death - so in practice multiple columns flat-out don't work for the web unless you're also willing to lay your content out in "pages" - i.e. constrain height at the same time. CSS3 columnar layouts have some of what you need for this, but I don't believe it's all the way there (and IE doesn't support any of it anyway).

The real challenge is to find something useful to do with the page space to reduce line lengths instead of just wasting it. A better answer, if the structure of your text supports it, is to put meaningful content in there in boxes that you can flow the main text around. The boxes can be screenshots, sidebar explanations that go into more detail, or all kinds of things. Jokes, quotes, offhand remarks, almost anything.

[ Apropos of this, a wonderful book is Concrete Mathematics. Unfortunately the print layout had overlarge fixed-width margins, but at those margins weren't just wasted, they were peppered with all kinds of useful notes and asides. The clever part is that the marginalia were contributions from the students who had been given the material in the text as lecture notes, commenting on the material or just making humorous asides about it. ]

Then, my personal style of layout for this is to place these things into the document as divs alternating CSS styles with "float: left;" and "float:right;", so that the main text flows sinuously around them. This is a far less artificial way of lowering the average line length, and it's good for the reader since rather than forcing parenthetical comments way off the current page onto a link - which means they may as well be on another planet, frankly - screenshots or small amplifications of ideas stay within easy visual range of their context. It's win almost the way.

Once you've set up these kind of divs, a nice trick you can do with a little bit of javascript is to have a close button for them (either individually or at the document level) which adjusts the div style to add/remove "display: none;" so that readers who just want the body text can have those shown or hidden as they prefer.

The other thing is that for a guide it'd be a really good idea to provide a separate default print stylesheet. Maybe even two, one with side notes included and one that just has the body text.

A print stylesheet wouldn't have any artificial margins at all - all most print stylesheets do anyway is set all the non-content parts of the page to "display: none;" and put the content to "width:100%;". Having that stylesheet selectable then solves the problem of people like me who want the text set to the full width of the browser window.
 
 
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Rad
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #9 - Jun 29th, 2007 at 1:04pm
 
Cool. Great stuff. I'm playing dad now, but will be delving into this come the weekend. Can't wait. I've always tried to maximize readability.
 
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Rad
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #10 - Jul 4th, 2007 at 12:37am
 
Been working on the new Ghost guide. Still in development, but making progress.

We have diffs of opinion, as I do not like reading long lines of text.

Old Ghost guide was 10-point Verdana. Read using "points" is not good .. as it is a print unit.

http://webdesign.about.com/cs/typemeasurements/a/aa042803a.htm

I used 13-pixel Verdana. Read you should never use less than 12-pixels:

http://www.youthtopia.net/26principles.html (see item #13).

In Dreamweaver tutorial I'm using (Lynda) guy recommends 11-pixel Verdana.

Tho he uses a Mac, and I heard Macs can look 25% bigger due to differnt dpi.

I like your second link about Math:

Quote:
As with all of Knuth's books, readers are invited to claim a reward for any error found in the book, whether it is "technically, historically, typographically, or politically incorrect."
 Cool

I have 2 semesters Calculus (both 'A's) .. so I can appreciate math.
 
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #11 - Nov 13th, 2007 at 12:33pm
 
nbree,

i stumbled across this link today .. and thot of you:

http://webtypography.net/Rhythm_and_Proportion/Horizontal_Motion/2.1.2/

Quote:
Anything from 45 to 75 characters is widely regarded as a satisfactory length of line for a single-column page set in a serifed text face in a text size. The 66-character line (counting both letters and spaces) is widely regarded as ideal. For multiple column work, a better average is 40 to 50 characters.


The Elements of Typographic style is considered something of a classic in the industry:

http://grumpyoldbookman.blogspot.com/2006/06/robert-bringhurst-elements-of.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elements_of_Typographic_Style

http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Typographic-Style-Robert-Bringhurst/dp/0881791326

Applied to the web:

http://www.typebooks.org/r-elements.htm

Interesting stuff.
 
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nbree
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Re: Your design opinion
Reply #12 - Nov 13th, 2007 at 6:46pm
 
Interesting link. Note that they do advocate giving users the choice of width (having some JS that substitutes in alternate CSS makes that easy) and it's also worth looking at how they laid their site out with respect to vertical scrolling and how they at least filled the "blank" space with a navbar (although the right-hand navigation they give should probably have been a folded version of the complete TOC, instead of the forward/back thing).

A long long time ago, Jakob Neilsen wrote of web writing needing to try and be in the "inverted pyramid" newspaper style because of vertical scrolling. See also http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000376.html for a different perspective (with interesting comments).

The fact that most users these days have scrollwheels (or the trackpad equivalent) is interesting, but trackpads vertical scrolling is different - relatively crude and prone to overshoot, so in a sense the modern demand for notebooks over desktops for home use changes the equation again.

Note that the Webtypography site itself breaks the content up to have their pages be small enough to be read without scrolling, although they didn't bother to mention it as a guide.
 
 
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