Alright, I would like to ask you all a question. You have a few ways of finding stuff on this site (I know this is not a question, hear me out).
- Main navigation: home, loops, other stuff, archives and about
(Maybe I should rethink the main links since they don’t include hosted plug-ins and home isn’t really home I guess…)
- Sidebar navigation: hosted plug-ins, latest loops, featured links and random posts (the last 2 are only available from the home page).
- Page navigation links at the bottom of pages to browse through posts (also for search results).
- Latest news in the footer of each page provides links to the 15 most recent posts (excluding Random posts) + a link to the archives.
- Search form in the top right of the header.
Besides the options above, you can use links in individual posts to check for more content in specific categories and each separate post has links for previous/next posts. Furthermore, there are always the archives where you can do a self test for dust allergy.
Plenty ways of finding what you’re looking for! But are they all equally useful?
Today I decided to take a good look at nr. 3 and decided it doesn’t make much sense to keep it. Let me illustrate.
This is what people see when they reach the end of the first page of posts:
Page navigation: first page
You probably recognize it! At first, it actually looks useful. You’ve reached the end of the page, but you want more. You’d probably click on “2″ to check the next page. Great! But… for the first 3 pages we could also just check the footer where those 15 posts are conveniently listed in the Lastest News.
And who ever made it all the way here?
Page navigation: let’s see what’s behind link nr. 127!
It makes sense to use the navigation on the search results page, simply because a search for something generic like “reverb” will probably get many results. The only reason I can think of in favour of keeping the page navigation however, is that you are just trying to waste some time checking what’s out without looking for anything specific, because if were, you would use the search form right?
“seek and you will (er… might) find!”
When I visit a website like rekkerd.org I would not likely click the page navigation much. The search form and archives are my friends.
So… back to the question: what do you think? (I know I could just remove it and see if I get any complaints, but I figure maybe it’s nicer to ask first).
A few months ago Mike Davidson took on the beast that is MySpace and turned it into something pretty sweet.
In his article Mike shows how to customize your MySpace profile so it actually looks clean and professional, unlike the average MySpace page.
If you are on MySpace and have not yet customized your pages, you might want to take the opportunity to read Mike’s Hacking a more tasteful MySpace.
A List Apart has a great article by Harvey Kane: Automatic Magazine Layout.
The article covers a PHP-based technique for automatically resizing and positioning images in a “magazine-style” layout.
Using PHP to resize the images on the server, the exact size that each image should be can be calculated so they will fit together in a nice square box.
Lovely idea. Some of the examples don’t look perfect (i.e. bottom right image of example 4 doesn’t come out quite right in IE6.0) but it’s a pretty sweet script anyway.
GrayBit is a great way to see how your page looks in greyscale.
From their website:
GrayBit is an online accessibility testing tool designed to visually convert a full-color web page into a grayscale rendition for the purpose of visually testing the page’s perceived contrast.
On the right you can see some websites I fed to GrayBit. KVR comes out a bit dark, CNN looks great and I notice on the rekkerd.org page that Google AdSense doesn’t play nice.
Check out how your page looks without colors!
Note: Websites with frames don’t come out so great, or maybe not at all if stuff is dynamically linked. GrayBit is v0.5 Beta so results might improve in the future.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) have been around for a while now and new ways to design/code better websites with CSS appear frequently.
Below are some great examples of innovative (well, at the time at least) CSS techniques and general userful CSS information.
Lightbox JS (Lokesh Dhakar)
Lightbox JS is a simple, unobtrusive script used to to overlay images on the current page. It’s a snap to setup and works on all modern browsers.
This looks great, it will be all over the place in no time.
Bubble Tooltips (Web-Graphics)
Turning a list into a navigation bar (456 Berea Street)
Roger Johansson explains how to turn a list into a navigation bar. This technique has become quite popular.
CSS shorthand Guide (Dustin Diaz)
Dustin Diaz’s CSS shorthand Guide is a wonderful collection of.. CSS shorthands (duh?!). Definately worth checking out.
CSS Cheat Sheet (ILoveJackDaniels.com)
Dave Child offers a nice CSS reference sheet, listing all selectors (as of CSS 2.1) and properties (.png and .pdf format available).
CSS Drop Shadows/CSS Drop Shadows II: Fuzzy Shadows (A List Apart)
Sergio Villarreal’s CSS Drop Shadows and CSS Drop Shadows II: Fuzzy Shadows articles show a way to create beautiful drop with ease.
Image Replacement. Again. (mezzoblue)
Dave Shea lists different ways to do Image Replacement, a technique to replace text with pretty images. Check Levin Alexander’s Image replacement decision grid to help you decide which technique to use.
A form with style (CSS Play)
Stu Nicholls of CSS Play has a nice write-up about styling forms with CSS.
In search of the One True Layout (Position is Everything)
Position is Everything has a great article about CSS-based layouts and the search for the “One True Layout”.