An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bugger testing

Today has been a beautiful one weatherwise so what do you think Muggins was doing for a part of the day? Fiddling around with bloody CSS would you believe? That's right - 77ºF outside, brilliant sunshine, light breeze - and I'm sitting in here staring at an admittedly gorgeous 20 inch iMac G5 trying to understand someone else's style sheet. And for why?

Having wittered on about the Pru secure mail system I got around to thinking about the usability of my blogs. And that reminded me that G has been complaining about stripes before the eyes after finishing long posts on the Blogger version. Until recently I'd parked it as an issue but since Liam (Another Old Git's Blog) has become profligate with his verbiage and since he uses the same layout as I was using I have been getting venetian blind vision too. Plus the fact that I know some of my readers are none to young made me consider (you all know who you are). Finally, when our northern correspondent's wife hinted that there was a problem then that was that final straw.

I've always had a soft spot for black background sites and you have to adit that they look stylish but when there's a lot of text to be read - and let's face it there's not much else in my blog entries, then the style over functionality argument gets thin/specious. The die was cast. A rejig it was that was called for.

Now switching styles in blogger is fairly painless but the problem is that when you do that you lose all of your customisations (links, ads, you know - the stuff that makes it yours). So, carefully taking a copy of my previous stye sheet I took the plunge and swapped the base style. Well that went OK. Well, OKish - all of my bits and pieces had vanished but it didn't take long with the old cut and paste buttons to get most of that stuff back. No, the thing was that I didn't like the typefaces that this new stylesheet was using. OK, change them. Done. AND, while we're at it I wasn't too keen on the allocation of space. An hour of fiddling and it was all done to my satisfaction.

Gill came back in from the garden and I showed her my magnificent work. "That's great", she said . "... much better", she said, "I like it". I took my customary bow and was polishing my knuckles and slapping myself on the back when she added, "Let's see what it looks like on my machine ..." I'd tried it out on Safari and Firefox and even Camino and everything worked well but when she mentioned her Special Edition iBook with the 800x600 screen my heart sank. (I remembered the settings that I had used to rearrange the screen real estate and I just KNEW it wouldn't render properly for her. What looks great on a 20 inch screen doesn't look so hot on a 12 inch! Obvious really. And when she brought it up and I saw the text bleeding off into the left margin and the dread horizontal scroll bar appear it only confimed my worst suspicions. And I always tell people to test, test and test again! Hoist by ... Serves me bloody well right.

Back to fiddling with CSS for another half hour until I was satisfied with the way it looked oin her machine and mine. A compromise - of course - so much of life and design is about compromise. However, seeing as some thieving little creep has kept my Sony Vaio I cannot test it out on Windows and I leave that to you guys and gals (if you have problems let me know). And then I was cruising the 'flue when some elderly geyser from over there commented favourably on the change - result. You certainly cannot please all of the people all of the time but you can try.

Clearly the blogger version of this will make immediate sense while the Opera and Spymacv versions will not. Here (the blogger version) is a link to the version in question and no matter where you view this blog please let me know what you think of the new design.


  1. 'A' for effort, Derek, but whilst I agree that white text on a black background can be tiresome on the old een, I find this version of black on white even more tiring. Obviously it has something to do with the contrast ratio, for want of a better term.

    Personally I was thinking of trying to tweak my layout too, but I though that a nice pastel background might be more relaxing to the eyes whilst reducing the contrast somewhat. What do you think, a pale pastel yellow perhaps? Mind you that's probably pie in the sky for me -- I have only just learned how to post a blog, never mind change the layouts!

  2. as i said, i like it derek. and i disagree, respectfully, with the bard above. what little i've learned in my layout training i still subscribe to...the beauty of white space

    i don't get the link efficacy at the bottom of the post, just brings me back to the same page.

    also, i fired it up with IE on a PC and it looked fonts on that machine are few, and never bothered to preference a web friendly font for IE, so it looked a bit bitmappy, but that's just me

    i may be oldish, but my bride says i'm still cute...what else can she say...she's a babe and beautiful and i tell her so...she can't really rejoin with "thanks...too bad you're getting butt ugly"

  3. oh, i do understand what liam was saying. i found that in reading yours and his and then going back to mine, the contrast was just too stark for a bit...until i got used to it for me, going from a black background site to mine or another white background site was jarring for a bit, but in further net rummaging, it's nice to come back to the white space

  4. Well done, Derek, that slight bleed of red and blue (?) reduces the contrast considerably and is much more restful on my old eyes. A+ for this one, you clever thing you.