supernaut #3 blinks in the numinous light

Having spent the last few days playing around with a new design, I thought I’d preview it now.

supernaut … i whore for art version #3

The basic idea was a very sparse, austere palette initially all grey-scale, but ending up with some cold, muted blues, and of course acres of white. The other basic idea was Helvetica. I have this memory of the mid-90s when the bad 80s were dispatched entirely with two giant slaps: Rayban Wayfarers and Helvetica Narrow. So coming back to the typeface of Confoederatio Helvetica I guess has been something due in part to my close proximity to its use in glorious airplane safety design as I sit in the exit row seats.

I mostly wanted to make more obvious the delineation between different elements, links, quotes, images, the content and the navigation menu. The progression of the link colours also is intentionally vague; what’s less important is faded and blurs into the background. Yeah, I know all the “web design should be high contrast” proclamations, I just wanted to see if visually I could communicate what parts of supernaut receive attention or are ignored. Probably it would be better to do it with algorithms, so the pages change colour, intensity, contrast according to inbound and outbound traffic, but I’m not that good at coding.

So, as I code my images in a way that google, baidu and other search engines get all lascivious about, the images are necessarily the stylistic equivalent of a bludgeon. Entry categories and search keywords, which don’t get much traffic are annoyingly faint.

Gory coding autopsy follow:

The headings – h tags – are mostly formatted using Shaun Inman’s sIFR – scalable Inman Flash Replacement, because … Helvetica Ultra Light! And a desire to use this rather handy piece of Flash-JavaScript-CSS typographic insertion.

“text-align: left” and “text-align: right” for content and navigation menu respectively, because the eroded crenellations guttering the length of the page are pretty.

Terror of Browser War! I really hate Internet Explorer, so you should feel really a) lame for using it (especially when a.1 Firefox, and a.2 Firefox Portable) and b) pathetically grateful I even made an attempt to rewrite my css so it would look only half-crap.

In all my poor and as-yet inelegant and unclean code then, supernaut #3 should look more or less the same in the following browsers: On a Mac: Safari, Firefox, Camino, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape. On a PC: Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape, AOL (snort). On Linux, Firefox, Konqueror, Mozilla, Opera.

Uh … Internet Explorer? Um yeah! On a Mac IE5.5 should look ok, with its own special stylesheet. On PC: IE 5 isn’t accepting its own stylesheet yet so looks a bit mong on the images. IE 5.5, 6, 7 all have their own stylesheet and should look ok-lah. IE4? Oh come on.

Some versions of some browsers suck. I had to make some cutoffs after which I don’t really care, so my guide was if a browser made less than ~1000 requests in December, I’m not bothering.

It’s valid XHTML1.0 Strict cos it sounds dirty, and css valid too. Also UTF-8 for happy font display.

Comments and stuff are welcome, especially bugginess in browsers. The only page up at the moment is the main index. Archives, categories, individual pages, etc all are lurking. More coding etc in the coming days in-between going to Adelaide again, writing grant applications etc.

edit …

Inadvertently sending the whole thing live way before I intended to, oh well always more fun being unprepared, no?

I was coding the individual entry templates and found there was no easy way to test it lurking somewhere like I could with the main index, so I just threw it up and debugged as I went. Plenty of coding errors to kill my eyes. I haven’t done the Categories or Monthly Archive indexes or the Search page. I was actually planning on not splattering this everywhere until I’d done those as the design I think needs to be a bit different to make it coherent … and blah.

edit #2 …

The entire site has been changed over to this design, but probably I won’t get a change to finish it up in one big chunk, so here’s where it’s up to:

I haven’t redone the css for msie browsers for the individual, categories, and monthly archive pages. I also haven’t finished styling the main archive page. There’s a bunch of small bugs, including the way the page jumps down when the sIFR titles load, which only happens if the page is given an XHTML1.0 strict doctype. Kinda weird. A few other link and type styling things to do too, but mostly this it it.